Kingdom Earth, cave fourteen, El-Eden’s capitol cave.
At the three hundredth and seventy second floor, the top floor, of a crystal like executive building a red headed middle age woman wearing a golden white suit and white high heels, waited impatiently next to a close door.
The woman had a vexed facial expression and could not bear sitting on the lavish seats and waiting at the same time, as the middle age male secretary politely suggested her.
Watching the woman’s nonstop pacing from one side of the door to the other, getting irritated with each passing minute, behind his desk, the middle age secretary made his utmost to act invisible.
This secretary’s experience in his vocation was top notch. He was aware of every decision that came out from the office the woman was waiting to enter and from the moment he saw her exiting the elevator, he could tell not just who she is, but why she arrived. As for her temperament… it was so apparent that, upon seeing the red headed woman, even the greenness secretary would be able to assess and know how to conduct himself with her.
Hence, when the woman asked to see the person behind the closed door, despite her not making an appointment, the middle age secretary courteously offered her to sit while he will see what he can do.
Since then, over an hour had passed and the previously tranquil atmosphere of the floor transformed to suffocating sedateness.
Suddenly the middle age secretary’s eyes shone brightly as a message appeared in the screen of the office’s Caller on his desk.
“Send her in”
Those three words were like a boon from the Supreme Rulers themselves.
The middle age secretary got up from his seat, attracting the attention of the woman as he approached her.
Opening the door to the office on the other side, the middle age slightly bowed. “Please enter, Don Ram”.
The red headed woman, who was none other than Eden Formation’s school principal, Don Dauch, coldly walked in as the door behind her closed.
The office room atop the three hundredth and seventy second floor was spacious, yet very humble in compassion to the building it was part of.
A sewn carpet was spread at the center of the metallic floor. Against the left and right walls were a steel cart with thick books and a stand with clean glasses and three liquor bottles.
Welcoming Don into the office was a tall, slanted eyes middle age man with short black hair, wearing a dark blue suit. He leaned against a one legged desk, behind it was an ergonomic chair and a one way glass wall that viewed over the upscale vicinity.
“Well, Don, since you came here without letting my secretary know, aren’t you going to greet me first?” The man asked in a solemn voice while being completely leisurely.
“Eden formation’s school principal, Don Dauch, thank you for seeing me in such a short notice, chairman of the school board, Marksim Dauch”. Don said with humility, emanating indulgence, presenting an entirely opposite front than the one she had outside of the office. “For avoiding me for the last couple of days and making me wait almost two hours after I catch you in your office, all because you were dilly dallying, feeling apprehensive from seeing me after going around my back to take control over a matter I personally dealt with, and had yet to incorporate to the school, I, Don Dauch, greet twice, thrice and extremely impressed with school board’s chairman’s nerves”. In a blink, Don’s mannerism flared, and her tongue teased and stung as a spiteful countenance stared daggers at Marksim. “Was my greeting to your liking, elder cousin?” She asked with her chin raised high.
Her cousin was a second level Core Master, just like her. In terms of cultivations, he was a bit faster and a phase above her, but with regards to proficiency in formations, the Dauch family’s specialty, he was inferior to her. In the family’s enterprise, as the chairman of Eden Formation’s school board, Marksim had a slightly higher position than Don, but she never permitted him to hold it above her head.
Disregarding Don’s sarcasm, Marksim turned his back to her, sighing to the one way glass wall and moved on to the ergonomic chair before facing Don again with a humorless mien.
Goading her to greet him was merely to test the water of how severe was her mood. Of course, he was already prepared for the worst, in a way he brought it upon himself. To make matters even more worse, due to the four and a half hours essential exchange he had over the Caller, he made her wait with her anger boiling, before allowing her in. Still, if there was a chance to avoid an argument with an immediate family member such as Don, Marksim would have gladly taken it instead of flattering his vanity and letting it pass.
With his better understand of Don’s current temperament, Marksim made his choice of selecting in which manner to conduct this engagement. In this particular case, he heaved a sigh of languishment for he knew that being familial will debilitate his stance.
“Perfectly fine”. Marksim retorted. “Now, would you please take a seat”. He gestured across his desk to the two white chairs.
“Now, now, cousin, my legs are not as feeble as yours”. Don snorted. “I’ll stand”.
‘B***h!’ Marksim cursed. ‘If entertainment before business you seek…’ He loved his cousin and believed that on some Sun Stone stormy days she also tolerantly thought of him, but because of the correlation in their jobs and positions, conflicts between the two infrequently occurred, which caused instantaneous frictions.
