2. New Comrades Again
Time and space intersect with each other to formulate a world. Creatures live, die and create history within the intersection of x-axis of time and y-axis of space.
Add’s time travel was basically going back and forth between that history by 1 second before, 3 minutes later or 10 days before. But while there were various small discrepancies and changes, large flow of events hadn’t changed during that process.
But to escape from D’s grasp, Add and Eun completely left the restrictions of time and space and jumped into a totally new place.
El Search Party started crossing the barren wasteland to head towards the Ash Covered Village.
“There’s really not a single blade of grass here.”
“There’s a story that it became like this because of dragon’s flame.”
“Dragons….. Big sis and Big Sister Rena faced them before right? How strong are they?”
“You can’t face them lightly. Elesis and I both struggled against them so avoid them if possible.”
“Got it Elsword?”
When Aisha spoke while smiling as if saying ‘I told you so’, Elsword replied boldly.
“But we have to fight them eventually.”
“Let’s focus only on Scar for now.”
Elsword nodded at Raven’s words. Conversations were going back and forth but Add who was watching the party from the back sighed.
This Aisha wasn’t the Princess of Dimensions that Add knew. He did ask her about D just in case but only got a reply that she never heard of the name.
Add moved his gaze to look at the backs of Rena walking at head of the group and Ara who was walking quietly. They looked like his long time party members but they weren’t Rena and Ara that he knew.
Add finally stared intently at Eve’s back. It was an image he had seen countless times ever since the El Search Party was formed in Ruben.
But this wasn’t Eve that Add knew either.
Add sighed repeatedly as he recalled his conversation with Eun.
“….Different universe? What do you mean?”
“Boy should somewhat know already. It’s a higher concept than dimensions. It’s a place where even a single pebble could be different.”
Eun explained calmly to Add who was in shock.
“For example, Demon Realm and Elrios are different dimensions. But they existed in the same universe. But there can be a universe where Demon Realm doesn’t exist.”
“…I heard dragons are helping the demons in here.”
“Yes, there are many things here that are different from the universe we know. Do you have a decent understanding now?”
At Eun’s explanation, Add clenched down on his teeth.
Different universe, it was unbelievable but he performed a universe travel this time. Many things start making sense when thinking about it that way.
Dragon, Scar and entirely different personalities of the El Search Party members. It all makes sense if you considered them as changes that happened because of universe travel rather than time travel.
“It wasn’t a time travel and we traveled to an entirely different universe? For what purpose?”
“There should be a clue to defeating D here. I don’t know the details either.”
Add wondered if Eun really didn’t know and asked again but she shook her head.
“Then how am I supposed to go back? By your tone just now, just repairing the dynamos won’t do it. Why do this when I didn’t even ask….”
Add got a hunch why they hopped universes in middle his speech and trailed his words. Eun nodded to confirm his thoughts.
“We had to travel to different universe in order to escape from D. We couldn’t have escaped from his grasp with just a simple time travel.”
Add got a chill when his speculation became a certainty.
If Add could time travel, then D, his future self could do so as well. He had solved all sorts of problems with time travel so far but that didn’t work on D.
Time travel was Add’s trump card, a move that could turn around a disadvantageous situation. But D who proclaimed himself as King of Time should be even more proficient at time travel than Add.
He understood why they crossed over to another dimension. They wouldn’t have been able to escape from D’s grasp otherwise.
“Just…. How am I supposed to defeat that guy?”
“We’ll have to find a way in here.”
Add couldn’t retort to Eun’s cold words. They couldn’t return without finding a way to get rid of D.
“For boy, returning to original universe might be more difficult than finding out a way to defeat D. Boy has lived dissipatedly while ignoring the existence of affection points. Boy is now in for a lot of pain.”
Add frowned when Eun giggled amusedly. The way she was talking had been bothering him for a while.
“What do I need to go back to the original universe? No matter how difficult it is….”
“You’re ready no matter how difficult of a trial is waiting for you? Is that what you’re saying? Are you sure you won’t regret those words?”
