Chapter 2:


Our Journey Through Radiance

"I don't want to despair. Let's find a new path." The girl in the mask told herself over and over again.

'Why do I always do these things for you ungrateful louts?' Fear told herself while the ship was moving.

It was common practice for crew members to stay in their compartments while the airship moved.

Strong air resistance wasn't to be underestimated.

It'd be tragic if someone was to fall overboard…

The masked girl sighed while locking the door to her room, then started to take off her long outfit.

The black priestess garbs were a present from her grandpa. It had more use than just covering her.

When she stood in front of her mirror, the deep black tattoos all over her body were revealed.

She also took off her circular smiling mask.

And a beautiful gothic face covered in that paint.

No… 'paint' might make it sound like these carvings were inked on. However, that wasn't the case.

Her hand stretched out to the mirror while starting to remember her 'mission'. It was one sentence:

{Bring him to me.}

These words had been written onto a parchment that she had to burn. Getting rid of all evidence.

She knew exactly who she was working for…

"These 'ascenders' always get on my nerves. Why can't they be more like Jack or Dwinley?" Fear leaned her head on the mirror in fatigue, and shifted her entire body weight to use it a leverage.

Ascenders… Those from another world.

Although they were uncommon in Lancia and some other nations, Ketran was filled with their kind.

From top to bottom…

Maybe it was because magic users gathered there that they became open to 'outsiders' like them.

And had enough strength to take care of any chaos that could've been caused by their appearance.

Otherworlders like them were always hard to predict, like the ones she'd come into contact with.

She remembered what they called themselves…

'Ascended Demons.'

Those who had criminal intentions after coming to this world. Coming from a place no one could like.

When the mirror started to crack, Fear stopped leaning on it and made her way to the bed.

Her body felt heavy…

She knew this mission those who threatened to kill her new family was crucial. It risked many lives.

Especially that of the Tartarus Theatre Troupe.

This last order had become a paradox to her.

Ever since she had been threatened into being subservient to that psychopath living in the Dark Forest, she'd done many missions. All of them being a lot more ill-natured than her thief group's.

Sabotage, framing, cleaning evidence, and making sure no one would suspect the rest for her deeds.

But now, she had been told to betray her family.

The letter was sent directly to her compartment in the ship, which meant she was being watched.

What could be done…?

She wanted to tell them to decline this job. That it was too dangerous… but had to keep her silence.

'Grandpa…' She thought about the man who raised her amnesiac self. All while curling up in her bed.

She had no idea who she was even now…

Her memories started 14 years ago, but she was aware her body existed at least a year before that.

From what her grandpa had told her, she was an artificial creature born of some kind of experiment.

The specifics of it were unknown to them…

All he knew was that when he'd taken her in, there were injuries on her… and a big one on her head.

Usually, this would be the point where he'd treat her. After all, wouldn't that act be for the best?

If he was going to take her under his wing, there was no reason not to at least TRY healing magic.

At least, that would've been the case… if he was a human. Things turned out differently. All because…

…her grandpa was a Lich!

He radiated the deathly energy of the dead, and did nothing more than give her a bed to sleep on.

Maybe he didn't even intent to raise her initially, but it was a fact that he'd taught many things of life.

Like how she should refrain from resorting to murder by all means. To give the girl a bottom line.

"Haaaah…" Fear sighed, then picked out a picture that had been given to the whole group of Tartarus.

It depicted the Second Prince of Lancia Kingdom.

From what she was told, he was a short teenager with an outgoing attitude and privileged lifestyle.

The exact opposite of her.

The platinum blonde, golden eyed youth in the image was actually quite annoying to look at.

It made her wonder what 'they' wanted with him.

Judging from what she knew, he was a mere Healer with no special traits that were worth mentioning.

He didn't undergo a 'Class Change' to become a Priest, and had certain limits in his healing abilities.

What was the reason everyone was after him…?

'Well, I should stop thinking.' It was one thing to be curious, but mulling over the details was useless.

She had to take this assignment either way…

Just when she was about ready to go to sleep, a series of gentle knocks could be heard at the door.

Fear had no choice but to get back up.

She stretched her dense muscles and put her clothes back on. Wearing the smiling mask.

A contrast to how she was on the inside.

When she opened the door, a mechanical eared wolf girl shot towards her and gave the girl a hug.

"Are you avoiding me? Don't we have a lot to catch up on?" Lily spoke to the friend she reunited with.

At least, that's how she saw their relationship…

"Why are you always acting like I need your godforsaken 'intimacy'? Do I look a weakling?"

"That's exactly why I'm always hugging you."

"Right…" Fear had a disbelieving tone of voice.

The gold yellowish eyed girl down on the shorter girl that had an older touch to her appearance.

A look of pity appeared in her eyes.

"Can I talk to you?" Seeing that Lily was getting somewhat serious, Fear invited the wolf girl in.

There was no reason not to.

They sat before a small wooden table on the ground, but the masked girl offered no beverages.

She wasn't the type to give them out anyway.