“Please, Don, you came here uncoordinated with my schedule. I will appreciate it if you, at least, manage your wild temper so we would be able to discuss with even minds whatever making you grumble”. Marksim leaned forward, almost reaching to the other side of the desk with his gesturing hand, making his request even more sincere.
‘Tenacious ass!’ With a delicate smile Don accepted the chair. “If cousin can’t stand the sight of an imposing woman, I won’t make it difficult for you”. She sat down, looking as comfortably as a queen on the ruler’s throne.
‘Not make it difficult for me? What about the shitload of men you scare every night in their dreams?’ Marksim inhaled in wonder. “Don’t speak nonsense, Don, although not exactly on time, my doors are always open for you. And in my office, please, be as comfy as you can, whether it is by standing or sitting on a broo- excuse me… chair”. He hurriedly corrected himself with a straight face, not showing a hint of apology or cynically, just acting as if it was an honest mistake.
‘Very good… If you care so little for your office, I don’t mind being a tad rougher…’
Don applied a bit of force and the steel legs of the chair she sat on fractured the metallic floor.
“Oh, my! Cousin, is your pitiful looking decor made for children? It breaks so easily over an adult weight!” Don put her hand to her mouth, feigning astonishment and modesty while covering an apparent belittling smile.
‘No, no, no, no, no, sweet cousin, it is your fat ass that is the problem’. Marksim had to actually bit his tongue in order to prevent himself from speaking these words outloud. “Don, I assume you came here with a real issue on your mind and not just to share pleasantries, please don’t hold it back anymore”. Since they were on his turf, Marksim was worried that if they will continue this arduous game there will not by a turf for him to have. As for the said issue, though he already knew what it was about, he refrained from addressing it before Don. Otherwise, will it not be the same as recognizing the mistake Don blames him for?
Don puckered her brows. Finally getting serious and to the point. “Marksim, what went inside your bloated when you decided to misuse your position to snatch the reins in this matter that I handled on my own?!”
“I’m sorry, Don, but I have truly did not do nothing wrong”. Marksim gave her equally stern stare.
“Marksim, what being obstinate will help you?” Don pressed her lips together after asking. Opening them again before Marksim could answer, she said. “…Fine, if you insist for me to be blunt, then I will”.
“Here is a series of questions for you… Why did you release the information connecting one of our students to the Derneldar family’s incident? Recurring Zax Zel was my initiative, what made you think that you can interfere? Now that practically anyone and everyone in Kingdom Earth know that we are backing an individual, which destroyed a great family, one of our biggest donors, who is supposed to handle the criticism of the other high class families that donate to the school? Can you comprehend the mess that would occur if someone will snoop around the school and its last events and discover Zax’s identity? You even went and announced that we picked a seeded candidate, do you think that the other two schools and great families will turn blind eyes toward this statement?!”
Marksim slammed his hand on his desk. Though he did so only for the sound effect deterrent and barely put any strength in his palm, it was still a blow that would have shattered a regular desk to smithereens. And yet, there was not even a tiny fracture on the smooth black surface of his desk.
“That’s enough, Don, do you really believe that I have to give you an account for each of my decisions? Yes, you first managed the matter of Zax Zel, but the moment you handed him a set of school uniforms, he was no longer your own personal matter, but the whole school, as well! Trading one of our biggest donors for him put even greater responsibility on how he should be supervised. You, alone, sadly, cannot be the sole bearer of this investment!” Marksim palm clenched to a fist. His words lashed out in a manner similar to when an adult scolds a child.
“Marksim, I won’t take it silently if you’ll try to coerce me just because you are the school board’s chairman. If you don’t plan to answer my previews questions, then I dare you to not answer this one, do you know who is the power behind Zax Zel?” Don sneered at Marksim.
“I do”. Marksim said, short and firm. “However, put it aside for a moment, Don, allow me to be magnanimous and answer the key points of your questions”. Typing on his desk, several lights shone underneath Marksim’s fingers and a see through holographic image appeared between his and Don’s line of sight.
The holographic image was of more than fifty file icons with different title on each one.
“Names of agents of companies, organizations and high class families who investigated what happened in the Derneldar’s territory. Each of them contains how far they have gotten in their investigation. Couple of them are not related to the Derneldar’s case, but will still surprise you”. Marksim swiped his finger in a circular way and a holographic blue dot appeared on Don’s side.
Don pressed the blue dot with her finger and began to browse the files.
“You might possess some of this information, but not all of it. Not the critical stuff I collected”. Marksim spoke as Don read what each file contained. Some of the file did not made her bat an eyelash, very few, very crucial, caused an ugly expression to form on her face.