Add hesitated for a moment when Eun asked with a gleam in her eyes as if she had been waiting for this. He somehow felt like a bottomless swamp was kept waving towards and tempting him.
But that lasted just for a moment. He didn’t intend to stay here forever. He was filled with desire to return soon as possible and defeat D.
“Yes, I’ll do whatever it takes. If I can’t return…. you can’t return either right? I don’t know how difficult it will be but you’ll need to help me as well.”
“Boy is clever as always. Yes, that’s correct. We are two minds but one body, ones who dream the same dream.”
“It’s neither of those. We just happened to cross each other by coincidence so don’t discretely put us together.”
Eun gave a cute wink when Add drew the line with a grave tone. He had to admit she was cute when she did that in her small form.
Add pressed the issue after realizing he unknowingly forgot to hide his inner evaluation.
“So what is the way to return to the original univer…..”
I must have heard it wrong. That’s what Add thought but Eun spoke again to confirm that he hadn’t misheard.
“Kiss with a setting sun, blazing ocean as a background. That’s how to open up a way to go back.”
She must be joking right? Add stared at Eun with a frozen expression but Eun shrugged as if to tell him ‘why are you looking at me strangely like that?’
“Isn’t it a princess’s kiss that wakes the sleeping prince? It’s a return trigger so it must be fulfilled.”
“…..Are you serious?”
He knew what kiss was only by an empirical sense. He also got some from his mother when he was very young as a sign to grow up well.
But that was everything. He never had any interest in it outside of that. Putting in all sorts of efforts to return to his original past wasn’t even enough, so why did something like a kiss matter? It was a waste of time!
Eun made a prudish expression as she wagged her tail.
“Geez, boy is so cruel. You can’t continue to tease an old fox like this. Well, I can show you how personally if necessary.”
“Drop the talk that doesn’t make sense.”
Even while Add answered blankly, he still couldn’t understand what kind of process had to take place in order to bring about this kind of solution.
“Why does something like a kiss……required for me to return to my original universe? This isn’t some joke inside a fairy tale.”
“Because if El Search Party sent you here, then El Search Party has to send you back.”
Add suddenly realized what she meant. Eun must have read this and added while smiling.
“Boy must have realized this already but the time-space coordinate that was set while universe traveling was the El Search Party. It wasn’t a coincidence that we arrived at a universe with the El Search Party. Rather, we could arrive here because it was a universe with the El Search Party.”
“……But we didn’t need that kind of process when we came here.”
“Do you really think there wasn’t?”
Does that mean he prepared beforehand during the time that he couldn’t remember? He couldn’t retort if that was the case. Although he still couldn’t understand the exact principle behind the whole thing.
“Spacetime has a will. An action that most strongly connects the soul of a person with a will to another person with a will, that’s a kiss.”
Add suppressed his head that was starting to ache and delved into his thoughts. Eun couldn’t be joking in this situation, and even if she would, she wouldn’t lie about something this important.
Thus, this was true.
“I’m going to go crazy. You want me to…. So I if I want to go back I have to kiss someone?”
“Of course, you’ll have to find a way to defeat D before that. Oh, by the way. You must have figured out already but this is to generate a time-space coordinate so candidates are restricted to the El Search Party members. Kissing anyone else is useless.”
To think this kind of thing will happen. While Add was so dumfounded that he couldn’t answer, Eun smiled as if she discovered something amusing.
“Alright, then who will boy choose out of the Search Party? Will it be Elsword after all?”
“……Foxes should have males and females as well.”
Add unconsciously ended up retorting back. Eun opened her eyes widely as if she was shocked.
“No way, boy is saying he won’t kiss another man?!”
It was blatantly obvious that she was acting. While Add kept silent because he was still overwhelmed by all of this…..Eun continued speaking.
“Then boy has no choice but to choose one of the girls from the Search Party. Is this how it feels for an older sister to watch her younger brother become a bride?”
“……You look like you’re enjoying this very much.”
