chapter19

Floor 1 Demons’ Intention


Cang Bi, Leonard and Zack didn’t spend too much time on the grief as they still had a lot to follow up. Rescuing the trapped earthlings, treating the injured earthlings and burying the dead had contributed to their exhaustion. After settling the scene, Leonard could finally take a break and came to the newly built graveyard.


Leonard: Astrid...Elpis...Everyone…


Cang Bi: Leonard, are you alright?


Turning around, Leonard saw Cang Bi coming over with the baby and a worried gaze. Leonard shook his head and spoke.


Leonard: Is Zack alright? He’s wounded badly.


Cang Bi: He’s been dealt with. He should be sleeping now...Leonard, what’s your plan next? This place is no longer suitable for living anymore. Maybe you can come to the Runedragon’s habitat with me.


Leonard: I…


Just when Leonard was about to answer, Saint came over. Looking over, Cang Bi felt a great sense of trust-worthiness as soon as he met Saint’s gaze.


Cang Bi: “I figured. He has the kind of great love that cares about everything in his eyes, just like Pompeii.”


Saint felt sorry for interrupting Leonard and Cang Bi’s conversations.


Saint: I’m sorry to cut in. May I ask who Leonard is?


Leonard: ...That’s me. I wonder what I can serve you, Mr. Superior Eldus.


Cang Bi: Leonard, don’t be rude. It’s not his fault after all.


Saint: No, it is. It’s our fault that we didn’t realize who Enlil was sooner and let her incite Shamash...But it’s not the time to blame ourselves, for they’re not done with us yet.


Cang Bi: What do you mean?


Saint: Enlil...No. North the demon is not gonna give up. She’ll return for the baby very soon.


Leonard: Why would she?


Saint: It’s because of the power residing in the baby——the power of destruction that comes from the origin of all things. The power was supposed to be hers, but now it’s in the baby.


Cang Bi: ...What would happen if she takes the power back?


Saint: She’s gonna use the power to destroy Pompeii the Machina’s seal and awaken the source of destruction that lies underground. By then, this world will be doomed...That’s why I’m here to request earnestly. Please join us the Eldus in defeating those demons.


Leonard: I can’t make the decision for the others…


With his palms on Leonard’s shoulders, Saint gave him an encouraging smile.


Saint: Leonard, please don’t underestimate yourself. You’re more trusted by your fellows than you imagined. As long as it’s your decision, they’d love to listen.


Leonard felt complicated when he was looking at Saint, who made him want to put his faith into him in spite of his status as an Eldus.


Leonard: ...I understand. We the earthlings will have your back until they are defeated.



Floor 2 Reason for the Seal


  Leonard and Saint had entered into a cooperation on behalf of the earthlings and the Eldus. Relieved, Leonard was perplexed when he saw the frown on Cang Bi’s face.


Leonard: What’s with that frown? You’re not good at thinking. Don’t keep it to yourself.


Cang Bi: I ain’t stupid!


Leonard: When did I say that you’re stupid? Don’t frame me!


Saint: Haha, look at you two...If Cang Bi doesn’t mind, I can share your trouble.


Cang Bi: ...I don’t get it. Pompeii spent so much effort to convince everyone in liberating Monesis, but now you said it’d be catastrophic to free the force underground. It seems to be a paradox…


???: Because there are two forces hidden underground.


  Cang Bi looked over as a male voice spoke. What he saw was shocking to almost make him drop the baby. Luckily, Leonard reacted fast enough to support. Then Cang Bi gave the baby to Leonard and went over to take a clearer look.


Cang Bi: Schrödinger!


Cang Bi: W-W-Why are you here! I thought you were locked inside the Mech City!


Schrödinger: ...Sigh. I can’t believe this is your first reaction when you see me…


Cang Bi: No! I’m not...I-I-I’m just too happy…


Schrödinger: Of course I know. I was just joking with you. I had already set off to the base of Eldus when Shamash was invading the Mech City. That’s how I dodge the bullet.


Saint: Are you...Schrödinger the machina?


Schrödinger: Yes. How do you know me?


Saint: Ninhursag told me about you. You’re the sage of the machinas who tried to seek peace with Shamash.


Schrödinger: I ain’t that great. I was on Pompeii’s instructions only.


Saint: Well...Could you please explain what you’ve said? What do you mean by the two forces underground?


Schrödinger: It’s the literal meaning. I sensed two opposite forces hidden underground when I was born, and Monesis the positive force created us the machinas. In the meantime, it was suppressing the negative force hiding even deeper, which is the power of destruction Saint was talking about.


Schrödinger: Yet the negative force is growing stronger to the point that it starts repelling with Monesis, making Monesis unstable. That’s why Pompeii wished to liberate Monesis from that dark force.

Saint: If that’s the truth, why don’t you let Shamash take Monesis away?


  Schrödinger shook his head grimly.


Schrödinger: If Monesis is completely detached from the negative force, that dark power will arise and destroy all lives in the universe. So Monesis can’t leave this continent.


Schrödinger: Shamash’s invasion has stimulated the negative force and worsened Monesis’s situation. For the greater good, Pompeii had no choice but to seal Monesis underground, and let the wills of machinas become an reinforcement for Monesis to suppress that unsettling destructive force.


