chapter21

Floor 1 Rescue the Baby


Leonard: Everyone wake up...Oh! Where’s Zack? He’s waving at us. Cang Bi, let’s go over.


With Leonard’s instruction, Cang Bi landed in front of Zack, who was in drowsiness and perplexion.


Zack: Leonard, Cang Bi, what happened? I fell asleep after smelling an aroma.


Leonard: Here’s the thing…


Leonard and Cang Bi filled Zack in, whose facial expression went stern gradually.


Zack: Can’t believe it happened...The baby is our top priority now.


Leonard: But we don’t know where the baby is…


Cang Bi: It’s useless to just stand here. Let me search around in my dragon form——


???: No need. I know where the baby is.


Saint came over with an exhausted look on his decent face, who was seemingly recovering from the dreams.


Saint: I was worried about the baby’s safety earlier, so I’ve chanted a spell on him. With that spell, I can track him down.


Leonard: Then let not waste anymore time. Zack, take care of everyone. Cang Bi, Saint, let’s set off!


In the sky, there was a dragon flying with two men on its body. The white-haired man pointed at the north where the land was occupied by a massive amount of metal pipes. Those pipes, rusted, were spreading the scent of death and corruption.


Saint: Right over there. The baby is heading to that place.


Cang Bi: That was...the entrance of Mech City...But now…


Leonard: Cang Bi, are you alright?


Cang Bi: Yes. Let’s head over there quickly. We must save Elpis’s son!


As Cang Bi sped up, they arrived at the proximity very soon, and Saint spotted a familiar figure down the surface——Ishtar the Eldus.


Saint: Over there.


Cang Bi: Alright. Let me——Hmm!


Just when Cang Bi was about to fly over, it got hit from behind, falling down to the land. The shock also threw Leonard and Saint onto the ground.


Lloigor: Hahaha! Excellent! I hit it!


Zhar: What? That’s not you! It’s my credit!


Shudde: You two shut the hell up!


The three demons who had attacked earlier showed up again, surrounding Cang Bi, Leonard and Saint.

Leonard: “Humph! We got cornered. We won’t be able to save the baby if we don’t do something...Gotta act before they do!”


Leonard raised his rifle to shoot the entrance of Mech City, forcing Shudde to dodge. Then a breach was opened.


Leonard: Saint! Go!


Saint: ...Be careful.


Saint left the confrontation though the breach created by Leonard to pursue Ishtar.



Floor 2 Ishtar the Outsider


Saint: Ishtar! Wake up!


Saint kept shouting while chasing behind, but Ishtar remained walking without a response.


Saint: “I have no choice. This might be a bit rude, but let’s block her way first.”


Elements gathered on his fingertip as Saint chanted a spell. Waving his arm at Ishtar, he crushed the rock ahead of her to create a landslide, which successfully blocked Ishtar’s way. In the meanwhile, Saint made a speed boost with a spell, allowing him to catch up with Ishtar.


Saint grabbed Ishtar’s shoulder and activated the spell that could cease her dream——


Saint: “Huh? The spell didn’t work...Could it be…”


Saint: Ishtar...You were not trapped in the dream at all…


Keeping her mouth shut, the gorgeous face of Ishtar carried no expression. Her lucid eyes were staring at Saint, yet Saint couldn’t get any information from her stare. Therefore he spoke.


Saint: Tell me, Ishtar. Why are you doing this? You must have your reason. I trust you, so tell me.


Instead of suspicion and anger, it was an utter faith on Saint’s face. Yet it was this unconditional faith that had been smothering Ishtar’s heart. The poker face now had some sentiments, which were the shame of failing someone and the irritation of being pushed to the corner.


Ishtar: ...You won’t understand. You’ll never understand!


Pushing off Saint, Ishtar chanted a spell to trap him. Then she ran towards the entrance of Mech City with the baby. At the same time, her mind strayed back to her past…


Ishtar was not born on the planet of the Eldus, but on an extreme planet —— Poor resources, extreme weather, a variety of threatening species. Every day their kind was struggling for survival in the harsh environment. The life expectancy of them was mostly only 30 years.


In order to continue the lifeblood of the kind, all were bound to accept rigorous combat training when children knew how to walk. Many died in the practice. Ishtar was no better, a few times at the edge of death. But with the blessing of luck, what didn't kill her made her stronger.


Such ugly and humble living made Ishtar think it was the nature of life, but she proved herself wrong that day she saw the Eldus descending from the sky.


It turns out that life could be so beautiful and noble.: 


Young Ishtar: Please, take me...out of here.


Young Saint: Fear not. We Eldus take the responsibility of preaching the truth of the universe. Your wish is heard.


Ishtar: “If Saint were not here, I would be nothing. Everyone treats me as a family simply because of Saint.”


Somehow this thought had deeply implanted into her mind, and all she did was solely for Saint, also for the Ishtar in Saint’s eyes——the great Ishtar who was kind, strong, fair and willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good.


However, this wasn’t who Ishtar was...



Floor 3 Lies and Lies


Getting rid of Saint, Ishtar ran towards the entrance of the Mech City. Before long, she shouted as she reached the central area.


Ishtar: Enlil! I’ve brought you the baby!


Enlil: Great! Thank you. Please hand the baby over.


Enlil walked out of the dark with a sweet smile in a soft voice, but her friendly behavior didn’t make Ishtar drop her guard, who even held the baby tighter.


Ishtar: Cure...Give me the cure first.


Enlil: I can’t, for you’ll run away once you get the cure. How about an exchange?


Ishtar: “She must have some kind of hidden agenda...Ouch!”