“Didn’t I say it already? It feels like an older sister watching her younger sister become a groom.”
Isn’t she completely filled with thoughts of messing around? When Add was still at a loss for words, Eun slyly started counting with her fingers.
“So there are basically five candidates? Aisha, Rena, girl, Ara and Elesis. I’ll become an affection point barometer for you. Let me first tell you the current situation of your affection points!”
Again, why are you so excited? Eun shrugged then started to ramble on.
“First, Aisha will be difficult. Very difficult. Your affection points are at very bottom. I’ll cheer boy on of that’s what boy wishes but it won’t be an easy path.”
She was forcing stuff that he hadn’t even thought of onto him.
“Next candidate is the beautiful Elf…..but as you already saw, she became like that. Normally, she would have been a prime candidate but it will be a thorny path now. Of course, fruit achieved after overcoming that thorny path will be extremely sweet. You won’t regret choosing to mingle with her. I’ll cheer you on!”
I don’t need this. When Add sighed with a bitter face, Eun shrugged then moved on to the next person.
“Next is Ara. Although her personality changed a bit, Ara is still Ara, she’s innocent and cute so it will be the most easy path. Not only that, but she’s a candidate that I can help you most with. For now, she’s probably the top candidate, a candidate with the highest possibility of success.”
“……I said I don’t need this.”
“Then next is Elly.”
Add pressed his hand down on his forehead then shook his head. He understood the situation but couldn’t keep up with the conversation.
“She’s a strong and beautiful lady but boy should know very well that isn’t everything. But she’s a trustworthy companion in this universe so you could rest easy and raise her affection points. Unlike how she is on the outside, she’s delicate and soft on the inside so you have a chance if you use this to your advantage. Long as you get the mood right!”
Seriously, the world must be going crazy. While still bitter, Add was listening to what she was saying for now. But Eun stopped talking as if she was finished so he had to urge her.
“Why did you stop in middle?”
“…..Ah, girl can’t be left out after all?”
Eun spoke with a strange tone then spoke with a different lower tone than before.
“Currently, girl’s affection point is lowest of all. It’s regrettable but affection points boy racked up in the original universe is all gone. She’s the most difficult candidate so it will be best for you to give up.”
“Is that so……”
Something felt off but Add nodded then accepted. He was dropped into an unknown universe and had to figure out how to defeat D and a way to go back. But he at least somewhat understood his current situation now.
When Add finished organizing his thoughts, Eun urged him.
“Then whose affection point will boy raise? I’ll be able to help more actively if you choose quickly.”
“Wait for now. I’ll think about it over time.”
“It’s not something you should be too leisurely about……”
Eun frowned but closed her mouth. Add slightly made a fist with his hand and opened it back up then dropped a sigh.
“……New universe huh.”
Way to defeat D, so there is a clue about this somewhere here? He couldn’t have come here for no reason at all. Add slowly continued his words.
“For now, I’ll think about a way to return slowly…. And measure while talking with the other members.”
“Well, keep in mind that there isn’t a lot of free time. Affection point isn’t something that stacks up overnight and needs focused care. It also could turn into a bloodbath if one two-times. Most important thing after all is managing hunger points delicately and applying good diet continuously.”
Add nodded instead of answering.
Different universe. What he should do in this universe with unfamiliar but familiar comrades still wasn’t decided in detail.
He needed more time to think this over.
Add shook his head after finishing his flashback. In Add’s perspective, time traveling or destroying hundreds of demons was much easier.
He knew what the action was but he didn’t know how he could go about doing something like that.
……Was it something people will let you do if you asked?
He knew in his head that there were people that did such things to each other in the world, but he didn’t know what they were thinking as they did such things.
“Should I ask for advice…..?”
Asking the girls about it was an incredibly stupid thing to do, then that leaves the guys…… Maybe Raven who looked like he had lots of life experience might know something? Add was groaning when someone suddenly spoke from beside him.
“Is there something wrong, Mr.Add?”
