He must have fallen asleep without realizing.
Add opened his eyes and habitually scratched his eye patch. He could feel the midday sunlight through the hood that covered most of his head.
“How much time has passed?”
“You were asleep for around one mealtime.”
Add removed his hood to look up towards the source of the reply. The intense sunlight made him squint. Add saw a silhouette standing high above him. He was slightly taken aback but didn’t let it show.
“Why are you standing up so high?”
The girl standing gently on top of tip of the spear smiled amiably.
“You never know when enemies might appear right? I’ll be able to see further if I’m up higher.”
Was her name….Ara? The girl showed such an innocent smile towards Add even though she had only known him since yesterday.
Just with a single glance you could tell she was a good natured and innocent girl. Those traits would probably make her likeable by most people. But Add wasn’t too fond of her.
“I’ll be able to see inside your skirt if you’re up so high.”
Ara’s face reddened after hearing Add’s remark. She hurriedly tried to pull down her clothes. But of course, she would lose balance if she tried to do that while standing on end of a standing spear.
Flustered, Ara fell towards the ground. But contrary to her scream, she quickly performed a single somersault in mid-air and landed safely on the ground.
Still, she looked quite shocked as she was blushing and breathing fast. Ara’s face reddened even more when Add stood up as if nothing happened and started wiped the dust off his clothes.
“T, that was so mean Mr.Add! I was keeping watch while Mr.Add slept!”
“Why are you making such a fuss when you’re wearing shorts?”
Receiving Add’s blunt remark, Ara confirmed her own attire then breathed a sigh of relief. Her moment of relief didn’t last long because she quickly pouted and asked Add.
“Were you making fun of me just now?”
“I said I’d be able to see inside your skirt, I never said you were wearing one.”
Annoyed, Add replied accordingly and started to walk forward. Ara recovered her spear and followed Add as she diligently scouted the surrounding area.
They shouldn’t need to go out of their way to be cautious since the two of them were standing in an open field.
‘Well, you never know…’
Add let fly forwards one of his Dynamos. It was to scan the surrounding area.
Seeing Ara become amazed as she watched the Dynamo fly around made him feel a bit better.
His mood wasn’t too great after waking from a good nap. But seeing Ara become so amazed at his creation gave him some pride as a developer.
“Kuku, there’s no bandits around this area. We should move ahead.”
“Others will be moving as well. Let us hurry so we don’t fall behind!”
Ara tried to hasten her pace but Add gestured his hand to stop her.
“They are mere bandits. Others will be fine fighting on their own.”
Ara looked surprised but Add was serious. Bandits here were all weaklings; there was honestly no need for everyone fighting together.
Even Add by himself. No, even this clumsy girl alone could defeat all the bandits in this area and complete their mission.
“All we have to do is look out for any that try to escape.”
Ara naively believed what Add said and nodded. Then she returned to diligently scouting her surroundings again. Add assumed that the entire mission should have been resolved by now but didn’t bother to tell her.
These bandits were weaklings that he could take care of with just one hand. That was why Add was lazing around and even finding the leisure to take a nap.
Why did I assume bandits in this area would not be a problem again?
Add looked around the area to see if he had missed anything but only arrived at his original conclusion that he wasn’t mistaken.
“….Well everyone is strong.”
“I was just talking to myself.”
After replying bluntly to Ara, Add moved forwards while pushing away the tree branches in his way.
Even this empty headed girl was an individual with exceptional skill. You could tell even without having to fight her. Her aura and her ordinate posture… she was a person you couldn’t
Ara cried out when she was hit by one of the returning branches that Add had pushed aside to get past. She must have been too immersed with scouting the area that she was not aware of things in front of her.
“….I, I’m fine! This is nothing!!”
…..She is strong… right?
Add stared at Ara impersonally for a moment then turned around to continue moving forwards. It hasn’t even been a day since they were formed, and this kind of mission meant nothing for him. But there was a good reason for Add to include himself in this group.
They were the El Search Party.
They were right now in the middle of their first mission to defeat the Ruben’s bandits.
Just as Add had predicted, the bandits turned out to be bunch of pushovers.
Ara had gone in front. Each time she swiftly swung her spear she sent three or four bandits flying.
Even though the fight was 1 versus 15 and she was surrounded by bandits from left to right, Ara dodged all of their attacks smoothly like the flowing water all the while effectively counterattacking.
Such elegant movements that looked as if she was dancing. Most people wouldn’t be able to avert their gaze at such a spectacle.
But her teammate Add was watching her fight while yawning. It was 1 versus 15 because Add didn’t join in the fight.
“I defeated everyone!”
In the end bandits’ advantage in numbers didn’t matter at all. They were all defeated before they could even graze a piece of Ara’s clothing. Ara withdrew her spear and looked around with a troubled expression.
All of Ara’s attacks were non-lethal attacks utilizing only the shaft of her spear. So these bandits were merely unconscious.
“What should we do about these people?”
“We can’t move around with all of them, just leave them be.”
“But our mission was to defeat the bandits…. Would it really be okay to leave them be?”
“Vermin tend to all scatter when their leader falls. Kukuk”
Ara nodded although she was still unsure what Add had meant. It almost seemed like she didn’t realize how Add had left her alone to fight by herself.
‘….Huh what’s with this boring reaction?’
Her skill with the spear was astounding but she was way too naïve. Just in case, Add decided to purposely bring up the issue.
“So how did it feel to fight by yourself? Kukuk.”
“Oh, it’s been a while since got to move this much so it felt refreshing! It was quite thrilling and fun!”
She’s not getting the point.
Add had purposely tried to get Ara riled up but only ended up getting an absurd response. This wasn’t going to be very cool but let’s try directly provoking her.
