Floor 1 Fragile and Resillience
After Enkidu and Cang Bi’s departure, the baby started crying as if he felt lonely. Stunned at first, a gut feeling appeared in Elpis’s mind, connecting with her child.
Elpis: Zack, can you turn away for a while?
At Elpis’s request, Zack went to a tree away from her. Still, he remained alert for any possible raid. Meanwhile, Elpis took off her clothes to feed the baby, who was pacified as soon as he got the milk.
No one had ever taught Elpis breast-feeding, but she did it naturally out of the mother instinct. Very soon, the baby fell asleep in satisfaction.
Elpis: Zack, you can come back now.
Zack did what Elpis had said, but his pace stopped when he saw the sleeping baby.
Zack: ...Is he alright?
Elpis: Yes. He’s healthy with a good appetite.
Looking at the baby, Zack gave a rarely seen smile. At this moment, Elpis had an idea in her mind, who was still pure and true in spite of being a mother.
Elpis: If you like him that much...why don’t you hold him for a while?
Zack stepped back immediately and rejected Elpis’s offer in a panic.
Zack: I’m...clumsy. I might hurt him.
Elpis: Sigh. This is so you, treating everything you like as something fragile. Even Valanthe——
Zack: No! I don’t think Valanthe is fragile!
Zack cleared his throat awkwardly as he noticed his agitated attitude.
Zack: I just...don’t deserve to stand next to her. Besides, I’m just a tool to feed her needs——Whoa!
Standing up, Elpis pinched Zack’s cheek like a provoked puffy hamster.
Elpis: How can you say such a thing when Valanthe loves you so much! Zack you’re such an idiot!
Floor 2 Top Combatant
Zack was shocked by Elpis’s words. Her anger couldn’t be sustained as she saw the ignorant look on him, letting go of the pinch reluctantly.
Elpis: You really can’t feel it, can you?
Zack: This...How’s this possible? Why would Valanthe like a normal earthling like me…
Elpis: You——Humph. You men are all the same. Stop going down the rabbit hole! If Valanthe doesn’t love you, she wouldn’t have done it back then!
Elpis: Umm...That time! When...Valanthe and you were...making babies!
Blushing on the cheeks, Elpis was embarrassed to recall the memory, for she had asked Valanthe to teach her without knowing the meaning of intimacy.
Affected by Elpis’s shyness, Zack became uncomfortable too.
Zack: Oh, that...What did she do exactly?
Elpis: She blocked my sight with her body the whole time, so that I could only see her. Doesn’t such possessive behavior prove that she loves you?
Zack: Valanthe...I thought I was the only one who wanted to possess. I didn’t know that we actually share the same thought...But what now? I don’t even know if I’ll ever see her again——
Elpis: You will! Enkidu will save all of us, and we’ll be able to live freely!
Elpis gave a bright grin, radiating hope from her gaze. Her positivity profoundly influenced Zack.
True. Although Elpis seemed vulnerable, she was the best among the combat division, for she had the will more resilient than anyone and the most positive mind. Even when the battle situation was worse, she could still cheer everyone up and seek for a better strategy to turn the tide.
Elpis: Remember to speak your thoughts out when you meet her again!
Zack: I will.
Baby: WAH! WAH!
Elpis: Oh! Are we talking too loud?
Elpis was too focused on her baby to sense the unusual ambience in the air, but not Zack. His specialty in stealth made him catch the slight hint of creepy twist.
Zack: “Elpis is in danger!”
Floor 3 Resisting Mind
Zack pushed Elpis away as soon as he sensed the lurking threat. When he turned around and defended himself with both arms, he realized that it wasn’t something aggressive. Instead, a swift shade jumped out of the bushes.
The shade moved quickly like a ghost. Then it jumped into Zack’s shadow.
Zack: “That shade is...gone...What just happened?”
???: “What happened was that my shadow just blended into yours.”
Zack: “What——I can’t move...Hmm!”
Elpis: Zack! What’s wrong?
Zack became stiff with a hostile look on his face. The worried Elpis attempted to go over, but Zack stepped back while stuttering a warning.
???: Well well well. How surprising. I didn’t expect that you could resist my control.
The culprit——Rlim the ancient demon had his upper body crawled out of Zack’s shadow. Then he climbed on Zack with his pale arms, who had no choice but let Rlim touch his body.
Rlim: How come a produced tool has such a tough will? Aw, this is fun. Let’s see if my power or your mind will prevail.
As Rlim conjured his power, the shadow on the ground became three-dimensional, corrupting Zack slowly.
Zack: Leave me! Take the baby and run!
Urged by Zack, Elpis took the baby and ran towards the forest. Yet she was still weak from the childbirth, which dragged her speed down gradually.
Elpis: “He’ll eventually get me…”
Elpis looked at her baby in her arms, who was sleeping peacefully after an exhausting crying. His calm face made her smile.
Elpis: “At least I must protect my baby...I’m the shade’s target. I just have to be the bait…”
Elpis put the baby in a hidden treehole and left a mark. Then she ran towards the perimeter of the forest. When she arrived at a cliff next to the sea, the puppeteered Zack showed up.
Elpis: Zack! Wake up!
Rlim: It’s useless. He’s engulfed by my shade. Go. Kill her for me.
Floor 4 Taken Newborn
Under Rlim’s command, Zack wielded his Dark element-coated curve blade, coming after Elpis like a rattlesnake. Elpis bent down to dodge one, but she was deeply caught in the battle as the attacks were coming one by one.
Clank! Elpis blocked the hit with her dagger, but the exhaustion made her unable to stand firm. Taken down by the momentum, she sat on the edge of the cliff, while her hair was messed up by the breeze.
Rlim: Hehe. Let’s give her the killshot, my new puppet.
Going over, the puppeteered Zack raised his blade to stab Elpis——
Zack: “I-I can’t! I...promised them...to protect her and the baby...at all cost!”
Bending down to reduce their distance, Zack thrusted the blade into Elpis’s chest. Next second, blood splashed to everywhere, and Zack kept exerting force to push her off the cliff——
With a hard push, Elpis was pushed off the cliff, falling all the way into the sea.
Rlim: And done. Her order is completed...with this earthling as a bonus gift. He’s so much stronger than the earthlings I controlled before. If I make a good use of him…
With a satisfied grin, Rlim controlled Zack to go back to the Eldus’s base. On the way back, a sound caught his attention.
Rlim: What was that?
The loud cry caught Rlim’s attention, who controlled Zack to search for the source. They found it very soon——a baby inside a tree hole.
Rlim: This is...the offspring reproduced by an Eldus and that earthling…
Rlim: “This thing is interesting...Extremely vulnerable but still crying for survival...Well, that Eldus only told me to kill that earthling. Let me keep this thing as my toy.”
However, the delighted Rlim didn’t know that Elpis was actually still alive.
Crashing into the sea, Elpis spent every bit of her strength to swim, and she managed to survive by landing on the shore underneath. While she was gasping, she looked down at her unwounded chest.
Elpis: “Zack saved me…”
Back then, Zack had faked the hit by stabbing the blade into his arm, fooling Rlim about Elpis’s death. At this moment, Elpis got back on her feet and ran at a staggering pace.
Elpis: It’s not the time to rest. I need to find Enkidu and Cang Bi as soon as possible and save Zack!