Since it’s reading week I’ll probably make another update in middle of this week(wed,thus) with the addition of weekly(sun/mon) one.
And yea, chapter 1&2 are more than half of the entire novel.
A fight to bring about a different result by repeating time breathtaking amount of times.
What was this fight for in the first place? Was it so D who took control of time could roll the dice as many times as he wanted? Was that really the only reason?
Ara who ran at the head of the El Search Party swung her spear with this question in mind. Ran who came running first amongst the enemies easily deflected her spear.
“……Your strikes are light. Is it due to Eun’s absence?”
Ran’s blade flew in quickly aiming for the opening in Ara’s defense created after her failed attack. Ara quickly pulled her body out while waving her spear. It was true that Ara skills fell behind overall…… but she was skilled enough to fight equally against Ran if she assumed a defensive stance.
Basis of Ran- Aren and Ara’s strength was Haan family martial arts. They knew each other’s tactics and skills like an open book. Ran didn’t chase after Ara and spoke calmly.
“Come at me with Flying Kite.”
Flying Kite was one of the highest-grade skills amongst the skills Ara learned when she awakened her Memory of Time and Space. The skill did actually contribute heavily in defeating Ran back in Hamel.
“Elder Brother Aren.”
“Do we have any need to talk now?”
Ran looked at Ara with a subdued gaze. Ara hesitated for a moment then tried to open her mouth when a sharp voice came from above them.
“What are you doing Ran?! Don’t tell me you’re going easy because she’s your sister…… Uwah!”
True Karis who was about to attack Ara dodged then pulled out due to a fireball Aisha fired.
This made Ran frown but Ara continued the conversation.
“Why have you been fighting all this time Elder Brother?”
“Why do you ask?”
Ran’s cold tone was conveying ‘don’t ask something so pointless’. But Ara didn’t back down.
“For me…… at first, it was to return Elder Brother back into a human. But after meeting everyone in the El Search Party, I resolved myself to defeat any adversaries even if that may be you, Elder Brother, so I can be together with them.”
“Then you should do just that. If you can.”
Ara shook her head to refuse.
“That’s my reason. I don’t know your reason, Elder Brother. You knew that the time was being repeated over and over again, am I right?”
“This wasn’t the first time me, and everyone in the El Search Party have fought. We kept fighting inside this infinitely repeating time. Although I can’t quite bring myself to believe it still….and it’s terrifying to recall…… those events certainly happened.”
Ara slowly raised her gaze to face Ran.
“I tried to turn you back to normal in this eternal battle…… and kept failing. I’ll run out of strength and fall in Velder, or in Hamel, or maybe even in Feita…… That’s the result I’ve met until now.”
“You knew that I failed countless times already. Wasn’t that why back in Hamel, you invited me to watch the end of time together with you?”
There was no answer, but Ara could understand Ran’s feeling.
Finally…… she could begin to understand why Ran made such an offer at the time.
“So, you knew this fight was the Time War, and that it has been repeated time and time again…… Then just what is it that you want, Elder Brother?”
Ara and the El Search Party were basically dices so they had no awareness of this broken world.
But didn’t Ran know from the start? And it was difficult to say that he was enjoying this endlessly repeating battle.
Just what did Ran hope to gain by assisting D?
“What I want…… huh….”
Ran answered his sister’s question with a completely empty voice. It wasn’t that he was trying to avoid the question…… his tone was as if he really couldn’t remember.
“Unlike all of you, I do remember most of those times but don’t remember at the same time. There’s no meaning to those times. I’m at a loss for an answer if you ask me what I want at this point.”
“There was something I wanted at the start…… but it’s vague now. No, the goal is still the same but I question myself if that’s what I really want.”
Motivation slowly started to return to Ran’s eyes while he talked almost as if he was talking to himself. It was a drastic change as if life was being imbued into a statue.
“……Although I’m doubtful, I can’t change my goal now. That goal is what defines me at this point. I’ve been moving forward for so long so I can’t change my direction now.”
“So, what is it that you want?”
“There’s a woman I must meet.”
There was a bitterness mixed into Ran’s voice.