“I was resting comfortably while you were fighting. Kukuk.”
“Were you able to rest well Mr.Add?”
Add’s head started to ache after hearing Ara’s innocent response. Wasn’t it normal for you to get angry if your squad member did not do anything while you did all the fighting?
But Ara continued to retain her peaceful expression.
“Is she stupid? Or just really strange….?”
“Pardon me? What did you say?”
“It’s nothing. We move forwards. Their boss should be deep inside the forest.”
Dynamo he had sent flying earlier was informing him of the surrounding terrain. Add quickly stole a look back at Ara while moving forwards through the path that looked like it had been used by the bandits.
Ara was still looking around the surroundings nervously. It seemed the issue of Add letting her fight alone was completely erased from her mind already.
‘…..is she an idiot?’
Her skill with the spear was great but she was unbelievably naive. Add had tried to peer into her mind to prepare for a case when she became an obstacle in the future….but it was futile.
“Still, something bugs me…”
“What do you mean? Did more bandits appear?”
Add ignored Ara who hurriedly tightened the grip on her spear. He got a strange sense that something was off whenever he stared at Ara. It made him uncomfortable to face her…. he still couldn’t figure out why though.
For now let’s just remember that she’s an idiot who doesn’t even know how get angry.
“Found them. They’re fighting.”
“Where? We should hurry up and go help!”
“We don’t have to hurry for those weak opponents.”
Ara tried to hasten herself but Add’s steps didn’t get any faster. Ara staring confusingly at him annoyed Add so he gave a reasonable reply.
“There might be other ambushes so we have to be careful.”
“Oh. I see! I’ll be careful too!”
Seeing Ara scan the surrounding trees with such serious expression was a bit funny but Add turned off all his attention towards her.
His main interest was right in front of him.
When Add and Ara leisurely moved forwards for about 50 meters, they finally came upon an open field. There were tens of bandits on the ground groaning in pain. In middle of those bandits, there stood a girl with the impressionable silver hair.
She stood expressionless in the middle of all the fallen bandits. It almost felt like she was void of any emotions. Even Ara who had tried to run over to her was startled for a moment.
But to Add that girl was an existence more beautiful than anything else in the world.
After walking up close to her to the point where he could tell the emotions from her eyes, Add stopped. Despite knowing that Add was approaching she just stared blankly.
An unpleasant expression passed through the girl’s face for an instant in reaction to Add’s laugh. But this reaction made Add even more thrilled.
An ability to read other person’s emotions or intentions just from a laugh and output an appropriate reaction instantaneously…… in a machine!
This machine was so infinitely close to a human. The ultimate Nasod!
“Ms.Eve! Are you hurt?”
While Add was feeling joyous inside, Ara who had been startled earlier hurriedly came running and asked the girl. Anyone could tell with a single glance that bandits weren’t able to touch a single strand of this girl’s hair. But it seemed Ara acted faster than her ability to examine the situation.
“There’s no problem.”
The girl called Eve, a target that Add had praised as an ultimate doll replied to Ara with a practical voice.
While Ara was letting out a sigh of relief, Eve suddenly turned her head and looked over to the other side of the field.
“But there seems to be a slight problem over there.”
Upon closer look…. Two people were facing off in the middle of the field. One was a boy with red hair and another was a one-eyed man with the large build.
They both looked extremely exhausted because they were both panting heavily without making a move.
“Y, you’re not too bad old guy!”
“Y,you too brat!”
They were taking a slight break from their intense fight to recover their stamina. But the boy’s shoulders were bleeding compared to the large man who had no visible injuries. It looked like the boy was at a disadvantage.
Ara quickly determined the boy’s disadvantage and charged in front with her spear gripped tightly.
But even before she could take three steps, gears that were floating around Eve flew in and blocked Ara’s path. Shocked, Ara stopped and turned towards Eve to protest.
“Ms.Eve?! Our comrade is in danger! We have to go help fast!”
“He said he wanted to fight by himself.”
“But he looks exhausted.”
Eve was silent to Ara’s protest and continued to watch over the faceoff. Add gave his input after seeing Ara hop in anxiety.
“Leave him be. He said he wanted to fight alone. That brat will give up too if he loses here.”
“What do you mean ‘but’ ? Kukuk, That brat is weak.”
Amongst the current El Search Party members, that boy was the youngest and consequently the weakest. Everyone already knew this fact even though they had just formed yesterday.
“Or could you possibly be saying that that brat is strong?”
Ara’s words trailed. She also seemed to realize that the boy’s skills were nothing to brag about.
Martial artists could identify other martial artists. Even though Ara had such naïve personality, she was a trained martial artist. She could tell the difference between strong and weak.
“But what if he gets hurt badly….”
“You don’t have to intervene.”
Even Eve agreed with Add for some reason. Oh, she’s rather easy to talk to? Add felt uplifted because Eve had agreed with him.
“Because I don’t think he’ll lose.”
Ara looked honestly surprised but Eve just continued to stare at the boy with an unwavering gaze.
“That boy will win.”
“Kukuk, really? That’s totally not how I see it.”
For her to make this kind of judgemental mistake… Add was displeased thinking that Eve had made a flawed judgement and proposed a counterargument.
“Anyone can tell he doesn’t have much stamina left. Look, he barely has any more strength to hold up his sword.”
Eve stiffly continued to watch despite Add’s cynical remarks. Add was slightly irritated by Eve’s lack of reaction so he sneakily sent his Dynamo forward.
Eve’s gears came flying instantly to intercept the Dynamo.
“I told you to observe.”
“I was just trying to help because he’s going to lose like this.”
Provocation that hadn’t worked on Ara worked on Eve. Eve turned her head and stared at Add coldly.
