Dimension gates opened on all the platforms with Scar’s defeat. All members of the El Search Party could regroup at the center of the Grand Cavern thanks to these dimension gates.
Unlike the other platforms they’ve been fighting on, there was a walkable path leading to somewhere on the center platform.
“It seems we can leave this place using this path.”
Ignia concluded after examining the direction the path led to. Everyone nodded with exhausted faces.
“Okay, then let’s go back now.”
“Is anyone else tired? I’m feeling very weary.”
“Then want me to carry you on my back, Lu?”
“I’m bit tired too. I’d like to rest…..”
“Hey, Elsword. Don’t doze off while standing!”
“Big Sis, wake me up when we get back…..”
Add frowned from watching everyone’s rowdy chatter.
“We defeated Scar and Karis…..so everything is over now?”
“The fight in Lanox is over at the least. Let’s go back and rest, Add- No, useless…..”
At Eve retracting her words, Add momentarily looked at Eve as if he was being falsely accused then asked again doubtfully.
“No, is this really it? Is the fight completely over?”
“We stopped the demon god resurrection ritual. Can’t you see that the hole above has disappeared?”
Just like Lu said, the giant hole in the air had disappeared without a trace. But Add couldn’t accept this situation easily.
Is this it? Really?
“Mr.Add, are you worried about something?
“That’s not it…….”
It felt surreal. But what should he do now if it was really over? Should he go back with them for now….then wait for the chance to steal Eve’s core?
“Come to think of it, useless did say he was going to fight with us until Lanox.”
“Do you have to go back now, Add?”
Add was becoming startled from Raven’s question when Ara spoke very regrettably.
“I’m sad that we won’t get to see you again, Mr.Add.”
“You just have to be nice to slightly useless Add when he comes back, Ara.”
Hey, what do you mean ‘Oh, really?’. His return was suddenly being assumed. Add quickly tried to quell the situation but Ara’s words were already spreading like wildfire.
“Goodbye, Add. Do your best in your fights on that side.”
“You can do it.”
“Are you going back, Big Brother Add?”
“Be strong, Mr.Add!”
“I praise you for your efforts during our fights together!”
Add had a blank face as everyone started saying their farewells. No…he didn’t achieve his goal yet so what kind of atmosphere was this?
As Add quickly tried to correct the situation, Eve spoke as if she just remembered.
“Oh, I promised you, Add.”
“What did you promise him?”
Eve dropped the bomb when Aisha asked with a tired voice.
“I promised to give Add a kiss.”
“What did you say?”
“Wait a moment…..”
Everyone was staring back and forth between Add and Eve in shock. Eve was acting calmly as ever but Add suddenly felt like running away and hiding somewhere.
Everyone’s gazes were extremely bothersome right now.
“Wait a moment, Add…..”
“What does this mean?”
“How could you ask Eve so blatantly??! You didn’t even consider the mood!!”
That was Aisha’s furious voice… So mood was the issue here? Add was murmuring internally when Ignia scratched her head.
“Actually, Add asked me to-”
“What? He asked Ignia too?”
What’s wrong with this atmosphere? Why did they have to cut Ignia’s words off there and make him the weird one? While Add was still in the middle of being so overwhelmed that he couldn’t explain himself, Eve spoke to everyone clearly.
“Be quiet everyone, listen to my explanation first.”
After calming everyone down, Eve explained shortly.
“It seems to be a trigger for Add to return to his original universe. So I promised to do it for him.”
“…..Eve, is that really okay with you?”
Aisha asked worriedly but Eve had a face as if she was asking ‘is there a problem?’.
“It’s just a simple membrane contact.”
“Umm, you see……”
Aisha, Rena and Elesis hesitated from saying anything more. They seemed to be struggling to figure out a good explanation for Eve.
Eve didn’t pay attention to them and turned her gaze back towards Add.
“Then close your eyes, Add.”
“I heard kiss was something you did with your eyes closed.”
T, that’s what he heard too. But wait, right here? When everyone is watching? Add screamed internally but Eve didn’t care at all as she grabbed Add’s arm tightly.
Eve moved closer towards Add as everyone watched. Although a bit late, Add tried to escape but he couldn’t beat Eve in terms of physical strength. Everyone was looking very excitedly as if they were watching some kind of drama.
Add wanted to run away….but he couldn’t! He unknowingly shut his eyes tightly.
And a soft sensation touching the back of his hand. Add carefully opened his eyes when nothing else happened even after waiting for a while.
Eve was holding up and kissing Add’s hand.
What is this? Eve let go of Add’s hand then took a step back while Add stood still with an empty expression.
Eve made a confused expression when Add stared at her with a dumbfounded expression. Other Search Party members that had been watching either very excitedly or had been blushing were all in a dumbstruck state.
Eve asked while taking a quick glance around at everyone.