“She probably won’t remember me. Even if time were to turn back from D granting my wish as he restructures this universe…… I don’t know if that meeting will be in a form that I wanted. Even if I get to meet her again, I’m not sure if that’s what I really want now.”
“But I still have to meet her. This goal is the only thing supporting me.”
Ran’s eyes started to become enflamed with will. Ara’s question had awakened the desire that had been dormant inside Ran for a long time.
Ara’s voice became quieter.
“So, you did something so terrible to our hometown to achieve that goal?”
“It’s something I’ve done so many times already to the point where it’s tedious now.”
Ara’s face became filled with sorrow at Ran’s words. Ara also understood that it was difficult to sense value in acts that were repeated continuously.
Tomorrow has its value because it’s different from today.
What meaning was there to tomorrow if it was same as today? And if the day after tomorrow is the same once again and this repeated endlessly?
“So, that’s why you’ll assist D…… and strike me down?”
“To achieve my goal, yes.”
Ran gripped his sword even tighter. Ara looked at him ever so sadly with her mouth closed tightly.
She tried to hold back…… but tears eventually flowed down her cheek.
Paths of these siblings had diverged completely in this immemorial flow of time. No amount of talking would make them converge again.
No matter how sorrowful and heartbreaking it was, it was time to decide.
“I’m sorry, Elder Brother. But I can’t let you do as you wish.”
“Then try to stop me…… if you can!”
Ran shouted then dashed towards Ara. In that moment, Ara who concentrated all her body’s energy into her feet also jumped off the ground.
Her movement was even quicker than a tear drop trickling down her face and dropping on the ground!
Ara dashed at a speed that couldn’t be caught with a naked eye as she swung her spear. Fatal attacks flew in with each flash of light.
Flying Kite was certainly an amazing skill. It was only passed down as a spoken legend and it was an exquisite skill even Aren couldn’t master.
But you could block it if you anticipated it was coming!
Clank! Clank! Clank! While hiding his uneasiness, Ran used every senses available to him to wave his blade. Making his blade clash with the spear was the best he could hope for. He couldn’t do anything about receiving cuts and stabs all over his body.
But Flying Kite was a skill that drained Ara’s stamina drastically so it was Ran’s victory if he could hold out just a bit longer!
Ran postured himself to avoid fatal wounds much as possible as he prepared for a counterattack after realizing he made his 6th successful block. His eyes could catch Ara’s movements now unlike before. Flying Kite’s effectiveness was running out so this was the time to counter!
Ran smiled with satisfaction of victory as he stabbed his blade towards Ara’s chest. Ara who was dashing in will never react in time……
Girl’s eyes scattering tears but containing a strong will struck at his heart.
Those eyes…he should have seen them somewhere. Ran unconsciously blinked blankly at this sense of déjà vu. Those eyes he couldn’t remember clearly but saw long ago……
This was probably what he wanted to see one more time. White spear stabbed towards Ran’s chest the moment he exclaimed.
There was no pain.
Steel and steel, white armor and black armor clashed. In the middle of a contest of strength to push each other away, Chung asked regrettably.
“Father, why are you still trying to stand on D’s side?”
Helputt only groaned and didn’t answer. Chung shouted wholeheartedly.
“I’ve shown you plenty of the El Search Party’s and my strength! Chances of defeating D will be become higher if father lends us your strength right now!”
“Then what happens if he isn’t defeated?”
Depressed voice flowed out from Helputt’s helmet.
“Even if I help all of you and fight against D, what do you think will happen when we fail? Do you honestly think I haven’t thought about going against D myself? And do you think I don’t know what will happen as a result?”
Helputt obviously initially had the same thoughts as Chung. No, not just a thought, Helputt probably had times where he put his thoughts into action.
“Just where is the proof that it will be different this time?!”
Chung’s legs started to get pushed back gradually. Helputt was displaying unprecedented strength as if he was releasing all his pent up frustration.
But Chung couldn’t let himself be beaten. If Chung fell here, there was no one left to guard Add and Eve at the back. It wasn’t a set rule, but everyone had an intuition that this fight was over if one of Add or D fell.
“Then just what……”
He won’t get pushed back anymore. Chung shouted loudly right in front of Helputt’s surprised face.
