“Err… excuse me, sir, Kartion Ram”, Molian meekly interrupted, adding the honorific title common in Kingdom Earth. “Joining the transport outside of New Earth would be impossible. Our group can only lead as far as the other side of the pathway to the surface of the earth, since a return trip isn’t guaranteed”.
“Are you saying that I’ll never get to see again my young Martial sister?” Hagen flapped her wings in a huff.
“I- I don’t know”. Molian hurried to say. “All I’m aware of is that for Mr. Zel’s relatives and friends the safest place is somewhere not in New Earth, and that heading there must be done with haste since his enemies are soon to show up and when they will, according to my superior, they will only shy from offending His Valor Ozeyn. So… lack of time is basically the problem. You can join the escort outside of New Earth, but by then wanting to return may be too late”.
“Big sister Hagen, it will be okay. Master, everyone, I understand your intention. If I was in your position, I’d have probably insisted too, but… the enemy is not the Black Horns tribe anymore…” Zetsa hardened her tone of voice, yet did not speak further. What she was implying was plain to their ears, even in the subtle manner she used.
“Zetsa”, Grandmaster Kartion said in heavy tone, halted mid speech, heaved from his flared nostrils and continued. Their eyes met and he could still see the features of the little girl he once picked as his apprentice. “Not forever”. He finally said with meaning that sounded obscure, yet not to his daughter.
His words weighed more than everything that could be added by the rest of the household, put together, so they let their intersecting gazes say their piece, all but one who Zetsa had to say goodbye to face to face.
There were twelve armored vehicles parked in front the pathway from New Earth to Ercas Mir. Each gave the impression that its formation embroiled alloy could withstand the strikes of Peak Mist Lords and that its unique set of six wheels could traverse any terrain in existence.
There were seventeen passenger seats in every vehicle, minus one for the driver.
Standing not far from the pathway, surrounded by black suited men and women and a whole lot of confused and chary people, family members and friends, Laylen held Liz in her arms while Marco carried their bags and luggage.
After being taken from their home, the three were driven to a secluded hangar where they saw coming and meeting members of the extended family, as well as old friends and families of their son’s old friends.
From there, with barely a chance to talk, they were put on buses that left the hangar one every ten to twenty minutes that were headed to the pathway, to which their bus arrived fifteen minutes ago.
“Mom, let me down, mommy!” Seeing the children that followed the adults, among which were several of her close age cousins, little Liz felt like joining them, running around playing.
As she and all the other kids saw more familiar faces, they naturally felt more secure.
“Not, Liz, stop!” Laylen’s brows creased, partly from gauging the many faces in search for Zetsa, who she was told would also be here, partly from counting the many people whose lives, she could not deny, her son implicated.
“Give her to me, Laylen”. Marco let go of the handles on the luggage and took his daughter. “Go look for her”. He had the same idea of his wife.
“Marco, do you know what’s going on?” A man with a few similarities in his facial features with Marco, accompanied by two youngsters, a teen boy and an older teen girl, as well as a woman in her mid thirties, came asking.
“Manny, Kaya”, Marco tensely greeted his younger brother and sister in law.
“Laylen?” Manny perplexedly looked at her as she brushed past him without a hello.
“She went to search for Zetsa”. Marco explained.
“Zetsa? She’s also supposed to come?” Kaya asked with signs of relief. Zetsa was a well respected cultivator. She, her husband and children were anxious due to the domineering black suited men and women that brought them here. Knowing that shortly there will be an expert they could rely on made them feel comforted in this perplexing situation.
“Uncle Marco, big sister Zetsa really coming?” The boy who was thirteen or fourteen asked. Other than sharing the same current sentiment as his mother, Zetsa was an object for admiration to all the members of the family, especially for the younger generation with aspiration for Martial cultivation.
“She will”. Marco nodded. Before being able to say anything more, his brother cut in.
“Marco, we came together with dad and mom. Nissa and Gerison are with them with their families. We were all told the same thing…“ He hesitated to repeat with Liz and his children present. “Anyway, everyone is getting together trying to figure out what’s happening; you two and Laylen should not remain alone”.
Although most of them belonged to the same family, there were several, like Marco and Laylen, who for various reasons tarried beside their immediate households.
“Dad, I want to go to grandma and grandpa”. Liz said.
“Manny, we’ll join you when Laylen return”. Marco said, not arguing with Liz.
“Honey, maybe we should wait with them?” Kaya told her husband. She really hoped to see the expert of the family as soon as possible.
“Liz, come to me”. Manny’s and Kaya’s sixteen or seventeen years old daughter reached out and plucked the enthusiastic Liz from Marco’s grasp. “Kirik, take out that games pad”. She asked in her big sister authoritarianism.
Just like this, Manny and his family stuck longer together with Marco and Liz as more family members converged with them.
“Zetsa, it is Zetsa!” At a certain point someone in the crowed cried in elation.
