With the secret alliance being made, General Logan repressed his reservation. “I need something else from you”. He told Sheldon.
“We are partners”, Sheldon looked at him with a friendly smile. “If it’s within my power and with reasonable effort, then do ask”.
“I need to communicate with someone on the outside using your Galactic Communicator”.
For a fraction of a second the gaze in Sheldon eyes turned thoughtful before again showing calm. “Very well”.
The lack of questions indicated another, silent agreement.
When he returned to his parents’ home, Zax was relieved to know that Ariel already explained to his and Anet’s parents the situation.
Anet was resting upon his arrival and their parents and Liz were too awestruck by getting to meet Ariel that it was hard to decipher whether they understood his explanation. Perhaps they decided to not mention the miscarriage, before the young couple would open up the subject themselves, and were just happy to know that Anet is fine. Either way, Zax was reluctant to accept consolations and preferred the atmosphere to stay concentrated on Ariel.
“Zax…” Anet voice was dry. Her eyes opened after her mouth as she gradually woke up, still somewhat weak.
She was lying on Liz’s bed and Zax sat on a chair by her side, alone with her in the room after asking Don to leave.
His vision focused on his face but quickly became blurry by tears. She felt the condition of her body and did not need others to tell her what happen, only why, but for the moment it did not matter.
She covered her eyes with the back of her hand, as the other was placed on her stomach, and she voicelessly cried.
Her grief mirrored powerlessness and loss he only remembered her ever showing him three times.
First was when they were children, after the ordeal at the Young Mist Users Conference, where they had been confronted by Martinez family’s young and old. It was a borderline traumatic experience for Zax and his pals and at the time he thought Anet ran and left them. It was only later, when they were invited to Fourchettes Et Couteaux, that they had a teary reconciliation.
Second occurrence was couple of years later. Zax returned from his training in Valgarel and sought his old friends. Anet was the first he met, and the events that arose by this reunion spelled the disastrous fall from grace of the Derneldar Family.
Third was, again, years later. Zax was assumed dead. His friends and family were devastated, but Anet… her heart was emotionally full of cracks as if something heavy struck it, constantly on the verge of shattering, until it did. Luckily he returned right on time to amend it, otherwise she would have suffered an irreversible damage.
And now… was the fourth.
No one interrupted the two in the days they spent shut in Liz’s room.
For those two nights and two days Anet had not said a thing after calling by his name when he first woke up and Zax, as he contemplated over the reason of this meaningless tragedy, he slowly recuperated from the emotional upheaval, ultimately being left with only a measure of sadness and a strong resolution to… “Never again!”
Time heals all wounds, and atop it paved the road to progress.
“Niel! Niel, wait! Stop running, you little pipsqueak! How can such a shorty be so fast?”
On the bustling streets beneath the blue sky, two boys were rushing for a certain destination and one was more restless to arrive than the other.
Unbeknownst to the young lads, several tens of meters behind them a rather unassuming young was trailing their steps, while perfectly blending in the metropolitan environment.
“Passing through! Passing through!” The lad named Niel shouted as he squeezed through the dense crowed of humans and beasts in either humanoid or human forms.
“Excuse me, pardon, err… sorry!” The slightly older lad chasing apologized for both him and Niel.
The pair ran in a straight line for about three hundred meters, toward a fenced, open field with tight security all over.
Everyone who came made sure to stop three to five meters before the fence, but when the two lads showed up they did not even pay the tiniest attention to those scary looking, black uniformed security guards and brazenly entered what clearly was a restricted location.
Not just the two boys, but the young man who followed them also entered, albeit, he was a tad more discreet, without anyone of the outside spectators noticing, helping those helpless security guards to save some face.
There was a one storey building in the field and fifty meters from it was a marked landing spot.
The single entrance door to the building opened and a figure of a red headed middle aged woman walked out.
Seeing the short haired woman from afar, before she could make up a word or an expression in response to the unbridle advent of the pair, Niel opened his mouth and loudly declared.
“A promise is a promise!”
His voice resonated as suddenly an imposing streak flashed across his childish countenance. With the sound of the wind howling a black aura burst from the tiny pores of Niel’s small frame, along with both dark attribute and Beginner phase first level Core Master fluctuations.
“See that, grandma Don!” Niel laughed triumphantly.
An odd look momentarily manifested on Don’s face – yes, the same Don who once was the school principal of Eden Formation. Her jaw muscles bulged as she clenched her teeth; otherwise she feared her chin would drop.