“Then just what is it that you want, father?!”
“Because it didn’t work out last time, it won’t work out again. Is that your conclusion father?!!”
Chung’s words struck Helputt’s heart.
“Father, you must have seen countless battles that I don’t know about. That’s why you must have made such radical choice of turning your back on Hamel and joining hands with the demons! I do understand. But that doesn’t make that choice a righteous one!!”
“Then what is righteous?!!”
Helputt who had been getting pushed back by Chung’s sudden counterattack shouted angrily and started to hold his ground. Helputt retorted when two of their strengths came to an equilibrium.
“You don’t know about the despair of this broken time! About this time that keeps repeating itself no matter how much you struggle!”
“Yes father, I won’t know well as you with fragmentary memories I have!”
Chung’s continuing words…… will be a cruel attack to his father. Chung’s face became momentarily filled with anguish inside his helmet but he made up his mind.
He had to defeat Helputt to lead this battle into victory.
“But even so, I won’t cowardly give up like you, father! No matter how hopeless the situation may seem, I won’t submit to it and go down an unrighteous path!”
Helputt’s movements instantly stopped. His heart became stifled soon as he heard Chung’s words and…… he literally broke down.
There shouldn’t be any father that could maintain his composure after being called a coward by his own son.
Not only that, but to think he’d hear such words from a son he tried to protect no matter what from this Time War!
Helputt got pushed back largely because his stance broke down completely after showing a huge opening. Chung spun his destroyer around and aimed it forwards.
There were no more words.
Ran opened his eyes narrowly and looked down. White spear had stopped directly in front of his chest.
There was no pain because he wasn’t stabbed.
“……What is this?”
Ran let out an empty sigh. Even though this was a fight that had been repeated countless times, they were fighting with their lives on the line…… This really spoiled the mood.
Ara who gave up on taking Ran’s life at the very last moment slowly withdrew her spear.
“Elder Brother, you lost to me.”
“I won’t go back to being a human even if you do this. Let me tell you since we’re on the topic. You fought countless times trying turn me back but there wasn’t a single time that you succeeded.”
Ran mocked bitterly. This revelation was obvious since the El Search Party had never defeated D, but listening to it directly from Ran’s mouth was different.
Ara was shocked internally but her will didn’t waver.
“Elder Brother Aren, give me a chance to turn you back into a human.”
“That’s not even funny……”
Ran sent his sister a sympathetic gaze.
She wasn’t too bright in worldly affairs and used to worry him a lot. But to think she’d say something like this after coming this far…
“Do you think that can happen just by wishing? Situation in this broken world is always the same. There were times when trivial things had changed but the general flow is always similar. Only the place and time which you guys were defeated had changed, there was never a time when I turned back to a human.”
Ara shook her head adamantly.
“That’s because Elder Brother never thought about going back to being a human.”
“It’s because you decided the history and time was fixed and gave up.”
Ara’s words were right on the mark. Ran obviously didn’t cooperate with D from the start…… He resisted in the beginning and tried various attempts to escape but all those tries only confirmed that there was nothing he could do to end the Time War.
His role was to be forced into participating in this endlessly repeating time, game of dice rolls.
Ran gave up in the end and accepted this truth. He also had his wish of meeting with the Water Priestess Sasha which was the gift that D was going to grant him. But the despair that nothing will change no matter what he did had consumed him.
Ran unknowingly spoke out because his sister whom he thought was only innocent and naïve was now sending him such a righteous and imposing gaze that felt as he was getting pierced right through.
“What a joke. Why do I have to go back to being a human? I’m enjoying killing humans as a demon so much……”
“Elder Brother, don’t say such things even if it’s a lie.”
Ara must have become very upset because she shook her head sorrowfully.
“If that’s what you really thought then you wouldn’t have made such suggestion to me in Hamel.”
“……I don’t remember too well.”
Ran closed his mouth after realizing his answer was empty.
Was it because he saw Sasha’s face in the brink of death? He was talking too much unlike himself.
Ara who dropped her spear approached Ran slowly. Ran instinctively waved his blade and small piece of Ara’s hair got slashed off.