“I don’t think he will lose.”
“If you honestly think that way, shall we make a little bet?”
“What kind of bet?”
“If that kid loses…..”
Just when Add was about to bring up the terms of his bet, the boy gathered his breath and stood up straight while holding his great sword.
“Alright! That’s enough break! Come at me Banthus!!”
“Don’t make me laugh brat!!”
The boss of the bandits, man called Banthus, also gripped his weapon and fixed his form. The break was now over; they were both gathering their final strength to finish this fight.
“It wasn’t me that defeated these bandits.”
Eve’s gaze averted from Add and returned to the red haired boy. Red haired boy didn’t realize that Eve, Ara and Add were watching him. His gaze was solely focused on the enemy in front of him.
The boy looked tired but he had a smile on his face.
“He said he will defeat them all by himself, and then defeat the boss by himself too.”
Ara and even Add was slightly surprised. That young boy defeated the tens of bandits lying down here? But he clearly looked like he lacks the skills…. How did he?
Eve told them while still staring at the boy.
“He will win.”
Add looked at Eve who continued to stare at the boy.
“He promised he will beat them all.”
“Here I come!!!”
The red haired boy, Elsword charged at Banthus with a shout.
“Bring it on!!”
Responding to Elsword’s charge, Banthus shouted as well and swung his sword down with a
powerful force. With their difference in size, even getting grazed by Banthus’s attack will be fatal for Elsword.
But Elsword continued to charge forwards without any fear of the sword falling above him. The moment when Banthus made a victorious smile…..Elsword changed the beat of his steps and threw himself forwards deeply.
Because of Elsword’s miraculous front roll, Banthus’s sword hit nothing but the ground. His expression now shrouded in fear, Banthus hurriedly tried to pull his sword up and turn around. But Elsword was faster.
With a shout, Elsword’s blade hit the ground; the ground cracked and crimson flames gushed out.
“Uwooh! T, this is? magic?!”
Banthus had expected to defend against a sword attack. He widened his eyes and tried to back up.
But his reaction was too late to completely avoid the attack.
Banthus screamed as his body was roasted by the flames. Then he kneeled on the ground and panted. Elsword also looked very tired because he just performed an overburdening front roll maneuver with a bleeding wound on his shoulder. But he was still clearly standing on his two feet.
It was clear who had won.
“See, I won!”
“Don’t make me laugh. I was just playing around and got caught off guard.”
Clenching his teeth, Banthus tried his best to get up but he no longer had any more strength left to fight. Elsword shook his head in annoyance while leaning his sword against his shoulder.
“Give back the El you stole and reflect on your actions.”
“Do you really think I’ll hand over the El to you guys after all the trouble I went through to get it?”
“Kahaha, it ended up like this today because I was careless. But just you wait next time…. That is of course if there is a next time.”
“Where do you think can run off to? The match is already….”
With Banthus’s shout, something popped out from the forest and charged towards Elsword.
Surprised, Elsword instinctively swung his sword to hit the target.
Elsword was sure he defeated all the other bandits! But… the target wasn’t human. He had first thought it was a Phoru…. But that wasn’t it either.
It was a Nasod.
“What? Why is a Nasod…”
No time to think. He must dodge the Nasod’s attack. Elsword quickly moved out of the way but the Nasod continued to track and charge recklessly at Elsword. This Nasod’s main method of attack was tackling.
Elsword dodged left and right while swinging his sword. But Elsword was too exhausted to deal significant damage to it.
Banthus was using this chance to run away. That coward! I had him beat!
“Stop right there!”
Elsword’s attention diverted to Banthus and the Nasod didn’t miss this opportunity. The Nasod was already in front of Elsword by the time he noticed it charging full speed towards him.
I’m going to get hit!!
“That was pathetic!!”
Just when Elsword shut his eyes to prepare for the upcoming impact, gears suddenly flew in and struck the Nasod multiple times to fling it away from Elsword. The Nasod convulsed and exploded after hitting the ground. After narrowly avoiding the danger, Elsword muttered grudgingly
“I could have beaten it by myself.”
“You would have lost like that.”
Eve, who had just saved Elsword gave her cold evaluation. Elsword was about to protest that he could have won by himself but closed his mouth after seeing Ara and Add come towards them.
Others also saw him getting helped out of danger. It was embarrassing.
“Mr.Elsword, that was impressive! Predicting the enemy’s movement and dodging like that!”
“It was nothing.”
Elsword responded bluntly to Ara’s honest compliments. He had beaten Banthus but couldn’t win against the Nasod that appeared afterwards.
The joy of victory had already left the boy’s heart.
“No, it was really impressive! You’ll become stronger in no time like this!”
“I still have ways to go….”
Ara and Elsword were having this kind of conversation. But Add wasn’t listening.
His attention was solely focused on the Nasod that just attacked Elsword.
Add squinted his eyebrows while picking up the Nasod’s fragments.
“…….What’s this Nasod doing here?”
“It’s a Nasod miner but I’m not sure why it’s here.”
“Strange. A mere bandit commanding a Nasod? That should not be....”
Add was about to say something to Eve but stopped. He had all his Dynamos with him right now.
That was clearly a mistake.
It should have been standard procedure to scout the area for additional enemies whenever a new enemy appeared. He could already feel various presences on other side of those bushes.
Around tens of enemies. They were surrounded.
“Kukukuk, it doesn’t matter. I’ll figure out after destroying them all.”
Eve was already mobilizing her gears. Ara also noticed the situation and fixed her spear. They couldn’t expect anything from Elsword who was already too exhausted.
“Ara, protect the brat.”
“Who’s a brat?! Don’t look down on me!”