"What is it that you want from me?" Fear got to the point. There was no need to drag things out.

"…Do I need anything?" Lily seemed a bit confused at the thought. Looking around the dark room.

There didn't seem to be any of her things here.

"Don't play dumb with me."

"I'm not~"

"Then what do you want?"

"I'm just a friend wanting to hang out. It's been so long since we saw each other, right?" The way the wolf girl was aimlessly steering the conversation made the dark silhouette frown under the mask.

She felt a bit awkward…

"I don't need your nostalgia."

"Sure… but are you really fine with this? Weren't you the type to always cry when I wasn't around?"

Fear felt embarrassed under her smiling mask. She didn't know how to respond to that certain detail.

After all, it was true she used to cling to Lily.

Even with their physical differences, the masked girl was the same age as Lily. They were once the closest of friends one could find. Never did they leave each other's side for even a moment.

However, that was until Lily left to see he wider world. Leaving only a note behind. It hurt her deep.

Much more than any wound ever inflicted on her.

"…Couldn't you have taken me with you?" Even though she asked this, Fear knew the answer why.

Lily was more realistic than she let on.

Taking an 'Air Cab' to each district wasn't exactly the fastest transport, even if it was the only one.

If Lily had attempted to take Fear with her, Jack would have immediately noticed and caught them.

It was why she had to leave on her own…

"Sorry. I want to make up with you. Now that I'm here, can't we be like before?" Lily held her hands without prejudice, even though she knew of the strange magical tattoos drawn all over her body.

"…We can't be like before." The mech wolf ears lowered disappointedly, yet Fear continued to talk:

"But… we can try again."

"Thank you!" Lily's tail wagged excitedly while lunging to give the girl a hug. Her mask fell off.

However, she didn't rush to put it back on.

'I hope you can forgive me too…' The tattooed face looked down while thinking about what she'd do.

Even though they were closer than before, but the distance between where they stood was larger.

Fear wasn't as 'kind' as their den of thieves, which mostly did performances rather than stealing.

Among the entire group, only Fear was a hardened criminal that would do anything to protect them.

Even if that meant betraying everyone on this ship.

When the two of them separated and started to talk some more, the kingdom was coming in view.

The speed of the airship was slowed down to the point they could look out to see it all on the deck.

The sight was majestic to the eyes…

Truly, this was the former empire that had once ruled over all. Now only known as an artful nation.

There was deep and rich architecture everywhere.

Especially the royal palace, which was way too large to be for the handful of Royals living there.

Fear had her arm linked with Lily while watching the sight. Truly, it was better to see it with another.

If only they had a way to record this sight…

Maybe she should buy a painting after this last mission was complete. Change her identity to live.

It was at that point she turned her head.

Fear locked eyes with man far in the distance.

She wasn't sure if it was the prince or not, but she could feel an intensity from the knight down below.

As if his entire being was filled with one world…


From the way the armoured teenager looked away to order soldiers, he seemed to be a State Guard.

Also known as one of the most devoted protectors of a kingdom. They were known for their loyalty.

Fear clenched her fist when she saw the natural animosity the knight and others had to the troupe.

It seemed like they were unwelcome here…

Though that wasn't surprising.

Even though they had been given express permission to fly over to the Capitol and park their airship right in front of the palace, those who had found great meaning in ideals wouldn't ever rest.

She became certain things wouldn't be easy.

It was at that point she noticed that their Troupe Leader was planning a performance for those down below. He got the outcasts of the Zither Clan that had joined them and was about to put a live show.

Her eyes turned to the Pianist, Drummer, Guitarist, and Vocalist that was a part of the Theatre Troupe.

Jack was giving them the details for the music performance. Seeming like a director of it all.

When things were finally complete, the one with a microphone stepped forward and took in a breath.

Then let out a roar!

"YEEEAAAAHHHHH!!!" Her rockstar voice was like a flame. Making the 'crowd' bellow start to cheer.

All of their hearts were set on fire.

The rest of the gang infused magical energy into their instruments, making a spectacular light show.

The audience was entranced.

Even though this was the kingdom of art where Bards weren't uncommon, this performance using electro beats and pop music was rare. Especially since Lancia was a bit cut off from the world.

If it wasn't for the Adventurer Guild making sure the requests of citizens and nobles alike were being taken care of, they would have had a hard time surviving while being entrenched in tradition.

Fear watched the common people look outside.

Women who were hanging up their clothe lines stopped and men going to work halted their steps.

All the shops were being closed down momentarily.

They all looked so nice and welcoming, but the lack of any originality in their appearance made it clear that they were followers of the 'Luminance Religion'. The people here despised two things.

'Dark Magic' and 'Beasts'.

This made Fear more willing to let Lily stay close to her for the meantime. It was a dangerous place.

Perhaps not for others, but it was for them.

If the Knights were to see Lily's ears or her own tattoos, wouldn't they eagerly try to attack them?

She put a hat on Lily's head and tucked in the wolf girl's tail. It was time to hide their appearance.

Lest they invite unwanted attention.