The golden arched gate that welcomed all students and guests of the prestigious number one Martial school in El-Eden, shone with grandeur in the eyes of Serah and Zushi.
Six students stood valiantly guard behind the gate. Five of the six exuded the aura of Core Breakers and one of a Mist Master. All six were in their mid twenties.
Glancing past the bars of the gate at the six in gold and white uniforms, Zushi and Serah chocked from reverence despite their lack of major interest in Martial cultivation.
There were two reasons why in front of Zax, Zushi and Serah were easygoing and in front of the six they suddenly became so humble. One reason was their good relationship with Zax, which could also explain why they are mellow in the company of Anet. The second reason was Zax’s lack of mist cultivation. Unless a cultivator uses a Soul Sense to inspect Zax’s body with Zax’s permission, it would be impossible to grasp his mind blowing Martial accomplishments.
Conversely, the six students not only proudly exhibited their cultivation level; the aspect they cultivated was mist energy, which was the easiest to roughly measure when a low level cultivator faced an expert.
Unlike Serah and Zushi, Zax, obviously, was perfectly indifferent to the six students. He was wearing the dark shades Eden Formation uniforms he received in his last stay in Eden Formation. His mother washed the uniforms early in the morning for him, while he fed and took Liz for a walk in her stroller around the block.
“Good morning, senior!” The six students did not recognize Zax, but they sure knew what the hues of his uniforms signified.
‘Advanced grade student!’
They simultaneously thought as they hastily opened the school’s gate, not even daring to question the weaklings, Serah and Zushi, upon seeing that they are actually following him and laughing together.
“Anet should be waiting for us in the faculty building. I talked to her last night about us three coming and said that she will try to help with principal Ram”. Serah as the three entered the faculty two storey building.
“Students Zax”, approximately five seconds from the moment they crossed the wide threshold, an aged voiced cordially welcomed Zax.
“Vice principal Mizuri”, Zax clearly remembered his last encounter with school vice principal and was about to utter an apology when his eyes laid on the figure beside the old man. “Anet”.
Her appearance did not catch him by surprise, but the moment the when their gazes were about to interlace, she averted her face to Serah and Zushi and avoided him.
‘Did my savagery repulse her that much?’ Zax mood turned gloomy, but he obstructed from showing on his face. ‘I’ll not force her to accept me’.
He decided to put aside whatever feelings he had for Anet, if there was not a chance for them being mutual. He was content with the two of them preserving their friendship, if that was the most of what Anet wanted.
“Junior greets vice principal Ram”.
“Junior greets vice principal Ram”.
Zushi and Serah called out all most at the same time.
“Junior greets vice principal Ram”. Zax realized a moment after hearing the two, that if he wanted to apologize for his previous behavior toward vice principal Mizuri, he had to first respectfully, with accordance to his position in the school, to greet him.
A gratified expression softened the vice principal Mizuri’s wrinkles. “Elder accept juniors’ greeting and welcome guests and student to our school”. He said warmly.
“Vice principal Mizuri”, Zax stepped forward, slightly bowing. “For my rude-”
“No need, student Zax”. Vice principal Mizuri raised a hand and stopped Zax, causing him to lift his head. “Let’s forget about the past and concentrate on the future, my boy. If I understand correctly, apart from visiting your friend, you also came here today to make a request from principal Ram”.
Vice principal Mizuri was an old man, but still far from learning obstinacy and vindictiveness, most of all, against a junior. From the day he realized his mistakes from the words and treatments he used to deal with what led to Zax’s outburst, he already forgot about his humiliation of that day. Moreover, after Zax, a much stronger cultivator, greeted him unpretentiously and displayed the intentions to express regret for his past conducts, vice principal Mizuri saw him in completely new light.
“Vice principal Ram, we did come here to trouble school principal Ram, but we will be glad with whoever that can hear us out”. Zushi politely replied.
‘A sharp tongue in such a young age…’ Vice principal Mizuri could easily see through Zushi’s craftiness and was amused by it. Shaking his head, he said. “Seeing the principal Ram indeed will be impossible for juniors”.
He deliberately made it sound that for students, much less juniors that do not even belong to the school, it would be too audacious to seek an audience with Don. And with additional frown he made all three feel as if they should have started small because now no one with see them.
“Principal Ram is currently off school’s grounds”. He stopped playing around and with a smirk confessed the actual reason they could not see Don. “Fortunately, student Anet spoke already and convinced her Mor. Since both students Anet Lensi and Zax Zel are meritorious Advanced grade students, principal Ram asked me to make arrangements for juniors’ request”.
As vice principal Mizuri explained, a smiled appeared on Anet’s face and she nodded in confirmation.