To be frank, up until this moment, the atmosphere around Marco was growing sullen. It did not take much for people to notice that those brought over by the black suited men and women could be divided into two categories, members of the family and tiny groups of strangers who had more in common, by their greetings, with the branch side of Marco in the Zel family.
Moreover, as more gathered, it was not a secret anymore, even to the children, that the cause they were all assimilated in what seemed to be mass relocation, was due to someone in the Zel family offending an unheard of but very dangerous bad people.
Nevertheless, not one yet openly asked Marco or Ger, the oldest member of the Zel family, a detailed explanation. At most, some of Marco’s brothers and sister, Ger’s children, tried to gently inquire. They were all holding their tongues from lashing due to the black suited men and women who warned from rioting or anything of the sort, and the existence of two particular figures… one that just arrived, Zetsa, and another that earlier met with Laylen and then joined with her family to the cluster around Marco, Anet.
“Miss Zetsa”, before anyone of the people gathered could get to her, a short, broad shouldered black suited man called with voice amplified by mist energy that created a deterrent effect.
The black suited man took off his black spectacles, held them with two fingers and glanced at his subordinates. “Put everyone in the Shelled Wagons”. He ordered and averted his attention back to Zetsa. “I’m Figed Esgad Takeda”. He spoke with an imposing bearing, yet his name could only be heard by Zetsa.
‘A third level Core Master from the Takeda family… So they are the ones helping Zax’. Zetsa deduced. She saw her parents, little sister and the rest being loaded onto the armored vehicles. Some made eye contact with her, pleading for help, they wanted to go home. She only let her vision meaningfully linger on her parents and Anet, though it was indeterminate if in their present mindset they could interpret the assuredness in her look.
Not waiting for Zetsa to respond, Figed Esgad expounded. “The pathway to above ground… the world called ‘Ercas Mir’ is long, fraught with all kinds of terrain hazards and so unfit for a march. Hence, the Shelled Wagons. My people will take you up to the exit of the pathway, drop you there and turn back immediately. Another group of people that belongs to the outside will take care of you from there, but it is essential that you, more than anyone else, will give an example by cooperating with the second group, do you understand why?”
“Yes”. Zetsa nodded, yet inwardly even she felt a degree of restlessness. Transporting all the people related to her younger brother, forcing them to move, perhaps indefinitely, was unconscionable. And then there was the concept of where they are going to be relocated into, the world above ground, beneath the blue sky!
Zetsa had to strive in order to restrain her bottled up emotions from bursting. It was every human’s and beast’s dream in New Earth to see the blue sky.
“Alright”. Figed Esgad’s rough countenance lightened. “There is nothing more for me to say, get on the first Shelled Wagon”.
Thirteen figures burst out of the waters of the Seer Don Ocean. Dashing in flight, they kept a steady pace that they all could keep up with, but was sufficiently fast for reaching their destination in time.
“We will arrive to Selivereb in less than two hours. Zax, you are to remember not to reveal your identity under any circumstances. If otherwise something will happen to your people, it would be on your head!” Bonjier emphasized in her animalistic Black Feathered Lioness form.
“You don’t have to remind me again”. Zax creased his brows. Simply thinking about the cause for the operation angered him. He was not sure that even after getting everyone safely to the chain’s base, he will be able to face with his loved ones.
He silently flew at the forefront, maintaining the visage of a lanky old man with combed hair.
It did not take long for them to reach the Western’s continent coastline, where they stow away the Voyage Charms in their pockets or some unseen place on their bodies – the beasts among them who stayed in animalistic forms.
“Hey, something isn’t right”. Seconds after entering the forest of Titan Kapok Trees, Kloky, the first to survey the area with his Sublime Soul Senesce, announced. “I can’t detect anything, as if the entire forest is shrouded by a Soul Sense obstructing formation”.
“How could that be?” Soybam Peter, a six handed, a meter and a half, brown and emerald furred Spider Ape retorted. “There were no signs of sigils or marks reacting to your probe”.
“Odd”, Rockwell’s pupils contracted. “I can tell that we are progressing in the right direction, but no matter where I look, the vista appears exactly the same. Could this be a natural occurring formation?”
“It can’t be. It’s too coincidental. Not to mention that naturally occurring formations normally influence one sense. If it was a brief natural phenomenon, Donkey would have warned us in advance, yet she said nothing when we talked”. Bonjier reasoned.
“Do you think something happened to Donkey?” Kloky frowned and the entire group slowed down.
“Wait”. Zax said before someone could answer or raise a speculation. ‘My vision and Soul Sense are impaired by some obstruction, but whatever it may be; due to its range it seems that it could not be much intricate. The attribute worldly energy is still accessible and with my level of understanding… let’s see if I can bypass this obstruction’.
“Mm?” Fierce black, dark attribute energy all of a sudden erupted around Zax and his eyes glared at the far distance. “The five powers, Luminous Church and Blessed Army, they are here, along with a fourth level Martial Mortal!”
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