Ara was beside him before he realized and was staring straightly at him. It was a familiar face but her eyes felt unusual.
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve been looking strange since before. Is there something you’re worried about?”
He probably shouldn’t confess that……. I have to kiss someone from the El Search Party to go back to my original universe but I have no idea what to do. Also, she wouldn’t even understand anyways.
“Alright, but feel free to tell me about it if you have any worries.”
Ara answered calmly to Add’s disheartened voice then walked back to the front again. She did seem more composed than Ara that Add knew.
Rena who was in front realized Ara had broke formation without any notice and warned sternly.
“Ara, don’t break formation. There might be enemies.”
“Yes, I’m sorry.”
Rena had completely changed as well.
If it was Rena that Add knew…… maybe he could have confessed this situation to her and asked for advice. She would have at least been a better person to consult this with than that mischievous Eun.
But it felt like he would only get yelled at for spouting nonsense if he asked this Rena. She totally wasn’t someone fit to consult this with.
“……I don’t know. I don’t know at all.”
The homework he needed to finish in order to return to his original universe, kissing with someone from the El Search Party. But it became more troublesome as he thought about it. He felt like not thinking about anything at all but that will become even more troublesome later on.
He didn’t intend to live here forever. He had to return right away when he finds out how to defeat D. Eun’s words about needing to raise affection points beforehand for that purpose was correct.
He knew. But…..
Add was moving his steps blindly from having his head filled with troubles when the El Search Party stopped their march. Add hadn’t realized because he wasn’t looking around but they had arrived at the center of Ash Covered Village.
But there was no one to be seen. Rena looked around then sighed.
“Seriously, Elesis….. I told her to wait quietly.”
“Something must have happened so let’s split up and look for her.”
Rena nodded to Raven’s suggestion then looked around at the members.
“Let’s search in teams of two. Teams will be Raven and Ara, Chung and Aisha, me and Elsword, Eve and Add.”
Add quickly raised his hand.
“My dynamos are in repairs so I don’t have any combat capability right now. I’d appreciate it if you changed my teammate.”
Eve glared at him ever so coldly.
“Does that mean you can’t trust my abilities? It’s more than enough to protect a useless person like you.”
He didn’t know how to deal with ‘this Eve’(He don’t know what to call her exactly but she was Eve after all.) so he was just trying avoid being together with her. He had to also deal with affection points and figure out how to defeat D, so his head was so cluttered right now.
Add forged up any words he could in response to Eve’s furious response.
“I won’t be able to help you if you’re in danger. I don’t want to endanger you in case of some unexpected situation.”
Eve stared at Add straightly for a moment then turned her head away. Quite an angry response, Add would have normally cared more about this reaction from Eve, but he didn’t have any idea how to handle Eve from this universe right now.
Elsword stepped up when the atmosphere became strange.
“Then want me to come with you Big Brother?”
Add nodded when Elsword smiled as he put his hand on top of Add’s shoulder. One who showed almost no change from the El Search Party that Add knew was Elsword.
Ironically, Elsword was most familiar to him right now. To think a day where he’s most comfortable with Elsword would come…..
Add was brooding over this fact when Rena raised her voice.
“Then let’s search around the village for about 1 hour. Contact everyone right away if there’s something wrong or if you find Elesis.”
Other members answered then scattered to various places. Add let out an exhausted sigh. His mind was tired even though he hadn’t been overusing dynamos.
When the other members were far away, Elsword took a glance at Add.
“Why is Eve acting like that all of a sudden?”
“……What do you mean?”
“Eve was angry. Did you do something strange again?”
“I didn’t do any……”
….thing. Add was about to say this but froze. He was so surprised by the issue of alternate universe and alternate party members that he hadn’t been thinking properly. There was something that he missed.
Judging by how the El Search Party was acting, Add was one of their members as well. But Add they knew wasn’t Add(Time Tracer) right now.
Add covered his mouth with his hand then busily calculated inside his head. Elsword tilted his head in confusion but Add quickly pointed at the far away horizon with his finger.