“You messing about will just get in our way. Know your place.”
Furious, Elsword tried to get up but he had no strength left to do so. Add didn’t give an eye to Elsword panting in vexation and spoke to Eve.
“What will you do? You can stay with the brat if you want.”
“That’s not for you to decide.”
Judging by her cold response, Eve must have realized Add was making fun of her. But that kind of response made Add even more delighted.
A normal machine, a normal Nasod could only make singular simple decisions. However, Eve clearly had a will of her own.
“Then come with me. Let’s enjoy sweeping through them all. Kukuk.”
Nasods charged towards the group soon as Add declared the start of battle.
Add wasn’t even slightly startled when enemies appeared out of the bushes. He instead increased the output of his Dynamos. A shockwave created from bending and cracking of space swept over the Nasods.
Following Add’s hand gestures and instructions, Dynamos fired a shockwave that destroyed the Nasods. After making short work of 10 Nasods by himself Add looked behind him.
Eve shouted and swung her whip. An explosion engulfed and destroyed all the Nasods in front of her. Ara who was beside Elsword also easily dispatched the Nasods coming up behind her with a swing of her spear.
“This is too boring…”
20 Nasod Miners that just ambushed them were all destroyed before they could even touch anyone.
Add sighed and examined the remains of the Nasod Miners.
“What are you doing?”
“Examination, kukuk. Shouldn’t we figure out why these things were working with the bandits?”
Eve was staring at him repulsively but Add continued to examine the Nasod remains without any concern.
He hasn’t encountered any Nasods from ‘this age’ before but machines all tended to follow a functional structure.
“These don’t have any cogitative abilities. They can only do a simple job, digging to be precise. Thus, they couldn’t have carried out orders unless someone had instructed them…. Not having cogitative abilities should also mean they couldn’t carry out complex orders….”
Add was pondering bunch of possibilities then all of a sudden…. he grinned. The ground was shaking.
“Kukuk. Now this is more like it.”
“It’s a giant enemy.”
Eve must have realized the abnormally too as she moved in besides Add. While staring at Eve’s sides Add abruptly asked.
“Isn’t Nasods destroying other Nasods fratricide?”
“They are currently following wrong orders.”
He had poked a bit to see if Eve would get disturbed but there was no particular reaction. Come to think of it, this machine…. Although she displayed high level of decision making, he had never seen her express any emotions.
“Do you have any emotions?”
“I don’t need something so unnecessary.”
Eve sharply cut off the issue. Add was honestly surprised this time. No way. She can even lie? Add couldn’t even begin to fathom how similar this machine was to a human.
“Let’s stop the small talk here. Something annoying seems to have arrived.”
WRRRRRR!!! They could hear the mixed sounds of caterpillar tracks and rotation of a drill. Pushing through the forest, destroying all the trees in its path was the culprit that had ordered the ambush attack earlier.
It was a Nasod Driller.
Add let out a slight laugh looking at the giant spinning drill. There was no reason to be afraid of such a primitive weapon. Only problem here was that it was commanding bunch of Nasod
“I’ll take care of the drill; you take care of the others.”
“It’s dangerous, I recommend tactical retreat.”
“Stop nagging. Kukuk, There’s no way I’d get beaten by them.”
Add declared arrogantly and moved his Dynamos. Nasod Driller’s drill started to spin more roughly as a response.
Upon Add’s command Dynamos expelled energy to shatter the space and destroyed a portion of the Driller’s body.
Witnessing that their boss was damaged, all the Nasod miners charged at Add.
Eve made copies of her gears and fired them at the miners. But there were too many to filter them all for Add. Add was slightly startled when all the Miners ignored Eve and only charged at him. But Add still managed control his Dynamos in response.
Alternate space opened up around Add and all the Nasods charging at him stopped at once. This ability to unfold alternate space allowed him to restrain his enemies temporarily and attack safely meanwhile.
“Hmph….. Small fries.”
Add had expected them to split up since Eve was here as well. He didn’t expect all of them to focus only on him. Just when Add was about to close the alternate space for his next move, he heard a strange noise.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
The sound was coming from Nasod miners that got close to him earlier but were stopped by Void Field.
A chilling sense of danger ran down Add’s spine as he quickly tried to dodge but it was too late.
Nasod Miners self destructed causing a large explosion!! Not just one but 5 self destructed at once and encased Add with an explosion.
Add could hear Ara raising her voice from far away but didn’t turn around to look. He had managed to fall back and minimize the damage with the Dynamo’s emergency defense mechanism. But the arms he used to cover his face were still hurting.
“Kukuk. I didn’t think they’d be able to self destruct….”
It was a mistake brought on by lack of information. Did they not use self destruct earlier because….they wanted to use it as a trump card?
Just who could have come up with that kind of plan?
That piece of junk spinning its drill loudly came up with this kind of psychological plan? Add couldn’t believe his own conclusion but this wasn’t the time to be indecisive. Nasod miners were attacking again.
The Driller wasn’t standing idly as well. It was periodically shooting spitfire bombs out of its battery towards Add. There were too many things to pay attention to.
He’ll get caught up by self destruction if he took out the miners carelessly! Add was focusing on gaining distance from the miners for now but there were too many.
Eve must have gotten to the same conclusion as Add because she was handling them from a distance as she dashed away and took them out with an explosion from her whip. But there were way more Nasods jumping out of the bushes than the two of them could defeat.
“Just how many are left?”
“I don’t know. We have to retreat!”
Nasod Miners were now numbering roughly over 100. They weren’t much of a problem by
themselves but there was no answer to them if they attacked in such massive numbers.
After destroying two more Nasod miners Add replied sarcastically.
“Retreat? Kukuk to where?”
