Chapter 19:

A Nightmare Trial

Writing a Guidebook with You

Sometimes, in the summer, I wonder how it feels when I fly in the sky like a bird.

Isekai anime always gave me wonder. Now I can feel the breeze and the scenery like a bird, and also explore a new place. Excited.

But it feels much better. With her hand in my hand.

“Ayyyyy!” Scolastica put her hand on her forehead, like someone who tried to block the sunlight. She also stood with one foot on the main deck. She looked so excited while Mochita sat and spread his front legs beside her like a bird. He looked so cute.

Zaracas grinned, and Adelina put a smile on her face, stressing the overall mood of the party. Hal just put his hand in his trouser pocket, like he always did, and looked proud. As always.

Kousuke and Arabella sat on the upper deck. Arabella held his hand and leaned her arm on Kousuke for whatever reason. Everyone looked up at the floating island while their ship ascended at a steady pace, passing cloud after cloud.

But contrary to the party’s mood, Kousuke was thinking hard.

She probably feels pity because I didn’t get a kiss. That’s why she holds my hand.

I don’t know what’s gonna happen to our relationship. Why do people form romantic relationships anyway? Can’t they just live alone?

To do it? Arabella Dekever doesn’t seem to be interested in it although she reads BL books. I can already get hard, so there is no reason to chase her. At some point, we also become ugly and not that strong anymore. It’s time-limited.

To have affection? Sure, it was sweet when she rubbed my cheek, and she probably felt happy that someone would be always beside her. But giving love to get that is a pain in the ass. It’s so moody to not expect anything in return. Sometimes we are just horny.

Or, do I not love her that much?

But can we be happy if we are always giving? Happy just because they are happy? Bullshit. How many couples break up because of unhappiness? That’s likely true when we do a charity, not romance.

Does that mean we shouldn’t plan our dates? Because that’s exchanging, we both expect to have happy moments.

This is so confusing!

When the ship took a higher position than the floating island, a white stone castle came into their vision. Although the stone palisade walls were ruined, the three-stories rounded tower and the barrack still looked glistening. The ditches became a water reservoir, but no animals were in sight.

As the ship landed on the small floating island, Kousuke grabbed his drag bag and stood up. He jumped onto the island and shouted, “It’s time to claim this foreign land!”

“That’s not respectable, Peasant,” Hal said after he descended behind Kousuke.

“But don’t you think this is good as our base, Your Grace?” Kousuke retorted.

“Only if no one resides here. Also, call me Sir Hal. Aren’t you a future duke? And I’m just a peasant outside the World of Library.”

Kousuke chuckled. “But you are still a very powerful saint. But alright.”

“[Anti Gravity],” Arabella also descended. “My fiance. Do you mean we should take advantage of Saintess Flavia to go back and forth to this potential base? How typical of you.”

“Do you mean how cool I am, my lady?” Kousuke asked.

“So. What do you know about this place, my fiance?” Arabella asked.


“Let’s go to the castle’s tower. We will only find two people who stop us from making this place our base.”

“Arf!” Mochita jumped from Adelina’s back and ran on the green landscape. “Mochita! Don’t go near the edge, okay?” Adelina shouted after she landed from a cubic rock.

So she DOES remember names, but only for dogs! And, is Mochita your dog now?!

Kousuke glanced at Arabella, but she didn’t look concerned about Mochita’s closeness with Adelina.

“Okay, I will cook. See ya, young’uns!” Zaracas said before he was gone. “Ay! Me, play with the dog!” Scolastica landed, then bounced, and bounced like an alpaca, imitating Mochita.

“So it’s only the four of us,” Kousuke commented.

After they walked for a moment, a huge round cage rolled in front of them. Inside that cage, there was an old man with pale skin. He wrapped his body with bandages like a mummy. He also covered his eyes with bandages. “Identify yourself,” that man said.

Kousuke bowed. Adelina and Arabella followed suit because it seemed they had trusted him that much. Hal, of course, refused to bow.

