Earth's Core by Lonahora B8 C37 OUT!

Hi, guys!

Not quite good in introduction… Earth’s Core is
a story that I’m working on for a while now for both improving my English and
writing skills.

If you have notes I’ll gladly welcome them!


Synopsis by: Kory, winner of the Synopsis Competition!

A great shift in the rules of Nature have sent the world of man and beast to flee the surface. Below the Earth, a titanic network of caves become the new home of the two species. To preserve what life and peace they can the massive caves were divided, giving humans and beasts their own separate sovereign lands.

Years pass….

Suddenly, the discovery of powerful objects that empower those lucky enough to find them, leads the world of man to cross the borders and invade. Wars between the humans and the beasts over these precious “Earth Cores” begin. Technology and new resources begin to be used to strengthen humans, and the wars continue.

Years pass….

Three human generals reaching a new peak in their Martial cultivation rebel against the leaders of man, and lead “New Earth” to peace. An agreement is reached between the worlds of man and beast, and humans are slowly led into an era of enlightenment.

A new world of Martial cultivation begins, a world where every man, woman, and child receive an Earth Core of their own. Into this world is born the unique soul of a young boy; born destined, coerced, and forced into finding a new path to power.

As the entire New Earth below idly stares up wondering…

What has become of the surface?

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  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core

    Chapter 1 – Under The Surface Of The
    Earth

     

    “O Earth, O Earth, how long, how many?

    Set me free, O Earth, O Earth, Let
    nothing remain.

    Others came and gone, O Earth, why me?

    O Earth, cast me away, cast me away”.

     

    For the last thousands of years, since
    Nature's rules have suddenly changed and humanity's place at the top of the
    food chain has diminished, human beings, along with other creatures who could
    not handle the change, have moved away from the surface of the earth to an
    asylum, kilometers beneath it.

    Back then, 5775 years ago, it was
    thanks to a joint effort of a human and a beast that allow the discovery of the
    network of tunnels and giant caves underneath the earth. Soon after said
    discovery, the surviving population of humans, nearly eight hundred
    million in number and around 100 million different kinds of beasts who could not
    handle life on the surface of the earth, had immigrated underground and lived
    in separation of species.

    Underground, exploration of the tunnels
    and caves continued nonstop until 3705 years after the mass immigration. Nature's
    new rules had been set, and humanity and beasts sensed that there was nothing
    more for them to discover.

    To sum up the results of 2070 years of
    exploration in one word, “Miraculous” would be the right way to put it.
    Although Nature, as some may say, turned its back on humanity and beasts, it
    sure has proven that for one drastic change within it, which can be considered
    unfavorable, another that is just as extreme and of the opposite side of the
    spectrum, will take place.

    How is it interpreted in relation to
    the network of tunnels and caves? Firstly, the majority of caves were big
    enough to host cities of millions of people each, and some of the key point
    tunnels were hundreds of meters high and wide. Not to mention that this network
    covered nearly half of the planet! In many caves and tunnels even rich greenery
    and deep and wide clear water lakes were discovered. And yet, the most
    significant discovery came in the shape of bulky stone, a special type of
    crystal that seemed to grow only inside this vast network of tunnels and giant
    caves.

    These crystals gained the name “Sun
    Stones” and became no less valuable than holy items and Heaven’s miracles to
    both humanity and beasts. The initial reason for this was the light radiating from
    the Sun Stones, which mimicked the sun’s light rays, but did not possess the
    negative effects of overexposure. The Sun Stone that mostly grew at the
    ceilings of the tunnels and caves were high in number and varying in sizes. The
    biggest discovered were around a few meters in diameter and the smallest around
    the size of a child’s nail. Just to give an idea to how bright the Sun Stone
    are, a crystal with a diameter of ten centimeters could light up a small hall
    and literally turn night into day. In the following years humanity will find a
    way to harvest the Sun Stones’ radiation, at the same time solving the
    clean energy problem.

    A few decades after sharing the
    complete report regarding the exploration of the underground, humanity and
    beasts finished their adaptation process to their new life, the boundaries
    between species were agreed upon and drawn on the rough maps, “New Earths”
    maps, describing the network of tunnels and giant caves areas, and the New
    Erath’s calendar was officially set, starting from the last day of immigration.
    That was the start of the 3001 year.

