Floor 1 Repeated Throes
Enkidu: Elpis, don’t be scared. I’m here.
Elpis: It hurts...Ah!
At the tranquil lakeside, Elpis had her fingers dug deep into the soil while moaning in pain, sweating all over her body for the throes. Meanwhile, Enkidu tried to give mental support by rubbing her stomach. At this moment, Cang Bi spoke as he couldn’t stand to watch such suffering anymore.
Cang Bi: Enkidu, she seems in agony. Will she be alright?
Enkidu: ...Her throes are getting more and more frequent. According to the research I’ve read before, she’s going to labour very soon!
Cang Bi: Labour? Does it mean the life inside her is coming out? Then...how it gets done? And what should we do?
Enkidu: I...don’t know. Our clan has stopped using the traditional reproducing method...Right. You Runedragons know a lot, and I believe you know what to do.
Cang Bi: Nonsense! We’re born from eggs. Why would we know!
Enkidu: Tut! Useless…
Cang Bi: Huh? What did you just say?
Cang Bi: Ugh. Now that both of us have no idea, what should we do next?
While Cang Bi and Enkidu were clueless, Elpis, regaining consciousness from the throes, grabbed Enkidu’s arm and muttered.
Elpis: Carry...me...into the lake…
Enkidu: Lake? I remember. The book said that the gravity in water can help the laboring...Cang Bi, help me to carry Elpis.
Cang Bi: Huh? Oh, okay…
Floor 2 Born in Blessing
The throes occurred again soon after Enkidu and Cang Bi carrying Elpis into the lake, with even tormenting pain. Her innocent face became utterly pale as she screamed, but she managed to withstand the painful torture——
The loud crying of the newborn spread to the whole lake, bringing delight to this disastrous and chaotic land. At this moment, Enkidu carried this fragile life carefully, feeling the warmth of this tiny soft body.
Enkidu: “This is...the life Elpis and I made together...The miracle that connects the past and the future…”
The enlightenment hit Enkidu deep into the soul, turning his emotional flatline into huge waves. The excessive sentiments made him teary, which was his first time crying ever since he had memories. Tears rolled down nonstop from his eyes, resembling the overwhelming touching in his heart.
Elpis: Enkidu, what’s wrong? Did you get hurt?
The anxious Elpis got up to ask about Enkidu’s well-being, but she was being held into his arms before figuring everything out.
Enkidu: T-Thank you...Elpis...Thank you…
Elpis: Enkidu is strange. I should be the one thanking you…
Elpis couldn’t help but burst into tears while she was speaking, holding Enkidu tight in return. Despite being a mother, she was still pure and true in nature. It’d be tremendously stressful for such an innocent one to face Enlil and the rest of the Eldus alone.
Cang Bi: “They love and protect each other like a pair of Souliades…”
The interactions between Enkidu’s family reminded Cang Bi of his inborn flaw. Yet he was no longer frustrated about it, for he had fellows to make him feel completed.
Cang Bi: “Pompeii...Bahamut...I won’t fail you. I’m going to defeat those Eldus, save Leonard as well as the rest of the creatures and make this land peaceful again!”
Floor 3 Not Hollow Anymore
Cang Bi: Enkidu, we——
Enkidu: No need to speak it out. I understand.
After settling Elpis, Enkidu put the baby next to her and sat behind her. While he was stroking her hair, the look on his face became stern, for he didn’t need Cang Bi’s reminder to know that the rebel earthlings were in grave danger.
Enkidu: “We should go back and save them as soon as possible, but...Elpis…”
At this moment, Elpis held his hand and gave him a gentle smile as if she felt his hesitation.
Elpis: Enkidu, don’t worry about me. Please go save Leonard and the others. If it wasn’t for them, our child wouldn’t have been born safely.
Enkidu: But you’re still weak. What if you run into those eldus or beasts after we leave?
Cang Bi: “Enkidu is right. The Eldus are still searching for Elpis. She’ll get caught once spotted. If there is someone who can guard her for us...Right!”
Cang Bi: I have an idea!
Cang Bi ran to the forest promptly after saying “I’ll be right back”, who must stay in human form to avoid any attention. Meanwhile, Enkidu, who was perplexed by Cang Bi’s action, had no choice but to wait.
During the wait, Enkidu looked after Elpis and cleaned the baby. Still, he remained alert for any incoming enemies. When the bushes rustled, he stood in front of Elpis right away and prepared to attack——
???: W-Wait! It’s me, Cang Bi! Don’t attack!
Enkidu: ...Who’s the one next to you?
Before Cang Bi spoke, Elpis shouted in surprise one step faster.
Elpis: Zack! But I thought...you were…
Zack: Leonard saved me. I’ve been hiding in the wild and investigating the Eldus.
Elpis: This is great! Valanthe will be thrilled if she knows you’re alive!
Zack: “But will I ever see her again...It’s not the time to think about it.”
Staring at Enkidu, the only Eldus at the scene, Zack asked Cang Bi in a low voice.
Zack: Cang Bi, I can’t get in touch with Leonard and the others. Tell me what happened.
Floor 4 Extraction Plan
Zack’s heart sank as soon as Cang Bi told him about Leonard’s uprising, for he knew Enlil’s cruelty better than anyone.
Zack: Leonard and the others are in grave danger. We gotta save them as soon as possible.
Cang Bi: Yes. That’s what Enkidu and I are planning, but he’s worried about Elpis and the baby. So we seek protection from you.
Zack: ...But what’s your plan to save them? As long as that fear-controlling spell exists, we can never be freed from Enlil.
Enkidu: I can undo that.
Cang Bi: Really? But that Eldus called Kingu said not even he can undo the spell after Enlil’s enhancement…
Enkidu: The basic structure of the spell remains the same no matter what Shamash and Enlil altered. And its basic structure is created by me——Hmm!
Cang Bi: Elpis, don’t move!
Rage erupted, Zack charged over and pulled Enkidu’s collar.
Zack: Why did you create such a malicious spell? Are you trying to prove the superiority of your kind? You’re no better than any other Eldus who treat us earthlings nothing but tools!
Enkidu: ...You’re right. At first, I treated you all as tools like the others, but it’s different now. I know better than anyone that you earthlings are creatures with souls and minds. You’re humans, the kind of creature we Eldus used to be.
The fearless Enkidu looked into Zack’s eyes with his lucid gaze, convincing Zack with his honesty. Then Zack let go of the grip and muttered in a trance.
Zack: ...Humans...Right. We’re not dolls that can be replaced anytime, but unique individuals as humans.
Enkidu: We don’t deserve your forgiveness no matter how many times we apologize for what we’ve done, but please at least let me help this time. I need to liberate all of you!
Zack: ...Can I trust you, Eldus?...
Cang Bi: Of course you can!
Zack: Cang Bi…
Cang Bi: All lives are somehow interconnected. Even for different species, we’re all living in this cycle. So just take a leap of faith! Believe in the connections between us!
Cang Bi: “Just like how I believe in Pompeii!”
Zack: ...Believe...Leave Elpis and the baby to me. I’ll protect them at all cost. And I’ll...leave Leonard and the others to you.
That short answer from Enkidu contained his unshakable determination. Before long, Cang Bi and Enkidu had their belongings ready to set off.
Elpis: Here. Say goodbye to daddy.
The baby stared at Enkidu quietly as if he was trying to remember every detail of his face. Meanwhile, Enkidu stroked his face with his finger and kissed his tiny hand. He then set off with Cang Bi after the farewell, but he didn’t know that this was his last time to hold that tiny hand…