  What Schrödinger had said made everyone silent, for the truth was too heavy to bear. Among them, Saint had the deepest resonance towards it.


Saint: “Pompeii the machina...How selfless he is to carry such a heavy responsibility. If I were him, could I ever do it? Sacrificing an entire race for the greater good…”


Cang Bi: Sigh. Schrödinger, you’re still the same, talking stuff that is hard to comprehend. Just don’t let those demons awaken the destructive power, right?


Leonard: ...Cang Bi, you’re beyond help.


Cang Bi: ...What do you mean?


Schrödinger: Ahaha, no. Cang Bi is right. Let’s not think too much. Just don’t let them win.


Saint: Right, but no need to rush too. I’ve already chanted a protection around the perimeter. We’re safe as long as we stay inside the protection. Let’s get well before we plan anything further. Ishtar.


Saint called the female Eldus standing nearby, who appeared to be in a trance and couldn’t hear him. She didn’t respond until Saint went over and tapped her shoulder.


Ishtar: Saint, what’s the matter?


Saint: Please take everyone to rest.


Ishtar: Understood. Please follow my lead.



Floor 3 A Deal with Alien


For the next two weeks, all the injured earthlings and Eldus were resting properly under Saint’s protective encirclement. As for Saint, who had been restless to deal with all sorts of things, could finally get some rest tonight.


Saint was sleepless because of the tightened nerves, so he decided to take a walk. Arriving at the higher ground, there were ruins and broken buildings all around him, which reminded him of the demons’ invasion against his home planet Akkad.


Saint: “When did everything go wrong? I had a deal with it…”


Saint walked down the memory lane, all the way back to his first conversation with North the demon...

It started with a clash between the demons and the Eldus when the demons were feasting on the vitality of a planet. North was captured by the Eldus, who brought it back to their home planet.


Saint came to the treatment room and once again marveled at this colossal yet indescribable alien figure——a broken flesh body which was entangled, destroyed and split by trees and minerals, occasionally oozed with thick slurry that gave off a strange smell.


As if sensing Saint's attention, the colossal alien awakened. At first it was extremely alert, but under Saint's sincere and infectious persuasion, it quickly put down its guard.


Saint: So in order to go to the place of birth, your kind needs to absorb the power of the planets to gain sufficient energy to make it possible?


Saint, sitting cross-legged on the table, rubbed his chin with two fingers. Very soon, he lifted his head up and talked to North.


Saint: Perhaps we can help!


North: Em? Do you...know what you're talking about?


Saint: Yes of course. I haven't done talking yet. We Eldus can help you back to the place of birth, provided that you aliens promise not to absorb the vitality of the planets anymore.


North: Can you really help us?


Saint: Not sure. But I'll try my best. So I'm also counting on you to persuade your fellows to accept this offer.


North: I persuade… I can't do it...They won't listen to me.


Saint: ...Aren’t you their fellow too?


North: No one treats me as one of them except for Laplace because I'm too weak...Look at my body. I look like a freak all because I can't control my power…


Saint: I'll help you sort this thing out. I'll help you control your power and transform successfully.

North: ...Why will you do that for me? For such an irrelevant alien…


Saint: It's not irrelevant at all. We're blessed and living under the same universe. That's already a good reason to help. North, my fellow, I'll be here to protect you as long as it is what you wish for.


The selflessness of Saint gave a hard blow to North’s depressed world. In fact, the special charisma of Saint had the ability to influence every life he met. However, Saint’s next home-coming was greeted by ruins and dead bodies.


North was responsible for this massacre and destruction. To stop the tragedy, Saint battled North, which ended with North’s defeat and imprisonment.



Floor 4 Protection-overriding Dream


Saint: Stars of the universe, truth of all, please enlighten my path to stop North from destruction...Hmm? The stars are twinkling...He’s warning me…


The stars on the dark sky were blinking repeatedly. Sensing the incoming threat, Saint chanted a protective spell for himself. Next second, an intense aroma filled the whole Eldus base. Saint, gazing from the window, saw all earthlings and Eldus fall down right after picking up the smell.


Saint went down to check on the unconscious earthlings and Eldus immediately.


Saint: Phew...Great. Everyone’s fine except they’re asleep...Hmm? There’s a rotten aura…


Looking over to the source of power, Saint saw a coming figure——Ishtar the female Eldus with the baby in her arms.


Saint: Ishtar, good to see you——Mmm!


Saint let his guard down as he approached, but the answer to his greeting was an unexpected close-range attack. Crack! The protective spell Saint had chanted earlier was counteracted. Next second, a bewitching aroma drilled into his nose, hijacking his consciousness.


Saint: “She...must be controlled by her dream...They use dreams to bypass my protective encirclement…”

Saint: Ishtar...Wake...Mmm!


Saint tried to raise his arm and wake Ishtar up with a spell, but the drowsiness was more powerful than he had expected, which consumed his consciousness before long. Lying down powerlessly, he watched Ishtar leave with the baby…


Hypnos witnessed everything, but all he did was watch silently. The whole base was shrouded in purple haze, as if the place was occupied by an eternal nightfall.


Hypnos: Sleep. Stay restrained by the unreal joy and sink deep into the good dreams.

chapter19