    Year 3997.

    Not far from one of humanity’s most
    populated colonies, named the Taltalon colony after its founding father and
    mother, situated a couple hundred meters from the end of
    the tunnel that marked the border between species, a stream of earthquakes
    coming from the beasts’ side shocked the colonists to their bones. The first
    few hours no one dared to leave his home, but once it became unbearable, some
    brave and stupid ones decided to check the source of the earthquakes.

    What they saw froze them on their feet.
    Underground earthquakes in New Earth were rare but not that stupefying since
    they usually were caused by nature. However, not this time!

    Two unseen before beasts, less than ten
    meters from humanity territory, were in a standoff. The bigger of the two was a
    horse like creature, almost six meters tall with red mane and eyes and brown
    hair. The other, the human spectators could only categorize as a type of fox
    only because the shape of its body and head. From the tip of its two tails to
    the edge of its nose, to its sharp nails, it was completely yellow and two and
    a half meters long.

    Only when the two beasts began to move
    again, some of the men watching seemed to understand both the cause of the
    earthquake and its reason. The two beasts were fighting over some kind of an
    earth stone.

    The earth stone was beneath the horse’s
    torso and whenever the eager fox tried to snatch it or bite the horse’s legs,
    the horse would try to kick its head only to miss and strike the ground in
    disdain. This was the cause of the earthquakes.

    Afraid for their life, the best that
    some of the viewers could do to escape was crawl on their knees, while those
    who did not turn their back, being too intrigued with
    the scene before them, gave up on trying to stand and set on the ground,
    believing that no matter what kind of beasts these two really were, they would
    respect the boundaries between two species.

    The two fought for another hour before
    the horse finally gave up keeping the earth stone for itself. The fox let out a
    satisfied purr when it saw the horse steps back, although that purr only last a
    second since faster than any of the fox’s movement during their fight, the
    horse kicked the stone, breaking its earthly cover and sending to the human’s
    territory  a round shiny object. The fox fur immediately stood on its back
    in resentment. Right away it was about to cross over the border and then
    stopped when the horse neighed aloud before returning to the deepest parts of
    the beasts’ territory.

    The fox’s eyes were fixed on the
    direction the object flew at and then rested on the frightened humans. Knowing
    the rules it relaxed its tense tails and ears and turned around without looking
    back.

    Jumping on their feet and running as if
    possessed by the spirits of the two beasts, any of the human spectators who saw
    clearly how the feud ended tried to get first to where the shiny object as
    landed. They arrived to the wheat fields before the first line of cabins in the
    colony. All panting yet still moving nonstop, speculating the value of the
    shiny object and eager to find it.

    They even ignored the calls of the
    people who gathered outside since the firsts that returned on their knees
    arrived and spread what they saw.

    “There!” A deep voice called and
    everyone. Those who searched and those stood with confused facial expressions,
    ran to see what the forty something man had found.

    Not sure if he should touch it, the man
    only let his voice attract everyone and then stood the closest to the object as
    everyone gathered. On the ground, in the size of a grown man fist was a sphere,
    a smooth object that shone with a mud brown color. When the eyes
    surrounding the sphere approached closer, reflected from the inside they saw
    light brown mist.

    “Well… take it, Erdar, you found it”.
    One man tried to push the first to discover the sphere to also be the first to
    touch it. In truth that man also coveted the sphere, if it turns out to be some
    sort of a gemstone, then its owner would become the richest man in the colony.
    The reason that this man still pushed Erdar to take the sphere was its place of
    origin. Since he was one of those who saw the fight till the very end, he assumed,
    like everyone else that has been there or heard and believed the story about
    the two never seen before creatures, that anything that unfamiliar might be dangerous.

    Knowing that if he will refuse to take
    the strange sphere he will instantly lose his right for it, Erdar, who was not
    very rich and his closest relative was his father, which had not many years to
    live anyway, decided to bet on his life. His hand hesitantly hovered above the
    sphere and then, thinking about the fox’s face and how it was willing to fight
    to the death with the horse just to get it, his five fingers formed a claw and
    snatched the sphere to his chest.

    One second, to ten second… for one
    whole minute all gazes rested on Erdar while his eyes remained close, hoping
    that nothing bad will happen. And then “I struck it rich!” Erdar screamed in
    his heart. “Unbelievable! Unbelievable!” his eyes opened as everyone finally
    realized that thunder was not going to strike today.