“I’m sure, Don, you had the intention to do what I did, merely on a later date and gradually. Unfortunately, as you can see, that, more likely, would have been too late. Consequently, I chose to let us be the ones who reveal what happened… mostly. That does not mean that I gave away any indication that the school supports either party, only that we treat it as an internal affair that we, you, tried to mediate until both parties decided to settle on their own”.
“Of course, failing to mediate will not put any sort of blame on you or the rest of the school. I made sure of that to avoid complications with the school’s donors and devotees”. Marksim assured while Don continued to read.
File after file, she paid most of her attention to the highlighted red lines that were marked ahead of time. ‘There is even an illustration of Zax’s face!’ Don was aghast.
With all of the preventive measure she took to get rid of the surveillance footages, whether those that were taken in the Derneldar’s territory or those in the Callers she confiscated from her students, it was only possible to create an illustration of Zax’s face by getting his description from people who saw him with their own eyes. Such people could only be the former staff of the Derneldar family and the students who watched Zax fight with the Disciplinary Class.
As far as her students go, in the last students’ assembly she already fabricated a story for the student body and faculty and showed a fake picture of the perpetrator, Zax, so until he will get caught, everyone should be careful while outside of school’s grounds.
Now, with the recent headlines Marksim released, if Zax is to be the seeded candidate of the school, she will need to sort out an excuse to explain the fake story and picture, which would be more of a headache than a trouble, but still…
Aside from her students, to erase Zax’s face from the minds of the Derneldar’s staff… Zax’s own crushing entrance to the Derneldar’s territory had done that. And with regards to the Mist Users who fought him, they were exterminated.
The gears in Don’s head worked extra hard to figure how someone was able to get such a detailed illustration of Zax. ‘What or who did I miss?!’ She questioned herself until her eyes landed on the answer, a few lines below the illustration.
“Danzel cooperation” Don’s eyes nearly bulged. The Danzel Cooperation was a group of seventy five companies that originated from the Core Breaker Guild. The amount of experts this cooperation has is staggering, and its connection in the Core Breaker Guild and everything related to it, runs very deep. Though they did not have similar level experts, their level of influence was just a bit lower than the number one and two great families of Kingdom Earth’s three regions.
‘If the Danzel Cooperation was willing to invest heavily, than finding how Zax look like would be possible for them, but according to the file’s date, they gathered their information before Marksim’s release. What made them care about the downfall of the Dernalder family before that?’ Don hoped that the file contains the answer for this question, also.
“No foreign mist signature… a bodily cultivator defeated Sibera Dernalder” The file read. ‘Impossible! How could they deduce that? The mist detonation should have contaminated all the mist signatures in the Dernalder family’s territory’.
“Marksim, how could they discover that the one who fought with Sibera was a bodily cultivator? Why did the care about happened to the Dernalder family in the first place?” Don did not have the patient to read and wanted an immediate answer.
Because the holographic image was not completely solid, Marksim was able to follow Don as she read and so knew what raised those questions.
“Sibera’s old companions are powerful figures in the Denzel Cooperation. They initiated the investigation of the Dernalder family. How they discovered Zax’s cultivation and his appearance… I can probe into it, but they will end up knowing. For now I decided to put an eye on them. If Sibera’s old companions want to take revenge or simply interested to recruit Zax, I’ll find out before giving them the chance to make a move”. Marksim promised so Don will not worry about Zax’s safety.
Marksim did not continue from where Don stopped him with her questions. He saw from her expression that most of her resentments for his action were dispersed by what she read about the Danzel Cooperation. He believed that if he had asked her what she would have done in his place, her response would have been either utter silence or confession that she would also make the some public releases.
“For the past seventy two years, Eden Formation did not have one seeded entry. By claiming that we have a seeded candidate, those who uncovered or will uncover Zax’s identity, will have to take carefully before approaching him. Even then, families, schools, organizations… whoever they may be, their best choice would be to act as if he is made of fire”.
Don stopped reading and leaned back. Marksim pressed on his desk and the holographic image disappeared. Nothing obstructed his and Don’s line of sight from each other.
‘Knowing his Master’s situation, it should not be difficult to convince him to let Zax officially be part of our school. We can even form an alliance that would help him against that tribe. He can keep his bodily refinement technique-’
“Zax’s sister, Zetsa, already confirmed it. Her Master will not share his technique”. Don interrupted.
“We only need someone in the right age and with exceptional talent to take first place, did his sister opposed of us using her brother?”
“Then everything should work out with their Master, as well”. Feeling some serenity returns to the atmosphere of his office, Marksim’s sternness softened.
“In Valgarel, we will keep him safe and his Master satisfied by offering several formations that would aid him against that tribe and its forces. In Kingdom Earth, I wonder, who will dare to lay a hand on the seeded candidate Ten Ram gave his consent for?”