“……You didn’t attack seriously.”
To think she’d risk her life to test him…… Ran tried to take a step back then frowned.
He couldn’t help but to ask.
“What use is there in me turning back into a human? Will anything change by doing that?”
“If Elder Brother wants to turn back into a human…… then we have to end this broken world first.”
So was she trying to convince him to help her fight against D? Ran smiled bitterly.
“Your words don’t make sense. D needs to be defeated for me to turn back into a human. But since D couldn’t be defeated, I accepted the fate of fighting against the El Search Party as a demon.”
“……You’re mistaken, Elder Brother.”
Ara tone was slightly hesitant but she replied seriously. Ran shook his head bitterly.
“It wasn’t like I was glad to be imprisoned in this endless battles. I made over hundreds of attempts to escape but they were all for naught……”
“There’s still one thing you haven’t tried.”
Ran unintentionally payed attention to Ara’s next words. Just what mistake did he make?
“You never asked me for help, Elder Brother.”
“Even with your help……”
“I might seem weak to you, Elder Brother. But we, the El Search Party aren’t weak. See how we’re still fighting right now?”
Yes, Ara did fight on equal level as him at least. And…… Ara was right.
Ran had never imagined even during his tens and hundreds of failures, the choice of revealing the circumstances to Ara and asking her for help.
It was just like how in Hamel he only tried to detain Ara and never explained the exact circumstances to her.
Ara should be weak enough that she couldn’t defeat him. Asking Ara for help would only increase the corpse count by one. And……
And since older brother who begs his sister for help looked like the biggest idiot in the world.
Ran became completely frozen from the thought that passed by his head. Part of his mind that he wasn’t conscious of had surfaced for a moment…… and although he felt reluctant about it, he sensed that this was the truth.
“You got to be kidding me……”
Revealing everything to Ara and asking her for help was so lame…… so he never took that option into consideration.
Wasn’t it useless since Ara was weaker than him? If that was the reason, then he should have changed his mind the moment Ara defeated him back in Hamel.
If not back then, he should have at least got slight hints about it when Ara was fighting equally against him just moments before. But he had never imagined the choice of borrowing Ara’s strength.
Because of his pride as older brother.
Ran frowned as he placed his hand over his face. He felt so dumbstruck after realizing his own feelings.
Ran sighed after rubbing his eyes to ease the fatigue.
“Why do I have to listen to you?”
“What do you mean?”
“If I let D win like this then I’ll obtain the time I want. So why should I join you now?”
He wanted to listen to what answer his sister gave. Ara hesitated for a moment then slowly opened her mouth.
“No matter what happens, my feeling of wanting to turn Elder Brother back into a human won’t ever change.”
Was that all to her answer? Thankfully, Ara’s words weren’t over yet.
“My wish is to turn Elder Brother back into a human.”
“That’s your wish……”
“Yes, so I’ll also grant Elder Brother’s wish.”
Ran was silent from Ara’s conclusion. Ara spoke carefully, but resolutely.
“You’ll grant my wish, Elder Brother. And I’ll help you grant your wish.”
“As Elder Brother should know very well already, Ara always keeps her promise.”
Ara made a face filled with determination then abruptly held out her hand. She was asking for a handshake. Ran was keeping silent while looking down at his sister’s bare hand then he clicked his tongue.
She was his little sister…… but she’s so hopeless.
“You must think that’s a good answer….. But as I said, D will quickly clean up this situation. I have no reason to go with your offer that has low chance of success. Why do I have to go out of my way to walk a difficult path?”
Ara became flustered as if she didn’t expect this response. Her strong and reliable demeanor disappeared instantly and she was struggling very hard to think of words to convince Ran.
She was his little sister…… but he had to admit she was cute.
“I thought you’d try to rely on bonds of siblings……”
Ara face suddenly became surprised while attempting to think of additional words to convince Ran. Ran had lightly grabbed her hand then let go.
“That was good enough considering it’s you. I’ll let myself be tricked.”
“As someone who was once part of the Haan family, I’ll fight together with you this time.”