Eve who had suggested the idea couldn’t respond. They couldn’t flee to town with all of these on their tail. Not only that, unlike humans, Nasods didn’t tire and it would be very disadvantageous for them if it became a long chase.
Suddenly the group of Nasod miners that were attempting to tackle the two of them split into two sides. Nasod driller charged in with its drill facing forwards through the newly created gap.
Busy with dodging miners’ tackles, watching out for self destructions and all the while trying to attack… Add and Eve was occupied with so many things that the Driller’s appearance put them in a desperate situation.
Driller was surprisingly quick despite its huge size. Add quickly got on top of his Dynamos and attempted to dodge by using low flight but…
In a ridiculous turn of events Add and Eve’s bodies collided with one another. It was a disaster that was brought on because both of them were too focused on dodging the Driller’s attack and hadn’t watched out for each other’s trajectory.
Eve who had the smaller stature couldn’t withstand the impact and was thrown off her feet. Nasods didn’t miss this opportunity and all jumped towards Eve.
If their tackle worked that was fine. If Eve resisted they’d just self destruct!
“How dare you!?”
Add instinctively jumped in front of Eve and raised the output of the Dynamos to break the space in front of him. Some of the miners were destroyed to the point where they couldn’t self destruct, but others were only mildly damaged and started to make the countdown noise.
I’ll get swept up by the explosion if I don’t dodge.
But Eve was behind him right now. Without additional thoughts Add put all the Dynamos in front of him and raised their outputs.
He’ll be able to mitigate some of the physical shock using the Dimension Distortion mode.
“Uuugh. How dare they….!”
Boom! Boom! Add shouted as all the Nasod miners self destructed in a chain reaction. The shock was so great that it transferred over from the Dynamo’s barrier and shook his hands.
Other Miners must have thought this was a great opportunity because Add who had been dodging all their attacks was now stopped in one place. Now even normal undamaged Nasods were charging in towards Add and self destructing.
They’ll break though soon!
“Hurry! Get up!”
Eve who had fallen earlier asked as she got up.
“Why didn’t you just leave me and dodge?”
Of course Add didn’t protect Eve from the explosion out of good will.
Eve was the most perfect work amongst all the Nasods he had seen so far. There’s no way he’d let such a masterpiece get damaged.
“Kukuk, why do you care?”
Boom! Boom! The barrier was shaking from the explosions even as two of them talked. They won’t be able to last long judging by how the Dynamo’s output was decreasing rapidly.
Blocking physical shocks wasn’t even Dimension Distortion mode’s main feature in the first place.
Determined, Add looked back at Eve.
“Listen carefully. I’ll stop defending on the count of three. At that moment, use the strongest attack you have to trash them all at once. Can you do it?”
Switching from Dimension Distortion mode into Normal Mode, in other words for him to be able to attack with his Dynamos again it required 1 second of idle time. Leaving 1 second of idle time was too dangerous against these suicidal Nasods at the moment.
Eve replied without any hesitation. Just when Add was about to start the countdown….
Enormous shock that he hadn’t felt before ran through the Dynamos.
Nasod Driller was now drilling into the barrier. It must have judged that self destruction of the miners weren’t enough.
Dimensional Distortion won’t be able to handle an attack stronger than the previous attacks.
“No time. Starting now!”
Add was doubtful if Eve could really be able to take care of all the Nasod Miners and now also the Nasod Driller with a single attack. But he was using all his Dynamos for defense at the moment so he had no choice.
He’ll have to bet on this small chance.
Along with Add’s shout, just when Eve was about to release the power of her gears, a sound of tearing wind sped past across their ears…..and everything went silent.
Nasod Driller’s drill stopped spinning. It was frozen solid.
Not only the Nasod driller, but all the Nasod miners that were trying to throw their bodies to break the Dimension Distortion were all frozen as well. Add couldn’t comprehend this current situation but quickly used this chance and changed from the Distortion mode into Normal Mode.
A cheerful voice came from far away.
“Hey, are you guys hurt?”
A beautiful Elf with green hair was quickly dashing towards them. Tens of Nasods freezing instantly must have been her doing.
But it looked like the duration wasn’t very long because all the ice flew off as the Driller’s drill started to spin again. All the miners were also unfrozen.
Miners must have decided Rena who had fired that freezing arrow just now was a significant threat because all of the Nasod miners started to charge towards Rena. Nasod Driller will face Add and Eve while miners kept Rena at bay.
Add raised his voice without realizing it himself.
“Be careful!! Those things self dest…..”
Pew! Pew! Pew!
Seeing the Nasod miners come towards her, Rena who had been running full speed towards Add and Eve changed her direction and started run sideways. Without slowing down, she fired an arrow with each step she took without a break. Nasod miners fell and got destroyed with each arrow she fired.
Some arrows even pierced through three of them at once. It was like watching leaves get blown away by the wind.
Rena finally stopped running and asked after defeating all of the Nasod miners without letting any of them get close to her.
“Hm? Add? What should I be careful of again?”
“…..You don’t have to.”
Add had known Rena was strong but hadn’t imagined she possessed this much skill. A cold voice came from behind Add as he stood stunned with surprise.
“Move, you’re in the way.”
Eve moved forwards and made a swing with her whip.
Nasod Driller was hesitating due to all the Nasod miners getting defeated so quickly. Eve’s whip was able to wrap around the Driller with ease and hit it directly with chain of explosions.
But its drill was still spinning and judging by how there was a red orb of energy forming in front of it, it was trying to use a new attack.
“Too slow. Void Field!!”
Following behind Eve, Add unfolded the alternate space again. After restraining the target so it couldn’t dodge, Add stretched out his hand towards the Nasod Driller that was still trying to gather up a red energy orb.