“Elsword, go run there and come back. I have something I want to think about by myself.”
“……Big Brother, you said your dynamos were broken. What are you going to do if demons ambush you?”
Elsword asked worriedly but Add didn’t listen and turned around.
“Let me think by myself.”
Add said this then quickly entered the house he saw in front of him. He heard footsteps following him but they didn’t continue to inside the building. Elsword must have somewhat got a grasp that Add was in turmoil and was going to wait outside the building.
But being impressed by Elsword’s thoughtfulness could come later. Add quickly ran up the stairs and headed to the 2nd floor. He was the only one in this house, but you never knew.
It would be troublesome if someone heard what he was going to talk about from now on.
Empty house, Add sat on the 2nd floor’s bed then took out Eun from inside his jacket. Eun who had been dozing off yawned and stretched her arms when Add poked her cheek to wake her up.
“Yawn, I’m quite tired. Why are you waking me up?”
“……You said what we did was universe travel. Place where I’ve never been before, that it’s a given that everything had changed.”
Eun nodded to Add’s reconfirmation.
“But people here are considering me as…..obvious.”
Elsword, Aisha, Rena, Rave, Eve, Chung and Ara……. They had different images than the El Search Party that Add knew but the fact that they were all trying to stop the demons together was the same.
For Elesis, he’ll have to meet her first to make sure……..
“So that means before I arrived here….. There was a guy called Add here right? Then where did he go?”
Eun dragged her words then made a strange smile.
“So, you’re worried if Add who was here in this universe might have died? Boy has become too soft. Boy from before would have clearly said it wouldn’t matter if someone like that died or not long as boy achieved his goals.”
“…..Just answer my question.”
Eun’s indication was spot on but Add ignored it.
Although it wasn’t intentional, could it be that what he did to escape from D destroy the other Add(should he say himself?)?
“I’ll explain it in a way that’s easy to understand.”
When Eun waved her hand, a large wooden table appeared before her. Add stared curiously at the wooden table wondering what this square table with lattice lines drawn on it was. Eun put a black stone and a white stone on top of the lattices.
“Let’s say this white stone is boy, and this black stone is boy who was in this universe.”
Eun said this then put the tips of her index finger and thumb together and flung the white stone. White stone went flying to hit the black stone and the black stone went flying outside the wooden table.
“This is what happened.”
“……The shock from me moving here made Add from this universe fly off?”
“Universe travel isn’t an easy feat. Boy also always time traveled but never even thought about traveling across universes right?”
Add nodded quietly. His topic of research was time travel so he hadn’t been too interested in alternate universes.
Although he did know about them academically.
“I know about alternate universe theory at least. It’s something about an alternate world where someone like me exists.”
“Time travel of course requires appropriate cost but universe travel requires even more. Normal universes don’t easily accept the existence of same individuals. I did hear about there being universes where multiple same individuals can exist together…..but this isn’t the case for universe we were in and this universe.”
“It’s confusing so let’s call where I was universe A, and this place universe B.”
Eun smiled slyly when Add pointed this out.
“Wasn’t this a timing where you got angry that I’m messing around and dragging the story on for too long?”
“I’m interested in the topic itself.”
Add had insisted on time traveling so far but universe traveling was quite an unconventional and fresh concept.
Add thought over the events that happened since he arrived at universe B then asked about the most important thing first.
“Then what happened to Add B who got thrown off?”
“Theoretically, he will return back to this place if boy returns to universe A. He will return just as much as he got thrown off. Although their extents are different, it seems all universes have a property of trying to restore themselves.”
“…..So he isn’t dead.”
Although the story was complicated, he understood in a general sense. Add nodded then confirmed once more.
“So D is trying to rule over time and space in the universe A that I was in, but this universe B doesn’t have anything to do with him, so that’s why D cannot do anything about this place. Also, because I arrived here, Add B who was originally in this universe B got flown off somewhere else. Am I right?”