    To make the analogy clear, when water
    from above the ground seeps into the earth and wets the small Sun Stones at the
    ceilings of the tunnels and caves, a scenario that repeats itself every few
    years, dozens of the smallest Sun Stones explode in a manner that sounds like
    the ancient thunder storms. Even ray of light that replace the all might
    lightning occur in those time and causes small fires. That is the only down
    size of living in New Earth. And even though no one could find out why only
    waters from above causes this reaction in contact with Sun Stones, while the
    water from the clear water lakes has no effect on the crystals whatsoever, they
    all become accustomed to these events and learned how to deal with the fires
    quite fast by mainly using their irrigation systems.

    “Haha! Everyone, today drinks are on
    me!” Erdar announced and made his way through the crowd of envy eyes. Bitter,
    everyone followed him to his favorite tavern in the colony, complying with the
    saying that with a bottle of ale even the poorest man could feel rich for a
    day.

    “Salony, feast your eyes. Today I,
    Erdar, will quench the thirst of my fellow men and women”. Erdar called loudly
    at the barkeep that numbered with the few that stayed at their place of work or
    homes during the earthquake.

    “And how are you planning on doing it
    when just yesterday you avoided a discussion with me about your two months old
    tab?” Salony ignored Erdar’s jolly mood.

    “Listen to him, Salony”, a few men
    stepped in. “That lucky bastard found a gemstone from the beasts’ side!”

    “A gemstone?!” Salony changed
    his attitude towards Erdar in a flash. “Then it should be my finest bottle
    for my dearest costumer and friend of over ten years!”

    “Haha, Salony, I like how nice you have
    become. Fine, pour your best drink three times to every empty cup, I will pay
    for it gladly and also close my tab today”.

    Hearing Erdar’s order, everyone cheered
    before he could change his mind, afraid of another saying that when a poor man
    turns rich so fast his judgment also turns very fickle.

    “I sure would like to see for myself
    the gemstone that you found, of course, only if you don’t mind”. Salony said to
    Erdar while purring him the forth cup.

    “Why not”. Erdar agreed and reached
    into his coat inner pocket. “Empty?” Erdar did not dare to say aloud. “No, it’s
    got to be there”. He checked the next pocket and the other three on the right
    side of his coat, but he could not find the brown gemstone.

    “Thief!” In an act of desperation Erdar
    suddenly shouted. Until the moment his left hand struck Salony’s back to harry
    up with his drink, it did not left the pocket where he safeguarded the
    gemstone, and now it was empty and because his head was so high near the
    surface he did not know who might have snatched it and so refrained from pointing
    fingers. “Thief! Thief! Who dared to steal my gemstone?” He could only continue
    shouting.

    In the blink of an eye, inside the
    tavern, a commotion erupted. The good people of the Taltalon colony who joined
    a free drink, Salony, the owner and barkeep of the tavern and above everyone
    else, Erdar, began to blame one another. From shouting, to cursing to
    eventually throwing fists, the lost gemstone made the peaceful colonists mad.
    Most got angered for the act of theft - an unforgiveable crime in any of the
    human colonies. Some, for just knowing the gemstone disappeared, even though it
    was not theirs. One, because he already poured two rounds of, apparently, free
    drinks. Others, because they did not receive their promised third.

    “You! You, Erdar! You and your lies!”
    Salony snapped, stepped over the counter and threw a punch that landed on
    Erdar’s nose.

    Blood spurted from Erdar’s nose, but
    when he was about to curse and fight back, “Bowaa!” he felt like his inside
    spilling out from his mouth. Seeing the great amount of blood coming out from
    first, Erdar’s mouth, then his eyes and ears until finally his body fell on the
    tavern’s floor, shacking like it was about to burst, everyone jumped back and
    the commotion subsided.

    “Poison! The thief also used poison.
    Hurry, someone call doctor Ernis!” One man shouted and immediately someone ran
    out. By that time Erdar stopped moving. Everything, every part of his body was
    too painful. He could no longer taste or smell the puddle of blood of his making.
    Last thing he saw was the color red, all red.

