“Four years”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen closed and got up from his seat along with the five humans and beast by his sides.
Four years was the time given to complete the project “Back To The Blue Sky”.
Back To The Blue Sky, in its competition, any citizen of Kingdom Earth will have the freedom to wander from New Earth to Ercas Mir.
It was divided to four phases, each having the span of a year to conclude, each supervised by an administration of eighteen of the seventy two honored men and women, plus a Supreme Ruler, past and current. Only the first phase would include one more person and it would be Huland, who will help Gid Chu and the other eighteen lay the groundwork in Selivereb.
As for Zax’s part in the project? Well, nothing that requires actual time or effort. His deterring presence is more than enough of help for this enterprise and besides, there are other things he will rather do.
“Little Zax, enough with the gloomy face. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to have you as company for these couple of days, but by now you dampened the mood so much that it’s unbearable!” Laivien nudged again and again her big white doe head against Zax’s little human head.
“It had been eighteen days”. Zax complained while leaning on the egg shape, meter tall violet stone in the pavilion. “I’ve made the decision the moment I knew nothing can harm us, in whatever form you want to describe it, and I thought she made it when I proposed”.
“She did make it”. Laivien applied more forced and shoved Zax out of the pavilion. “With her heart”, she continued. “But she is a cultivator and your proposal was too sudden. For this commitment, she can agree in advance, though it’s inappropriate, but to follow through she must dispel even the tiniest doubt”. She shook her head with a sigh. “Perhaps, if you were a bit more romantic, then she would have been a bit more mentally prepared. Alas, you are not better than my Kartion and she is just as poor as me”.
“Tsk!” Zax stood up and rubbed his bottom from the dirt, signing to Laivien’s Krikitories caretakers that he does not need help. “I won’t bicker with you about my romantic talents; otherwise, I might as well have stayed home, hearing from my mom and sisters”.
“Then why won’t you go to big brother and my Kartion? They surely don’t care of talks about romance”.
“Because I don’t feel like contemplating over Grandmaster Kartion’s Three Stages Of Hyper Physique”. Due to the flow of the conversation, he did not want to say out loud that by her side, since childhood, it always been easier to calm down. He did not need to, she knew. However, this time she was not willing to take his side or be the comforting, loveable Laivien.
The two were quiet, but the small valley was lively with the playful tunes of the young Krikitories.
The little ones caught Zax’s line of sight on them and immediately waved their short bear arms up high, calling. “Bukibi! Bukibi! Mohey! Mohey!”
“Mohey” was not a world in their species’ vocabulary, but the rough attempt of the little ones to pronounce the word “Play”.
“Two more days”. Zax said and started walking toward the small group of young Krikitories. “Afterwards, I’ll simply intrude and whisper all the lovey dovey words in the world to her ears as she ruminates. See if I’m not romantic enough”.
“Silly little Zax”. Laivien jeered.
Fortunately for Anet, her session of introspection concluded at the noon of the nineteenth day, else, who knows how she would have handled it if Zax stuck to his absurd threat?
The place she sat in seclusion was her old school, Eden Formation. Both he and she were in New Earth, as well as their friends and families, who he dragged to Ercas Mir, excluding a thirty or so who chose to stay behind for one reason or another.
The number of caves and tunnels keeping them far apart was in the tens but the number of kilometers was in the hundreds. He could not have known when she will exit, so before the end of the twentieth day, it was up to her to come to him.
After a day of fooling around, the young Krikitories were scolded back to their lessons and Zax was left lying on a hill of yellow grass, glaring for hours past the mist of the Essence Cave, at the Sun Stones embedded to the ceiling far above his head.
“Hm?” A frail sound of footsteps was picked up by his ears, catching his attention. Their tempo was different than anyone in the Martial family, regardless of what form they were, yet somewhat similar to Zetsa’s.
His heart beat like a drum and his pupils shrank. He was about to move, at his greatest, unrestrained speed, but the person approaching seemed to figure him out in advance and before Zax pulled his chest up, Anet appeared atop him.
Of course he was faster and could intercept her movement before her brain even sent the initial signal to her feet, but…
“Ladies first”. He teased her as the worry of the past nineteenth days scattered from his mind. From her face, he could read her answer and despite it, eagerly urged her to voice it.
Last month of the year 5800.
Morning of the day of the wedding.