Ara became overjoyed from Ran’s acceptance that she opened her arms widely then hugged him. Ran didn’t expect her to do something like this in the battlefield so he couldn’t react in time and let himself be hugged.
“Thank you, Elder Brother Aren!!”
“……If you’re going to convince someone next time, do it without any flaws. If there is next time that is.”
Ran didn’t know how to handle his sister hanging on to him like this so he just let her be.
“Ah, it was Mr.Add who told me I should convince you. He said there shouldn’t have been a time when Elder Brother and I were truly on same sides.”
Well, it was certainly unusual for Ara. Ran felt strange sense of displeasure from the name Ara called so familiarly but shook his head.
Ara’s skills had already improved drastically to the point where she could match him equally. But it was only her spear skills that had improved. Her innocent and naïve personality was still the same.
And it was the older brother’s job to cover for his little sister if she was somewhat lacking.
It would be lame to say he recalled the memory of when he was a human. Ran collected his mind then raised his blade.
“I’ll open a path. Don’t fall behind.”
“Yes, let’s go together, Elder Brother!”
Siblings of the Haan family united their wills to fight together and end the Time War.
Words were over but actions didn’t follow through. Helputt looked at the cannon aimed at his chest then let out a big sigh.
“……Why aren’t you firing?”
Chung slowly withdrew his weapon instead of answering. Add’s plan was to persuade Ran and Helputt to join their side. According to Add, Ran and Helputt were so deeply consumed helplessness and despair that they had no choice but to take the Devil’s side.
But Chung wasn’t doing this because of Add’s plan. For him, there was never a choice to finish off Helputt in the first place.
“Father… How could I ever shoot you?”
Chung spoke while looking up at his answerless father.
“Although father made a wrong choice…… that was to protect me who didn’t know anything. Even if the time repeated infinitely, father would have never betrayed Hamel if it weren’t for me.”
“It’s a choice I made on my own, Prince.”
Chung shook his head after being called by his real name. Because he was weak, because he didn’t know anything, he made his father fall into darkness.
“Father, please lend us your strength.”
“I said it already, but even with my help…..”
“It doesn’t matter. Help us still.”
Helputt was speechless from this unreasonable request. But Chung wasn’t saying this without reason.
“Father, you’re the Guardian of Hamel who’s been protecting Hamel with the will of steel. Even if one’s life were to end, at least never give in your soul to darkness and evil. You should know very well that this the spirit of the Seiker Family.”
“I may get hurt or even killed while fighting together with my comrades. But I’ll accept this gladly. No, this probably happened many times already.”
Chung raised his head and requested confidently.
“Just like your fears, since we lost last time we might lose this time as well. And we might lose next time too. Even so, we’ll still fight for Hamel and for Elrios.”
Helputt exclaimed after reading his son’s determination. No matter what happens, no matter how strong of an enemy he faces, his son will fight without fear.
Even if that meant risking death. No…… didn’t he already die once by D? He obtained another chance to fight because Add turned back time.
His son resolved to fight for justice…. Even beyond time and death.
Helputt let out a sigh from witnessing his son’s demeanor that he never imagined.
“……I was very wrong. I should have believed in you and fought together. I saw you too much as a kid.”
“No father, I was immature and weak. I thought you have passed away and tried to act carelessly because I was burning with desire for revenge.”
Son consoled the father who was filled with self-blame and regret.
“After meeting the El Search Party and sharing time together with them, I learned to fight while seeing much more broadly. I now know what it means to fight together and what I should fight for.”
“Yes, I see…… I was wrong to have tried to separate you from the El Search Party and keep you tied down in Hamel.”
His son had already become a man before he knew it. He had grown up to be a man whom Helputt could stand together with on the battlefield as equals.
“You weren’t wrong father. I was too weak and was holding you back. But…… I won’t be a burden anymore.”
Helputt only nodded at his son’s determination. His fatigued heart from the endlessly repeating time….. melted down instantly.
Maybe he had endured until now so he could hear these words.
What should the father do for his son who grew up so much to the point of surpassing him? Helputt already knew the answer.
Helputt slowly turned around as he shouted.
“Then let’s fight together, my son!”
Father and son’s hearts united for the first time as they headed to the battle.