    “I’m dying. I’m really going to die.
    Why all I see is black…?” At death’s door a strange serenity took hold of
    Erdar. “Rich or dead, rich or dead. I brought it upon myself. But who could
    believe that it will be because an act of theft. Very unlike of anyone that I
    know…” He discussed with himself as the white light approached. “What’s that?
    What’s happening?” A sudden burning sensation from his stomach spread all over
    his body.

    “Where is he?! Get me to-” Old doctor
    Ernis and two young paramedics arrived together with the man who went to call
    them. The moment doctor Ernis saw Erdar’s poor state his mouth shut. “We need
    to hurry”, he opened again and gave orders. “Forget everything and just place
    him properly on the stretcher. “Oh, how could such thing have happened in our
    colony?!”

    Without anyone's knowledge, time began
    to move differently between Erdar and the men and women around him. By the time
    doctor Ernis and the two paramedics reached Erdar’s side, a certain event had
    already taken place inside the seemingly dying man.

    The color of the white light Eldar
    first thought to be the gate to the afterlife slowly turned dimmer and dimmer.
    The emerging fire in his abdomen was so hot that his soul mistook its heat for
    intense coldness. “Hell, I’m going to the third hell!” Eldar screamed in his
    mind, his soul fought the urge to give up and accept his fate, for he knew that
    after the unavoidable cold fire gates of the third hell all will pass, judgment
    will be given and incarnation will follow.

    “Bang!” Doctor Ernis and the two
    paramedics flew on the surrounding people who all had faces full of
    astonishment. Erdar could finally feel his voice coming out of his throat, his
    ears became sharp, he heard the beating hearts around him, his nose smelled the
    vegetable fields at the other side of the colony and his eyes saw through the
    smallest of cracks on the tavern’s wooden floor as his body stood on all four.

    “Whaaa! It’s good, great, amazing!”
    Erdar had no words to describe how he felt. He raised his right hand and saw
    small brown mist particles coming out of it and getting back in again and
    again. He closed his eyes and for the first time in his life sensed not just
    his body, but also every molecule that made it. His mind sunk deeper in
    concentration and then he noticed it right beneath his navel, the gemstone! It
    was much smaller than when he held it, and there were many cracks on it and
    more forming at a slow pace. From every crack more and more mist got out,
    passing through his internal parts, leaving his body through the skin and
    getting back in. It was an endless cycle of “Heaven!”

    The people in the tavern all looked
    with jaws dropped. In a manner of a few minutes, on the forty something man’s
    bald head black hair plume started growing, his torn and broken from hard work
    skin became as smooth as a baby's bottom and when he opened his once gray and
    foggy eyes a bright luster reflected back at the spectators and they looked
    much sharper.

    “Erdar, don’t move. Let me look at
    you”. Doctor Ernis was so bewildered after witnessing the extraordinary
    phenomenon. He could not care less if he or his two young pupils got injured when
    Erdar woke up and unconsciously hit them. He rudely grabbed Erdar’s chin and
    examined his eyes, opened his mouth, checked for fever but the man was as
    healthy as an ox, even better, he looked twenty years younger!

    “A miracle, an undeniably miracle!” Doctor
    Ernis determined and moved away to take, yet again, a further look at Erdar.

    “Haha, old Ernis, wrong, wrong”. Erdar
    jumped nimbly on his feet and stretched. Doctor Ernis did not know how to
    respond the so sure and confident Erdar. Having nothing to say he just stood
    and listened together with everybody else. “It’s that gemstone I found, it’s
    that, I tell you all. Sorry for all the mess and blaming, nobody stole my
    gemstone, haha…” He had the audacity to laugh it off, but who could prevent
    from laughing a man who a moment ago was as good as dead and now full of life
    like a new born.

    “You son of-” Salony barged, “All of it
    a hoax! How many of you were in it, ah?!” he waved his hands in the air.
    Hearing the word “gemstone” he remembered all the ale he wasted, and seeing the
    broken stools and tables his hands clenched into fists. In pure rage Salony
    shot a straight punch to hit Erdar’s nose again.

    “Slow”. Unlike last time, Erdar could
    not help but be marveled at how slow Salony was. With a nudge of his head he
    escaped the fist’s trajectory and with a step to the side he struck at Salony’s
    back to put him in his place.

    Receiving Erdar’s blow, a sound of
    shattering bones echoed in the tavern. Salony’s spine
    twisted unnaturally and his internals burst. The barkeeper and owner of the
    tavern fell to the floor, dead.