Inside a cabin surrounded by a smoky mist and shielded by protective formation, Zax was sitting on his knees clothed in a black tuxedo and wearing elegant black shoes. With his face shaved and his hair cut he was looking at the two men before him, also on their knees and with their back straight.
One was Marco Zel, his father.
Another was Kartius, in his human form –black eyed, black haired middle aged man with two protrusions in his forehead – for the first time since he broke through the third realm, also his father.
Marco was likewise wearing a tuxedo and Kartius cladded himself in a black fur robe.
The trio waited silently, until Marco checked his watch and announced: “It’s time”.
They stood up, Kartius subtly mimicking Marco’s mannerism, and exited the cabin.
With Zax in the lead, the smoky mist of the Essence Cave parted, allowing a clear, straight path.
“Because of her pregnancy, Laivien can’t move” was the reason.
“Then we will come to her” was the solution.
Thus, it was decided by both Zax and Anet, with Grandmaster Kartion’s approval, to hold the wedding ceremony in Laivien’s valley, the other side of the path.
Rows of white chairs were arranged neatly before the pavilion. Where the violet stone was situated was now a vacant space with enough room for a bride, a groom and a third, to marry the two.
Forty to fifty guests, solely close friends and family, were waiting to be told to take their seats and for the time being, enjoyed the landscape and adorable Krikitories hosts.
As to how so many humans, non cultivators, arrived to this far away cave in the beasts’ territory… Transportation via land vehicle in Valgarel was nigh impossible and extremely inconvenient, therefore, with Zax’s request, Ariel provided him a number of aircrafts so the guests would have a smooth trip back and forth.
And as to why not the men, women and children were not one bit scared from the prospect of being in such a close proximity to beasts… It was not their first experience and in fact, for the past couple of years, they even lived alongside beasts, beneath the blue sky, at a place called Green Snow village.
A clap of hands resonated in all preoccupied ears. The man who drew everyone attention was tall with vertical pupils. Mes scanned the crowed, amused, happy and hospitable; with no words he indicated that the ceremony will soon begin.
All seats were filled and still there were some who remained standing. Apart from Mes and Kartius, all members of the Martial Family gave their utmost respect in their overwhelming animalistic forms. Naturally they could not fit in between the tiny humans.
Three silhouettes appeared from afar. Zax and his two fathers continued their path that crossed the rows of seats.
Meeting so many of his friends and family eye to eye; Zax felt a tinge of awkwardness, which made it difficult to maintain his composed mien.
In battles he did not mind being the center of attention, not because he had to concentrate on his foes or his conviction was lacking, but since in these situations he can be as expressive as he wants without a care for others’ opinion.
‘Thankfully, Anet agreed that it won’t be sensible for too many guests to impose on Laivien’s valley’. Zax sighed inwardly and wondered why the unease manifested only now? Why he felt that it would pass after the ceremony? Why his heart pounded in his chest just from thinking about the moment he will turn around, to meet her?
Due to Laivien’s permanent stay in the pavilion, she was not counted as one of the three arrivals and so Zax was second to walk up the stairs. The first was Don Dauch, as it was most proper for her to marry her Tal. She was adorned by a pristine golden robe. Like everything in the ceremony, it was just symbolic, a supposed blessing for a clean slate and riches ahead. Love and happiness were what brought the two together, so there was no need to accentuate.
Don nodded toward Zax and he exchanged a smile with her. Marco and Kartius remained standing behind him, below the pavilion.
There was no music, nor clap of hands to indicate her arrival. Zax turned around, driven but a gut feeling and then… there she was.
The gown was Floor length, white and fiery. From the high hipline up her figure was accentuated, exquisite as if it was molded by a master artist. She had very little makeup and her blond hair cascaded down her shoulders with no formal arrangement, yet she was utterly stunning.
Ever since she absorbed the Four Wings Stork’s Pure Core and came out from her seclusion before the wedding, some external changes occurred to Anet; three distinct scarlet strips of hair were mixed in her blond and her complexion had exhibited a rosy glow.
Her parents held her arms and escorted to the pavilion. If Don was not the one to marry the bride and the groom, she would have taken her father’s spot.
The instant he made eye contact with her, the world turned silence and everyone and everything, but her, disappeared.
Whatever words were said by Don to the guests were unimportant, only the vows asked to be repeated and the final say to the monumental query…