“I’m much faster!”
The space in front of Add was shattered when he opened his clenched fist. Nasod Driller that was inside that space got shattered as well. But it didn’t end with just one shattered space. The space near Nasod Driller was shattered multiple times until its body was in tatters. Add declared towards the Nasod Driller that was now unrecognizably broken.
A giant explosion was created.
The fight was over and it was now night time.
El Search Party members decided it was too late to go back to town and prepared to camp outside for the night. Dinner was handled with simple foods they prepared before they left Ruben.
The gang set up a campfire and sat around it. Only Add was sitting away from everyone by himself with his back against a tree.
He had a drill fragment in his hand. Because it had exploded into so many fragments there was nothing that remained relatively intact that could be examined.
Dissatisfied, Add stared at the fragment in his hand. Just what was the meaning of this? Banthus, a mere bandit had a hidden army of Nasod Miners and also a Nasod Driller?
If Banthus had them at his disposal, why didn’t he use them earlier? No, if he had such a huge army why was he still a petty bandit?
Things didn’t make sense and it displeased Add.
As Add was muttering to himself someone who was sitting near the fireplace stood up.
“Is something worrying you?”
Rena asked as she came near. But Add impertinently asked Rena to confirm something.
“Where is that left hand Nasod?”
“If you’re talking about Raven he went to escort the captured bandits to town. It might take some time so we decided to meet up again in Elder.”
“Kukuk, too bad. That left arm was nice to look at.”
Add let out a small laugh. Seeing this, Rena smiled softly.
“Is something worrying you?”
Add hesitated for a moment at the repeated question but showed her the fragment in his hand.
“This is a fragment of that Nasod we fought earlier. Don’t you think it’s strange?”
“What do you mean?”
“The request we got was to retrieve the El that bandit called Banthus stole. But Nasods appeared all of a sudden. How can a mere bandit command Nasods?”
“Hm. I guess you’re right.”
Add frowned upon Rena’s carefree response. Add knew very well that she was much stronger than him but how could she be so easygoing?
But Add changed his evaluation of her after hearing her next words.
“Raven is going to ask about the Nasods when he gets back to Ruben so you shouldn’t have to worry too much.”
“….Kuku, I wasn’t worried. I was just frustrated because it didn’t make sense.”
Raven and Rena must have had the same question as Add and had decided to look into it by themselves. El Search Party was comprised of bizarre individuals but Rena felt the most reliable amongst them.
Not only was her fighting skill was great, but she also had great judgement.
They could talk on the same page. Add felt a bit better.
“Ah, come to think of it you were protecting Eve earlier right?”
“Kukuk, was I? I don’t quite remember.”
Without realizing it himself Add glossed over the question that was abruptly thrown at him. Rena made a helpless smile for a moment then shrugged.
“Eve doesn’t show her expressions too much but she must be thankful to you. Try talking to her later.”
“….You act like you know a lot when you’ve only known her for a day.”
Amongst the El Search Party members, only people that knew each other before they formed were Rena&Raven and Elsword&Eve. For Ara and Add everyone here were new faces.
Thus Rena had only met Eve yesterday. But the way she spoke felt like she knew everything about Eve.
“Girls around that age are complicated. I know you’re interested her but this big sis is gonna to scold you if you tease her too much, got it?”
Rena poked Add’s forehead with her fingertip. Rena was misunderstanding completely but it was tiresome to argue back so Add kept his mouth shut.
Rena smiled and was about to head back to the campfire. She forced Add to promise something before she left.
“Girls will now go wash together. You better not peep. Got it?”
“Kukuk, Why would I do something so useless?”
I’d just do more research If I had such time.
Rena took off with Ara and Eve to go bathe. Raven wasn’t here right now so only Elsword and Add remained.
Add stared silently at Elsword with both hands behind his head. You could see the boy’s
disheartened face across the campfire.
“You’re looking as if the world had just ended.”
Following Add’s gesture a single Dynamo flew in front of Elsword’s nose. Because of the Dynamo abruptly flying in, Elsword who was deep in thought staggered and instinctively grabbed his sword.
“What are you doing? Put it away!”
“Kukuk, are you scared?”
Add laughed as the Dynamo spun in circles around Elsword.
“Are you picking a fight?”
Add retracted the Dynamo when Elsword finally stood up in frustration. Elsword continued to glare at him in anger so Add sighed in response and spoke.
“Kids should act like kids. It’s unsightly to see you sulking like that.”
“I knew from the start you’re a type that speaks out everything on your mind without thinking. But you never said a word since that time so you must be sulking. Kukuk.”
If Rena was here she would have obviously stopped this quarrel. But all the girls had left to bathe.
Even Raven who was oldest amongst the guys was gone.
There were only two of them right now.
“You must have realized how weak you are from today. Give up and go home.”
Elsword clenched his fists and shook in frustration. Add nodded in satisfaction after seeing Elsword’s reaction.
“Kids are fine staying as kids. Just don’t get in the way of those around you.”
Elsword and Eve already knew each other so Elsword could become an obstacle when Add
attempted to obtain Eve later. It would be wise to get rid of him beforehand. That and Add wasn’t too fond of Elsword. In Add’s eyes Elsword was too young and always acted rashly without thinking.
“I’m….weak right now.”
“Hmph, you finally get your place.”
I can finally say goodbye to this eyesore of a brat. While Add was smiling gleefully, Elsword held his sword tightly and shouted.
“That’s why I’ll become stronger! So that I won’t lose to anyone!”
Add was at a loss for words at this unexpected response. But Elsword was already walking away towards the forest. Add asked instinctively.
“It’s already night, where are you going?”