    Soon after, rumors about a gemstone
    that grants superhuman powers spread like wildfire within humanity’s territory.

  • Looks pretty good so far, I might like to see this one continued. Of course, there are mistakes here and there, but since English isn't your native language(I'm assuming from your OP) that is to be expected.

    Anyway, I can't really tell how well the story will go until a few more chapters. :)
  • edited August 2015

    English indeed is not my native language. I've written fifty chapters  so far, so the first forty nine might have a few mistakes...

    I'm glad that you feel like giving another chapter a chance and hope that you and other won't be disappointed. As a heads up I'll say that the first five chapters are the prologue and I'll try to update a chapter or two every day.


    Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 2 – Two Beasts

     

    Year 4097, a hundred years after humanity first discovered
    the existence of what they named “Earth’s Core”, a hundred years of extreme searching
    without a method to follow by, finding and learning the small number of Earth’s
    Cores that were found within their borders, the hundred years with the highest
    records of theft and assassinations since the move to New Earth, ninety-eight
    years after the first human to possess the power of an Earth’s Core was
    murdered, the full report of the Earth’s Core’s research were published to the
    general public.

    The first thing to amaze all avid readers was the report’s opening
    phrase, which was a quote of its lead researcher: “The Earth’s Core is mysterious”.
    Many were stuck on these first words. A hundred years of research and the end
    results starts with the word “Mysterious”, “How could that be?” many asked
    puzzled. The only ones who were not surprised and didn’t pay much attention to
    the opening phrase were those who knew how difficult it was, and still is, to
    find the Earth’s Cores.

    Continuing was a comparison of the Earth’s Core to the
    common Sun Stone. After digging an Earth’s Core and removing its earthly cover
    a various earth tones small sphere, eight to fourteen centimeter in diameter, will be all
    that’s left. The surface of the sphere will be tougher than a diamond and
    smoother than a pearl. Much like the six centimeter in diameter Sun Stones and
    larger, there are no known methods of harming the Earth’s Core with external
    forces, making it the hardest substance of any size known to man. Microscopic
    examination on the light brown mist inside the Earth’s Core represented a
    breakthrough that allowed a higher understanding for why Nature supply the Earth’s
    Core and Sun Stone, crystals of the same family as it appeared, such a hard
    surface. They were meant to contain extreme forces!

    First was the Sun Stone, its brightness made it easy to find and so
    it was thought to be more common. In it a sun like energy is contained, also
    able to project healthy rays of radiation that in the last thousands years
    helped human’s cells evolve to a stage where most diseases do not affect them.

    Second was the Earth’s Core. Growing inside the earth it was
    clearly harder to find than the Sun Stone. Furthermore, of fear from Nature’s
    respond, humanity had to hold back from turning New Earth upside down when
    searching for Earth’s Cores. Eventually only a handful of Earth’s Cores were
    mined within humanity’s borders. Speaking about the mist inside the Earth’s
    Core, the one word all the researched agreed upon unanimously was “Peculiar”.
    Access to the mist is possible only when one become attached to the Earth’s
    core in his or her possession. The Earth’s Core would enter the owner’s body
    and settle itself in the infinite space of the lower dantian, a few centimeters
    below the navel. There, if done properly by meditating, the holder of the
    Earth’s Core will contact the mist inside the Earth’s Core and use it to break
    the now to be describe as “Shell”. The more cracks appears on the shell the
    more mist can leave it. The mist will then go through the Earth’s Core holder’s
    body and strengthen its internals, then go past the bones, skin and hair and
    make them stronger and flexible as well, and end up entering the body again. The
    cycle will continue for twelve times until the mist will settle in the dantian
    and repeat the process, the same number of times, for each new crack that will
    appear on the Earth’s Core, but with greater amount of mist. There are also speculations
    that the Earth's Core will also increase its holder's life span.

    “CAUTION!” The word was emphasized and a warning followed,
    explaining that if one avoids meditating early after the Earth’s Core enters
    the body and instead, at some point in time, the dantian will suffer shocks the
    shell will break on its own and the first cycle of mist leaving and entering
    the body will start, accompanied by unimaginable pain to every part of the body
    and a great loss of blood.