“Isn’t it courtesy of humans to kiss the hand of someone who’s worthy of your respect?”
Somebody’s groan was representing how everyone was feeling right now. I see, Eve promised because she had a slightly wrong idea. Add let out a deep sigh from feeling sudden sense of depression.
Eve looked slightly hurt from everyone’s reactions.
“Why are you sighing? I surely followed the etiquette. Was I supposed to kiss the other hand?”
Add who was replying unknowingly realized that everyone was paying attention to his next words. He suddenly became afraid of what might happen if he chose the wrong words here.
“That was good enough.”
“I see, so are you going back now Add?”
But Eve asked quickly even before Add tried to answer Elesis’ question.
“You said you had something to say to me after the fight. Should I stay behind for a bit?”
Being alone with Eve was necessary to steal the core. Add was about to nod but then made a doubtful face after looking down at his chest.
There was wriggling…… but no words.
Add shook his head because of a sudden thought that flashed by his head.
“No, it’s all done now.”
Elsword made a regretful face at this answer.
“I’ll miss you, Big Brother Add.”
“Do your best on that side too.”
Aisha sent a warm encouragement for some reason. She might be unexpectedly kind after all.
“Thank you for everything until now, Add.”
Rena’s voice was much brighter now as if she had been freed from a burden.
“Then farewell, Add.”
Raven requested a handshake and Add accepted. Stuff like this didn’t suit Add’s personality but this time was an exception.
“You became a bit more competent from being with us, so you won’t have any problems when you return, right?”
Add merely nodded at Eve’s words because he somehow couldn’t face her gaze directly. But Eve seemed satisfied with his response.
“Thank you for your efforts until now, Mr.Add.”
“Mr.Add, So you’re going back after finding out how to defeat D? That’s a wonderful news.”
Add was about to answer Chung but winced from hearing Ara’s words then turned to look at her. White haired and red eyed Ara sent him a cute wink.
Add was about to say something to Ara when Elesis forcefully grabbed Add’s hand then shook it strongly.
“Goodbye Add! Call us anytime if you need our help! We’ll jump over barriers between universes or whatever and come to help you!”
“…..It hurts, you monster woman.”
“Don’t cry over just this much. Become more sturdy!”
Elesis laughed broadly then suddenly hugged Add. As Add became surprised from suddenly being hugged, Elesis quietly whispered to his ear.
“Thanks, I could defeat Scar thanks to your advice.”
“……I just blurted some words out of frustration.”
“Yes, everything worked out because you got mad at me. Thanks so much.”
Elesis strongly patted Add’s back with a grin then let him go. Add was muttering while rubbing his aching back when Lu and Ciel gave their farewells together.
“I’m bit saddened by how I’m not in that universe.”
“Add could have just missed us. Search to see if we’re in that universe. We’ll certainly lend you our strengths for your fight.”
“……I’ll do that if I have time.”
Two of them nodded satisfyingly at Add’s answer. And Ignia stared quietly at Add for a while then asked him for confirmation.
“You already know what I want to say, right?”
“…..Yes, I promised after all.”
How he’ll keep the priestesses safe, it wasn’t a difficult task once he defeated D.
Elesis shouted energetically when everyone finished their farewells.
“Alright, then let’s go back everyone! We have to quickly tell the people of Lanox that they don’t have to fear the demons anymore!”
Everyone started taking steps to go back while leaving Add behind. But those steps must have been very difficult to take because everyone walked slowly while turning around to give Add their final words.
“Goodbye, Big Brother Add!”
“Try your best, Add!”
“Don’t lose your cool no matter how strong the enemy is.”
“Believe in us if we’re there as well.”
“Ask me to assist you once your return.”
“I’ll wait for the day when we can fight together again.”
“It’ll be great if we can see each other again, Mr.Add!”
“Be strong Add! I’m glad I met you!”
“Stop the demons in that universe from committing mistakes!”
“Goodbye, Add. Stay healthy.”
But their steps didn’t stop as distance between them and Add became further and further. Add stood blankly as if his feet were nailed to the ground and looked at the group’s backs as they moved further away. Everyone was walking forward.
Towards the place where they can have their rest, then towards places where they must fight to protect.
Eve walked at the very back of the group that was getting further away. She was walking with strangely slow steps then she took a quick glance backwards. Eve completely stopped her steps with an indescribable expression once she made eye contact with Add who was still standing vacantly.
As if she didn’t want to depart.
Ara who couldn’t bare to watch any longer approached Eve with quick steps then grabbed her hand tightly. She then turned to look at Add and waved her hand widely.
Eve was moving further away. Ara was waving her hand. Add didn’t know what he should say or what face he should make, so he just vacantly waved his hand.
Just vacantly, until every member of the El Search Party couldn’t be seen anymore.
While suppressing the feeling of wanting to be amongst them.