There was a girl waiting at the doorstep of a building in the forest. Astrid, the girl who had been waiting, kept repeating the actions of looking afar and turning back disappointedly.
“What takes Aurora and the others so long...Did they…”
Astrid shook her head to reject all negative thoughts inside her head.
“Impossible! Aurora is the most experienced combatant. There’s no way that she would lose!”
At this moment, rustles sounded from the forest entrance. Turning around, Astrid saw the returning of an army led by a clean, egoistic lady. She was also the master of all earthlings——Shamash the Eldus.
Dozens earthlings were following behind Shamash. In contrast to her neatness, all of them were ragged with injuries.
Astried’s effort in searching Aurora went in vain, but she found another familiar presence——Schnauzer the earthling. As soon as Astrid saw Schnauzer, she went over and grabbed her arm.
“Schnauzer, so happy to see you here. Where’s Aurora?”
Remaining silent, Schnauzer’s exhausted face became gloomy. Astrid sensed something wrong, but she refused to believe it.
“Hey, Schnauzer, stop joking with me. Just tell me...Right. She must be wandering somewhere else again,” said Astrid with a forced smile.
Schnauzer tried to speak the truth, but the words were stuck in her tongue.
“Please...Tell me that Aurora is alright…” Astrid sobbed, shaking Schnauzer’s shoulders desperately.
“I’m sorry...Astrid...Aurora is...gone…” Schnauzer finally spilled out the truth.
“No...No way...Impossible!” Astrid cried in hysteria, “she’s the strongest earthling! How come she died...I need to see her!”
“Aurora...Her body fell apart and decomposed into dust after the battle...Nothing has left…”
“Nonsense...Aurora died without leaving a body...This doesn’t make sense at all!”
With her body trembling, Astrid burst into tears when she finally admitted the fact.
Unable to contain the grief, the weeping Schnauzer held Astrid tight to comfort her.
“It was hard for me to believe, but she crumbled in my arms and I couldn’t save her!”
“NO! NO! I CAN’T EVEN SAY GOODBYE TO HER!”
Shaking her head, Astrid was utterly crushed by Schnauzer’s words. She could do nothing but wail until her body was exhausted and passed out.
Regaining her consciousness, Astrid found herself in the medic station. Although she was still heartbroken and devastated, she realized that Aurora’s death was irreversible.
“Aurora...Although she has no remains, I can at least have her stuff.”
Astrid left the medic station. By asking the slave earthlings in the hallway, she found out that all Aurora’s belongings were sent to the 10th storeroom on the third floor.
“Eighth, ninth, tenth...Here it is.”
There were a lot of things placed on the shelf, but it only took Astrid one glance to spot what she had come for——Aurora’s battle gloves.
When she held the gloves into her arms, she picked up a familiar scent, reminding her of the good times with Aurora.
“Aurora…” Astrid wept.
“Shamash, can't you treat them carefully? You’re driving me crazy,” said a male voice outside the room.
“This voice...Sir Kingu?” The curious Astrid peeped through the door. “Lady Shamash is here too...This is weird. What are they doing at the storage?”
“Humph. Stop pretending that you’re not enjoying it,” said Shamash, who signalled Kingu to move with her arms crossed. “Stop wasting time and move that up.”
Kingu the male Eldus heaved a sigh with an exaggerated body gesture. Then he carried a lengthy thing wrapped in a white cloth upstairs. Soon the two left after dropping it off.
Driven by curiosity, Astrid went to the fourth floor, where the whole area was sealed by wooden bars. The place was slightly illuminated by the light from downstairs, but it wasn’t a problem for Astrid, for she was a well-trained reckon. A lot of objects wrapped by white clothes were laid on the floor.
“What are these…”
The moment Astrid unveiled the cloth, she was jumped to stumble by what she saw.
“It’s an earthling...And dried cracks are all over his body...So these are all earthlings here...”
“Wheeze...” Those unidentifiable bodies were still breathing weakly.
“These earthlings are still alive! Wait! Someone’s coming!”
Astrid hid as someone was near.
The footsteps stopped for a female calling.
“Enlil, what are you doing here...Kingu must have told you,” said Shamash.
“It’s too tragic to leave those dying earthlings here. Please, stop enhancing earthlings’ strength with spells.”
“Impossible. Without the spells, they’re nothing but trash.”
“But they have to exchange power with their lives!” Enlil yelled. “Their bodies can only withstand twenty five to fifty power-ups! Once they’re overloaded, their bodies will fall apart!”
“What! Is that the reason for Aurora’s death...Darn it! Darn it!”
Rage erupted in Astrid’s mind, but she couldn’t make a sound. Once she exposed her presence, Shamash would definitely kill her to keep her mouth shut for good.
“I can’t die here...I need to tell this to Schnauzer!”
Astrid bit her wrist hard to bleed in order to stop herself from making any sound.
“...Your mind must be clouded by those exhausting research. If not, why would you question the decision of the venture leader just because of those worthless earthlings?” Shamash implied a rage warning to Enlil.
“...Em...I must be tired…”
“Then let me walk you back to your room. Take some time off to cool down your mind,” said Shamash in a much peaceful tone.
As their footsteps diminished, Astrid’s tightened nerves finally eased.
“Phew...Great. I better leave this place now,” Astrid thought as she fled the fourth floor.
However, the eased Astrid didn’t notice that Enlil was smiling wickedly at her...