“I greet the Saint of Anti, Saint Antony Bartolone,” Kousuke said, “my name is Durant Derolaude. A sniper.” Saint Antony is the strongest NPC in Astarthe Online, only if he is that active.

Antony chuckled. “It has been decades since I hear that name, I recall.” He waved his hand, forward and backward, like when someone chased away others. “Drop the formality. I’m just a corpse now.”

“A living corpse?” Hal asked.

Antony snorted. “What the world tells me, I flip it. That’s my miracle. Neat, isn’t it?” He pointed his index finger at his covered eyes. “But sometimes I have to sacrifice something. To live is to see the world. So, I had to sacrifice my eyes to live forever. Not a bad deal, eh?”

“For what reason do you endure the pain of loneliness in this puny piece of land?” Hal resumed.

“No matter what century we live in, people seek miracles,” Antony raised his chin to face the distant sky. “As a saint, someone who is favored by God, I live to serve them. As to why I stay here, I can hear people’s pleas from any place if I don’t go anywhere. This iron cage’s purpose is to hold me here.”

“Besides,” Antony grinned, “I don’t want to leave my insane friend suffering here for eternity.”

That must be the Dark Knight Maxentius. For some reason, Maxentius cursed himself and stayed here for eternity.

“Your dedication amazes me, Saint Antony,” Hal knelt down. Antony chuckled.

“Saint Antony,” Kousuke said, “can we set this land as our base? We won’t change anything, we just want to stay.”

“How impertinent, eh?” Antony snickered. He rubbed his chin for a while. “I can only hear pleas. Sometimes that's boring. I assume you are adventurers. But cowards won’t have many things to tell. So, I would like to give you a trial. And of course, you have to subdue my friend. He doesn’t like someone trespasses into his castle.”

“Saint Antony. What trial?” Arabella asked.

“A delusion isn’t reality. I can flip that and offer some scenarios in your mind. If you give up easily, you aren’t worth my time. I do not offer nonsense scenarios, by the way, it’s your possible past or future as I know from flipping my ignorance.”

“Sure,” Kousuke smirked.

“Greediness will kill you,” Antony chuckled. He shouted, “You can’t leave.” It made an echo and a transparent spherical barrier that surrounded the whole island. “Unless you pass my trial and defeat my friend. Pay for your impertinence and sin.”

Shit, it becomes bothersome!

“The scenario is also based on your answer. Starting from you,” Antony looked at Hal. “What is a good king?”

Hal jolted. He thought for a moment and replied, “Someone who can forgive. Especially peasants.”

Antony snorted. “Do you have the right to forgive? But I have prepared a trial for you. Wait.” Antony then looked at Kousuke and asked him the same question.

At least it’s not about romance!

“Someone who tries to make his people happy,” Kousuke answered.

Antony gave a similar response, he only gave a different rebuttal. “You may be a good king for your people. But not for yourself.” Then he gazed at Arabella, “You?”

Arabella put her index finger on her cheek for a moment. She answered, “Someone who upholds the law which is born of everyone’s needs.”

“Sometimes people can’t compromise,” Antony rebutted. And at last, he looked at Adelina. “What about you, my lady?”

“Huh?” Adelina looked genuinely confused. “Ah, I get it! A good king is someone who doesn’t punish good people!”

Antony chuckled. “What is good, my lady?” he rebutted. Then for some reason, he smiled and said, “Welcome back.”


Antony made an expelling gesture again with his hand. “Now, take a seat and make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes, and your trial will begin.”

Hal took the lead and leaned his back on a big rock. Adelina also searched for a big rock. Then they both closed their eyes.

“My lady, don’t be afraid. You can hold my hand,” Kousuke whispered to Arabella.

Arabella chuckled. “Isn’t it the other way around, my fiance?”

“Nah, no way.”

But she still offered her hand, and they sat next to each other around the tower wall. Then Arabella closed her eyes and began her trial.

Kousuke, too, closed his eyes. But he would just see an endless nightmare.