The acute pain from the rotting chest served as a reminder of her clock-ticking life. The closing poisonous death——this was the reason for Ishtar's betrayal.


Ealier, Ishtar had taken a hit from Enlil for Saint. At first it was just a tiny scratch, but then it had started rotting. The wound had remained uncured even though she had used the healing spells. Just when she was freaking out, Enlil had offered her a deal——trading the baby for the cure.


To survive, Ishtar surrendered to Enlil’s temptation just like her previous encounter with Vorvadoss the demon. She just couldn’t conquer the survival instinct that had been deeply implanted into her mind since she was little.


Ishtar: ...Alright.


Ishtar moved her feet. Despite her vigilance, she had no idea that she was actually walking towards a trap. All of a sudden, two vines rose from the ground and raided Ishtar’s arms, who felt painful and let go of the baby——


Enlil: Hehe, I got him.


Ishtar: Damn it! You——lied to me!


Ishtar’s attack attempt was hindered by the vines ——She was tied up by Vulthoom the demon.

Enlil: So what? How dare you mention credibility in front of me? Not only you lied to me and ruined my reputation, but you killed my Laplace!


The facial expression on Enlil became horrifying with hatred oozing from her glare. Meanwhile, the painful memories started replaying in her mind again…


Wounded in the battle against the Eldus, North was taken in for treatment by Saint. It opened its eyes and met the gaze of an unfamiliar face. That person felt relieved and stood back a bit as he knew North woke up.


Saint: I'm Saint, the Eldus.


North: Eldus...What do you want from me!


Saint: Don't move. We've given you a proper treatment. But you still need rest due to your serious condition. I won't hurt you. I'm here to listen to your wishes.


At the beginning, North refused to talk. With Saint's perseverance, it finally opened its heart to tell him about the purpose of their kind and its deep thought.


Saint promised to find a way to help North transform into a human form. North was full of hope on that matter. Therefore, when Ishtar came to visit North, it was not wary of her at all.


Ishtar: North, your fellow has come to bring you back.


North: “Must be Laplace... Only he will come to save me.”


North: ...Where is Saint?


Ishtar: Saint will be right after us.


Ishtar's eyes flashed a strange intention, but the pure North was not aware, who followed Ishtar to the destination. Suddenly, she stopped to turn around.


Ishtar: Oh right, Saint needs a part of your body to help stabilize your form.


North: No problem.


North broke off a pointy part from its elbow and handed to Ishtar. Gazing at the limb with turbid, green fluid, she took it with a frown.


Ishtar: Let's keep going, to the end of this staircase.


As North was so desperate to meet Laplace, it took the lead to reach the destination. It was a huge platform located on the top of the mountain, with a panoramic view of the surroundings.


Laplace: North!


Laplace, in the midair, took a dive as he saw it. Because of North, Laplace also was unable to foresee what was coming next——


Four razor-shape swords were conjured from a spell and pierced through Lapalce's hands and legs with precision. Temporarily, he lost his mobility, but it was not the end yet. A shadow leapt across North to charge at Laplace and pulled out the green limb——


Ishtar used that limb to stab into his heart precisely, killing Laplace successfully. North, who was Enlil in the present, was completely fooled by Ishtar.



Floor 4 I’m with You


Enlil: It’s you...who killed my dream and my belief…


As her past flashed across her mind, Enlil put away all the facial expressions, staring at Ishtar with the coldest face. She had been looking forward to this day when she could kill Ishtar for years, even if it could just soothe a small portion of her resentment. Enlil decided to remember every detail of what was going to happen next.


Enlil: Die.


Conjuring her power, Enlil turned fire element into three arrows to shoot at the immobilized Ishtar. Yet someone interfered, blocking the arrows with the bare body. The arrows pierced into the person’s left leg, right shoulder and left palm, splashing blood onto Ishtar’s face who screamed.


Ishtar: Saint! 


The injuries didn’t freeze Saint, who chanted a spell to activate a protective encirclement around himself and Ishtar. Inside the protection, the vines that trapped Ishtar were destroyed.


Vulthoom: Ah oh, this isn’t good. It’s gonna take a lot of time to crack the protection. North, what now?

Enlil: ...The thing we’re about to do is much more important. They’re not gonna live long anyway.

Vulthoom: Right, especially for that woman. Your poison won't let you survive the day.


Enlil and Vulthoom left, leaving Ishtar and Saint at the scene. Ishtar treated Saint’s wounds immediately as she saw him cough blood.


Saint: So you took the baby in order to cure your poison?


Ishtar: ...I put others at risk just to save myself. Are you disappointed?


Saint shook his head and stoked Ishtar’s cheek.


Saint: Why would I...Fear to death is a survival instinct for all creatures. It’s my fault that I didn’t sense your insecurity. I’m sinful to let you bear the unnecessary burden.


Ishtar: No it’s not. It’s not your fault. An Eldus should possess the great love that could sacrifice for the others. A traitor like me is not worthy to become an Eldus...For all these years, I’m nothing without you.


Saint: Ishtar, You’re you. Don’t be restrained by your identity, and don’t be ashamed for being fearful of death, for this is normal. We all are the emissaries of the stars, and we’d encounter wicked temptations when we’re preaching our faith. But Ishtar, I want you to remember.


Saint: I’ll never abandon you. Even if our existence is gone, I’ll always be with you. I’ll be watching you from the gospel of stars, illuminating your path to keep you from loneliness and fear.


Ishtar: Saint…


Deeply touched by Saint, Ishtar regained her courage as her tightened shoulders relaxed. The long-accumulated guilt within was finally cleansed…

© 2021 MAD HEAD LIMITED.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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