As for how hard it was for Anet to make this request of Don… Well, although when she approached her, Anet doubted her chances to persuade her Mor to deal with couple of schools just so she and her friends could have a get together without interference from prior obligations, the instant Don understood what her Tal wanted and that it would be helpful as an incentive for having Zax stay for a few days on school’s grounds, which in turn will strengthen his familiarity with it, she unhesitatingly approved and discussed it with vice principal Mizuri before leaving.
Needless to say how much relieved the three were after hearing vice principal Mizuri and seeing Anet’s smile.
After finishing speaking, vice principal nodded toward the three and left. He did not say anything to Zax and Anet about going to class. One was unable to cultivate Qi or mist, thus incapable of practicing the school’s cultivation techniques, while the other was one of the school’s principal’s Tals, it was not his place to instruct her with regards to Martial cultivation.
“About last time we talked…” Anet approached Zax and said timidly right as vice principal Mizuri left.
To Zax’s sides, Serah and Zushi, who were about to ask Anet about what exactly Don approved, sensed the sudden stiffness in the air between the two, held their tongoues and attentively watched.
Though her speech was slow, almost to a halt, Zax was staggered when she brought up their last, forlorn conversation, therefore, before drawing any conclusions he patiently waited to hear her.
Between sentences, Anet recalled the thoughts that she realized too late a month ago, and so last the chance to convey her feelings to Zax before he left.
‘What he did was most definitely not wrong!’ She rebuked herself again and again when he already was gone. It was a change of mind from her norm, but it did not occur due to her conflict with the Dernalder family or because Zax became more dear in her heart than she anticipated. It was a fact she deduced and an eye opener she faced with upon comprehending that she, too, picked a path in life that did not shy from taking another’s life.
Her initial uncertainties were a product of inexperience on the Martial path, and she was very much aware of it for every day since Zax left. That being said, while her feelings for Zax were now secured and she gained a better understanding on what life may hold for her, Anet was still mentally away from being able to take a person’s life.
With what she currently gathered, Anest mustered her resolve, puckered her brows and continued with a firm countenance. “Next time don’t leave so abruptly”. She grabbed Zax’s hand, as if preventing him from leaving without her consent ever again, and gave the impression that she will not let go until he will give her his word.
Sensing the warmth of her hands, from a mere touch Zax felt his hearth pumping and his blood boiling. The thoughts that beforehand emerged from the coldness he misread from Anet, were now eclipsed by the laughable apprehension his rushed stupidity.
Zax forgot that Serah and Zushi were to his sides. He was mesmerized by how cute Anet was when she both pouted and got angry. An impulse took over and the hand Anet’s held suddenly pushed her to his arms, as a sentence that for the first appeared in his mind left Zax’s lips. “Tell me to stay and I will never leave”. He truly felt it in his heart, how dominant were his feeling for Anet that he instinctively vowed for her.
Anet’s complexion flushed as blood and heat rushed to her face. In a split second, all the thought in her head became disorganized. Nonetheless, her body was still sinking into Zax’s arms.
“Hahaha!” An unexpected burst of uncontrollable laughter brought the two back to their senses. “What the heck, Zax? Are you two kidding me? What’s with that cheesy line?!” Serah bent over and held her stomach. “Hahaha!”
Left to Zax, Zushi done a better job, concealing his laughter and only when Serah’s knees hit the floor did he turn around and shivered…
“Eh?!” The awkwardness peaked, causing Zax and Anet to separate and stumble backwards.
“Aha…” After couple of minutes Serah processed the radicalness of Zax’s line and sighed.
“Be more sensible…” Zushi also got over the cheesiness and turned around, saying to himself, rather than Zax.
The two were stumped and at first did not know from where and since when Zax and Anet nourished their affection for each other. They assumed that it happened sometime when Zax previously got home.
Noticing that Zax’s and Anet’s were still in a fragile state in their relationship, Zushi and Serah felt bad for startling them.
“Okay, okay, sorry, it’s our fault”. Serah pulled Zax and Anet together and then took Zushi by the hand to join them. “You two still need to find the time to properly explain us when you got so close”. She said gleefully.
“When you decide for yourselves what sort of relationship you have”. Zushi did Zax and Anet the favor of letting them the time to reflect privately first.
Exchanging a glance, Zax and Anet heaved a grateful sigh to Zushi and silently elected to find some time away from their two friends later on.
“Fine”. Anet said to Serah and Zushi.
“Remember that it’s a promise”. Serah said. “Now tell us, were there any conditions for the exchange students invitations?”
“Nothing taxing”. Anet shook her head. “We just need to decide on the date of the week of the exchange students’ seminar and I’ll inform vice principal Mizuri. Now do you want to go to the ‘Summit’?”
“The Summit?” Zushi asked.
Anet looked at Serah. “Didn’t you say that you want to see the most prominent library in Kingdom Earth?”
“I did”. Serah answered.
Anet proudly smiled and straightened herself. ”Then here, in Eden Formation, we have a name for it, Eden Formation’s Summit”.