“I’m so strong now, grandma Don! Big brother Jingrow could not keep up with me when we retrained our cultivation base!”
“Niel, you brat! Do you really think I would not have caught you if there weren’t so many people in the way?!” Jingrow snapped.
“Yes I do!” Niel stuck out his tongue, naturally, after getting behind Don.
Don rubbed her temples. “Shadow!” She called and before the sound of her voice had faded, the young man who was following Niel and Jingrow had appeared.
“Don’t blame me, Don Ram”. Shadow said defensively. “What? Was I supposed to undermine the Boss’s word to Niel?”
Don glared at Shadow, who no longer looked unassuming, but quite the opposite… His pristine black skin and smooth long black hair had a glimmer to them that was hard to define and his facial features could probably lead others to think he was a gorgeous woman, if not for his thin yet tall and muscular frame.
Taking the chance that Don’s attention was shifted from him, Niel gave Shadow a thumb up.
A deafening sound rang above their heads; up in the sky it dispersed the clouds and at the other side of the encompassing fence, claps of hands and incoherent cheers ensued.
“They are approaching!” Don’s tone changed from annoyance to exhilaration. “Get inside”. She urged the three.
The building was a round, giant room occupied by all sorts of screens and advanced computers. There were at least eighty people inside. Some were sitting in rows behind monitors; others kept watch on an elevated platform and few were congregated on a second platform, in front of a wall size, lifelike projection.
“That’s… that’s…!” Niel exclaimed without being able to finish the sentence, or properly begin it, as he ran for the viewing platform of the large projection.
“The Star Scavenger!” Jingrow helped him with eyes just the same, glued to the picture on the wall.
“And that’s…!” Niel pointed at a small dot he spotted not far from the image of the Star Scavenger.
“The Boss!” Shadow took charge this time.
The trio was awfully talkative, in comparison to the twelve people that got before them on the viewing platform. A number of gazes landed on them with different meaning, but eventually, anyone who had something to say, kept it to himself or herself after noting Don’s subtle dismissive nod.
The Star Scavenger got closer to the ground as its estimate time of full landing narrowed to the span of half a minute.
Spectators inside the Command Control building and viewers at the other side of the fence were counting the seconds with bated breaths.
“It landed!” A voice announced through a PA system, for both the people in and out.
“Yahoo!” Niel excitedly shouted, jumped from the viewing platform and dashed out of the Command Control building.
First thing that came to view was the amazing Star Scavenger. Niel could not help but wish to someday be accepted as a pilot and head for an outer space expedition.
Finishing admiring the spacecraft; Niel’s line of sight shifted to the man standing not far from it, the so called “Boss” Shadow mentioned, who supervised its landing.
“Niel?” Zax raised a brow. “You made it!” His expression bore a resemblance to Don’s and then he felt weird, as if some mighty Immortal or God was playing a joke at him. “A nine years old… Core Master!”
“Dad, look at me!”
It was the year 5810.
Zax was thirty five years old and so was his wife, Anet, yet instead of aged, in contrast to his appearance a decade ago, the only difference was that he gave a more mature, fatherly air.
Niel spread his arms with a snap and the black, dark attribute Core Master aura erupted around him. “You can’t punish me for running away from home! I succeeded, I’m a Core Master! My training is done! I can go adventuring!” He skipped joyfully.
Hearing his son’s statements and sensing his aura, Zax was stumped, still fixated on the spectacle before his eyes.
‘Three Types Of Children…’ He recalled the division of children with enrollment opportunity to post Core Martial schools. Back in his days, even the kids with the best constitution and natural talent would only be assumed as having the potential to break through to the second realm after a decade of harsh training.
‘Jingrow?’ As he saw the boy running out of the Command Center building, Zax remembered how half a year ago, just days short from his twelfth birthday, this nephew of his broke through and became a first level Core Master.
Back then he was not even a quarter as surprised as he is now. Jingrow’s parents were remarkable experts from whom he inherited an easy start for the cultivation path. The Seed he was born with in his dantian had equal makings to a two scales Deformed Being’s Pure Core. Adding to that all the nurturing he received in terms of resources and guidance, it was not a shocker that he broke through the second realm by the age of twelve and when comparing him to his uncle’s feats when he was at his age, he even fell a little short.
Niel was different. Due to his father inadequate mist cultivation and perhaps because of the upheavals he had been through for absorbing the first Black Core, for some reason, even though his mother was at the Peak of the Core Master realm, Niel did not inherit a morsel of a Seed.