“Amount of stones one can place on the go table is limited. No matter how good of a go player one is, they cannot place any more stones once all spaces have been filled.
While Add was deep in his thoughts, the wooden table was already filled up with white and black stones. Eun gave a cold smile when Add looked down at the wooden table that was completely filled up.
“If one has to force another stone on this go table…..they would have to take another stone off.”
“I don’t know what go is, but I understand what you mean. So…..universe travel isn’t something that can be done normally, same individual from universe A and universe B cannot exist at the same time so guy who was already here had to get flung off…….”
Add’s face as he reviewed the facts became cold.
“Then how can D and I exist at the same time?”
According to Eun’s words, D and Add couldn’t exist at the same time. Add questioned sharply.
“You said there were universes where same individuals could exist, but that wasn’t the case for the universe we were in. But D and I existed at the same time. How is that possible?”
That’s right, D’s existence itself was denying what Eun was saying right now. Eun let off a bitter smile.
“Boy’s brain works really fast after all. You’re trying to make me explain then discretely extract the information you want. It’s almost to the point where I’m marvelled.”
“We had to go over this eventually. If you also have the same desire of wanting to dispose of D…..then answer me honestly.”
Saying disposing of D was bit reluctant. Add sensed ever since he laid his eyes on D that he was Add from the future.
One couldn’t easily say that they’ll dispose of their own future.
“The principle is simple.”
Eun said this then placed a white stone on top of another white stone that was already placed on the table. Then she opened up her arms as if to say ‘didn’t I explain it well?’
“…….You call this an explanation?”
“Ah, boy doesn’t know about go? You must have realized from my explanation just now, but placing a stone on top of one that already exists is cheating. It’s a defeat by disqualification.”
“D’s breaking the rules?”
“That’s right, he’s an existence that’s alive only because he’s breaking the rules of space-time and universes. The description devil couldn’t be ever more fitting.”
Eun as she said this looked sorrowful for some reason. Add paused for a bit at how she looked gloomy but pressed his next question soon after.
“Why go so far to that extent? Just what is D trying to do?”
“According to what he says, his goal is to rule over time and space. Become the king of time and space. Boy should know that the world is created from intersection of time and space right?”
Add obviously knew because he overused time travel.
“D was successful in taking control of time. But Aisha was occupying space. To be more precise, Aisha had to interfere with space in order to stop D from taking complete control over both time and space.”
Add asked with a hope after recalling the conversation between D and Aisha.
“Does that mean Aisha can stop D?”
“That’s obviously impossible. She said herself that her chances of victory were around 40%. So her actual chances are below 30%, and her chances won’t even be 10% in the last fight we saw. She basically walked into the enemy base after all.”
“Aisha had been facing D by herself and maintaining a deadlock. Of course, she knew that she had no chances in a straight up battle so she had been avoiding direct confrontation. But she was indirectly impeding D’s efforts. Demons were afraid of her, calling her a Dimension Princess.”
Add started to get an understanding of what was going on behind the scenes. Eun spoke when Add remained silent.
“While boy was failing countless times, she was stopping D from completely taking control over time and space solely by herself. Be sure to thank her if you see her again later.”
It meant that saucy purple magician was keeping D in check by herself. Add gulped then trailed his words.
“Yes, she broke her policy and faced D directly for our sake. Although she won’t go down easily…..”
It was uncommon for Eun to trail her words so this wasn’t a good sign at all. D will soon defeat even Aisha and take control of space was well.
The phase giving wings to a tiger wasn’t enough. The one who manipulated time and space as they wished, what else would you call that but a god?
Devil was trying to become a god.
“……My future self will try to take control over time and space?”
“Alright, it looks like what I have to say is roughly over. It would be better for you to hear the rest from D himself.”
It felt like Eun was trying to finish the conversation hastily but Add didn’t say anything.
He didn’t know how he in the future turned out like that, what event he had to go through to turn into that, but it was something he had to confirm for himself.
Just when Add made up his mind and was about to stand up,
There was an explosion and Add’s body went flying.