“I’m going to train. Don’t follow me.”
Elsword spoke in a sharp voice and walked off. Well, his pride must be hurting after being directly pointed out how weak he was.
“Tch, things got more annoying….”
Elsword was weak, young and most of all… stubborn. Add couldn’t see how Eve had managed to stick around with this guy.
Add also got up. It was boring alone so he was going to take a walk while thinking about his future plans.
Of course, towards the opposite direction of where Elsword went.
The forest at night was different from the day. One could easily get lost if they weren’t careful. But this didn’t worry Add. He could just send out his Dynamos to do a terrain scan.
“ What should I do now….”
He arrived at ‘this age’ and somehow managed to join a strange group called the El Search Party. He was planning to spend his days quietly while gathering more information about ‘this age’…… but he ended up finding masterful mechanical doll called Eve.
He knew from the moment he saw her. Neither in the past or in the future there never was and will be a Nasod that’s superior to her.
“I want it….”
Add instinctively murmured as he thought of Eve. But he had to admit, it definitely won’t be an easy task. Add’s wish was to dissect Eve’s core and investigate it. Then also find out more about her anatomy…. The main problem was the Core.
For Nasods, the Core was akin to human’s heart. Nasods will go into a state that’s like death if their Core got damaged.
It was obvious Eve would object to Add’s wishes.
Not only that. As Add had witnessed today, Eve’s battle capabilities were rather impressive. Even Add couldn’t easily assure he’d come out victorious. And Elsword will no doubt take Eve’s side…..
“The others are a problem too…”
It would work out if he had Rena and Raven on his side but they didn’t look like people who’d do that. If Add attempted to steal Eve’s Core which was basically her life then tried to dissect her body, those two would obviously try to stop him.
Moreover, the two of them were way stronger than Add. The feat Rena had displayed earlier today was remarkable and it didn’t even feel like she had shown the full extent of her skills.
“I need someone on my side…”
By process of elimination only Ara remains. Should he trick that dense girl into helping him obtain Eve?
Add was dumbfounded by his own thought process but this was the only conclusion he could get considering the situation.
“Well I guess I could use her as bait. Kukuk.”
Anyways, he must obtain Eve.
By obtaining Eve and analysing her, Add will be able to improve his tech. Which in turn will greatly help him achieve his ‘true goal’.
“For now let’s bide for the right time….”
After organizing his thoughts Add was about to bring back his Dynamos to head back. But he stopped. Dynamos were sending him a signal that they had detected a human presence.
“A bandit that’s still hiding…..?”
They should have captured all of the Banthus’s bandits and Raven should have escorted all of them to Ruben. It looked like they had missed one.
“Well fine…. Something useful might come out of this.”
He might be able to find out how Banthus was able to command Nasods by interrogating this bandit. Add started to follow the Dynamo’s signal.
He could hear the sound of river flowing.
Wait a moment! Rena took all the girls with her to take a bath. Add just recalled this fact but the Dynamos were only detecting a single presence.
There’s no way someone would still be bathing alone.
“Kukuk, I’ll figure out when I’m there.”
Unlike the confident way he spoke, Add quietly reduced the sound of his footsteps as he climbed down the hill.
It was extremely unlikely, but he didn’t want there to be any misunderstandings. It was for the future.
It was advantageous for him that these party members trusted him much as possible. It was for the perfect execution of his kidnap Eve scenario! It’s not like he was particularly interested in female body!
Pushing through the branches in his way, Add unconsciously brought up various excuses in his head while climbing down the hill. This was a mistake!
Normally he’d continuously scan the area with Dynamos so this wouldn’t happen. But the rock Add had stepped on as he climbed down was extremely slippery.
His left feet flew into the air. Then as he lost balance his right feet flew into the air as well.
It turned out so that Add had just lunged himself off the cliff. Add was tremendously shocked but quickly manipulated his Dynamos. The immediate danger made it so he couldn’t think clearly…..
Add desperately brought the Dynamos close to him much as possible.
By increasing the Dynamo’s output he could stand on them and levitate. The question was if he could succeed before he crashed into the ground.
“There’s no way that my calculations will fail!!”
Add clenched his teeth and quickly moved his Dynamos. He was able to succeed by leaving 30cm between him and the ground.
Standing on the levitating Dynamos Add let out a sigh of relief. For him to make such a mistake because he was too deep in thought….
“Kukuk, well I came down the hill in one go. It saved some time.”
It wasn’t bad since he used the mistake and turned it into a good result. While Add was reeling himself in from the startling experience, he heard a chilling voice.
“It was a perfect night to bathe alone so I was befriending the moon…… but a boy fell from the sky.”
It was a voice of a girl. Add instinctively swung his Dynamos and turned around. His face stiffened.
The girl standing in the river was naked.
What should he do? He wanted to run away.
“It was a perfect night to bathe alone so I was befriending
the moon…… but a boy fell from the sky.”
She was someone he’d never met before. Add froze in place after seeing naked female body for the first time. Any room for composed thought was gone. Only artistic evaluations popped up in his mind.
It was a very beautiful body. Her breasts looked nice and ripe; her smooth abdomen didn’t have any extra skin. To sum it up it was a well trained body that overflowed with feminine charm.
But those 9 tails, white hair and the blood red eyes looked extremely eerie…..
“You probably meant Ara.”
The girl spoke in a composed manner without trying to hide her body. This should have been an embarrassing situation but Add couldn’t believe his eyes.
The girl in front of him was….. Ara Haan. The same unreliable girl who possessed exceptional spearmanship but had a dense personality.
But this white haired Ara had an oddly disturbing feeling about her. Her personality had changed completely.
“Who are you?”
“Before I explain who I am shouldn’t you do something about this situation? Or do you desire to stare longer?”
White haired Ara spoke while still not bothering to hide her body.
Add’s face reddened after he realized what he was doing. He quickly spun around while putting his hood on tightly and plunged his hands into his pockets.
Ara made an eerie laugh behind him but Add didn’t look back.
‘Just what…. Is that?’
He wasn’t startled because it was the first time he had seen a female’s bare body. No, that actually did startle him quite a bit too! But the more important issue was that this Ara was completely different from Ara during the day. Their faces were same but he couldn’t see two of them as same individuals.
‘Girls change at night? Girls have two faces?’
Add tried to theorize bunch of possibilities but none of them gave him a satisfactory answer. He wondered if the odd sense that something was off whenever he saw Ara could have been this…..
Well, he didn’t know what was going on but he’ll figure it out by interrogating the person in question! After confirming that the sound of splashing water behind him had stopped, Add peeked around his back.
“Why are you still not wearing anything!?”
“I am viewing the moon.”
Still naked, white haired Ara was looking towards the night sky staring at the moon. Sure it was a beautiful full moon….. but-
“….Hurry up and wear something!!”
He saw it again. Add shouted furiously as he hid his reddened face deep inside his hood. Ara laughed in amusement and the sound of moving water was heard.
“Kukuk. Fine…I’ll leave it at that. Since the boy that darkness has gifted me urges me to do so, I should comply.”
Add was aggravated inside but there was nothing he could do. All he could do was pledge to himself that when she wore clothes, soon as she wore clothes there will be no mercy.
“Ah but it is such a waste to not view the stars.”
“Hurry up and get dressed!!”
Add shouted but he couldn’t feel any movement from Ara behind him. Add finally remembered about the Dynamo’s scouting feature and used it. Ara still wasn’t moving from the water.
She must really be viewing the stars.
Was she not embarrassed being naked with a guy in front of her? He couldn’t imagine this was the same Ara who had been embarrassed only because she thought Add had seen her underwear despite the fact that she was wearing shorts.
The questions grew in his head and the time was passing by but there was nothing Add could do. He couldn’t risk looking back Ara’s naked body again so he couldn’t threaten or attack her. There was no choice but to control his temper and wait for Ara to wear clothes again.
Add waited. It felt like he’d become a stone.
It took another 30 minutes for the white haired Ara to get dressed. Add was about to break the silence now that they could talk face to face, But Ara laughed first in a low voice.
She was mocking him.
“Kukuk. Was it your first time seeing a female’s body? You were so embarrassed that you looked like a totally different person from the day.”
Add didn’t answer as he surrounded Ara with his Dynamos. It was so he could get the upper hand.
“What are you?”
“I’m Ara Haan, member of the El Search Party and the girl who teamed up with you during the day.”
“…Don’t lie to me.”
Her face was same as Ara. No, the body was Ara Haan’s but she was a completely a different individual right now. He couldn't explain but he was sure of this fact.
Strange. She felt rather familiar and this made Add uneasy.
“Who are you and what did you do to me?”
“My, this coming from a boy who leapt out at me when I was bathing? Have you been bewitched by my charms? This is troublesome indeed.”
Dynamos started to exert energy in response to Ara’s mischievous retort. He had to know about her identity even if it meant resorting to forceful means.
“Then shall we stop the foolery here?”
White haired Ara stopped smiling and explained with a serious expression.
“This is Ara Haan’s body but as you can see I’m not Ara. I am frost fox Eun who accompanies Ara.”
Girl who revealed herself as Eun waved her 9 tails as if to show Add.
“You can call me either sacred beast or a spectre. It doesn’t matter which one. Anyways, I have been lending Ara my strength from time to time. This form is called the Celestial Fox mode.”
“….Did a demon take over her body?”
Add finally understood the situation. It seemed like this suspicious being was controlling the dense girl’s body however it wanted.
“No, while I do often get misunderstood for that and that I could actually take over if I wanted, I normally only lend my powers and do not dominate the body. Ara specially lent her body to me today.”
He couldn’t trust everything Eun said but Add now understood the situation and withdrew his Dynamos.
Was it called possession? It clearly looked like Ara was meddling with something dangerous but that was Ara Haan’s business.
“What were you doing borrowing her body?”
It didn’t really matter to Add but she might turn out to be a hindrance to him later on. He had to know of her intents.
“Bathing. Even if it wasn’t with my own body, I wanted to try it personally. So Ara kindly distanced herself from the other two for me. Then the boy appeared.”
So even that empty headed Ara had such a surprising secret. Although mere possession was nothing compared to Add’s secret.
“I’ll say it right now; it doesn’t matter if you reveal this to the others. So it’s useless trying to use this information as a threat.”
“…..I didn’t think about that.”
Before, Add had planned to get Ara on his side when he attempted to steal Eve’s core. But things become completely different if this weird thing is with her. This fox called Eun felt elderly and overflowed with composure. She wasn’t someone that could be taken lightly.
“Well then let’s just go….”
Add was about to suggest to Eun that she should give Ara back her body so they could return to the camp. But Add shut his mouth abruptly.
Eun was staring at him with an extremely mournful gaze.
Gaze so sad that you couldn’t imagine it was coming from a face that was joking and seriously introducing herself a moment ago.
With her voice deep in remorse,
“I’ll lend you my strength.”
She declared lopsidedly.
Add was overcome for a moment by the heart wrenching expression that Eun just showed him. He shook his head in order to come back to his senses. He didn’t know what kind of trick she used but he couldn’t let her push him around.
But as if she could see through Add’s thoughts.
“So that you can obtain Eve in your hands”
Eun made a proposal that Add definitely couldn’t refuse.