    The one before last part of the Earth’s Core’s report was
    the most astonishing. When the number of cracks on the shell will reach a
    certain amount, the shell would then crumble and will merge with the mist,
    increasing its volume and purity two folds, also changing its color from the
    previews dark brown to bright white. After This breakthrough, the holder of the
    now complete energy form of the Earth’s Core, which now shall receive the title
    “Core Breaker”, for further advancement, will have to continue practicing by
    cultivating the mist energy through meditation.

    Finally the last part of the report stirred the heart of
    every human who read it for good or for bad.

    “CAUTION!” For the moment, within our, humanity territory,
    the act of mining Earth’s Cores has been unanimously declared as illegal by the
    United Governments of New Earth. Therefore, a severe sentence will be given to
    anyone caught handling Earth’s Cores without the consent of the UGNE.

    Reading that last part many understood at once. The UGNE
    didn’t forbid entering the beasts’ territory and mine there. And because the
    interaction with the beasts was limited to only two cases since the move to New
    Earth, one being when the two sides met and agreed upon their boundaries,
    second was the event that took place a hundred years ago near the Taltalon
    colony which less than fourteen people were present at and after some time its
    matter waned out of growing disbelief, no one knew how the beasts evolved over
    time apart from the heads of the UGNE.

    Thus, just like the rush for gold millenniums ago, began the
    rush for Earth’s Cores. As if forgetting or just ignoring the initial agreement
    between two species, herds of humans invaded the beasts’ territory using old
    age technology as firearms for protection, simply because since moving and
    adapting to New Earth the number of advancement in any field reduced to a
    handful in every hundreds of years - experts claimed it was because of the fear
    to anger Nature since the assumption that humans brought upon Nature’s decision
    to change its rules thousands of years ago couldn’t be completely denied.

    Strong men and strong women entered beasts’ caves like a
    wave that topple anything on its way. Within two weeks hundreds of beasts were
    driven from their nests and burrows in the caves that marked the outer parts of
    the beasts’ territory as trees were cut down and heavy power tools that were
    charged by Sun Stones’ radiation shattered the earth. The results, which made
    humanity thrilled, were tens of Earth’s Cores in just a few months. On the
    other hand, the senseless destruction led to thousands of beasts to lose their
    homes and the deaths of at least a hundred who tried to protect their own.

    After the UGNE has officially grabbed control over the quest
    for the Earth’s Cores it announced it as just a research expedition, to cast
    the worries of those that didn’t support entering the beasts’ territory. A year
    has passed, the UGNE possessed now, roughly, five hundred Earth’s Cores and
    under it served thirty to forty Earth’s Cores holders. Over this past year,
    although the number of casualties increased on both sides, humanity had the
    upper hand since from the beginning their numbers overpowered the beasts’ ten
    to one, and by now almost half of the outer caves of the beast’s territory were
    annexed. Humanity seemed to be on the rise, no longer after just Earth’s Cores but
    also every natural resource they could get their hands on, even a market for
    the different kinds of beasts that were killed was opened, encouraging people
    to continue the massacre.

    In the middle of the second year, a sudden death of over ten
    thousand men and women in a single night brought the expedition to a halt. The
    UGNE sent a unit of seven of its Earth’s Core holders, one of which was a Core
    Breaker, to the place where all its workers died. There, according to the
    report of the only two that got back, they encountered three beasts; one was an
    over three meters tall horse with red mane and black scales, second was white
    feathers blue eyes eagle with wingspan of over ten meters and the third was a
    one meter tall, more than half a meter wide, green ape with a crown of yellow
    feathers growing from its third eye.

    The three beasts launched a surprise attack, killing
    instantly two of the seven members of the unit. A third one was saved by the
    Core Breaker, who then started fighting with the green ape which seemed to be
    his equal. The remaining four members paired and went to fight the other two beasts.
    All side fought equally for a while, but then changed for the worse. The five
    members of the unit were caught in a formation that the three beasts have set.
    Forcing the Core Breaker to take the full blow of the formation slowed him down
    enough for the black scales horse and the green ape to perform a joint attack
    and kill two more members of the unit. Realizing his chances for survival are
    slim, the Core Breaker, which was the unit’s leader, commanded the remaining
    two to escape and inform the UGNE of what has happened.

    When the invasion began the UGNE stood back and waited to
    see how the beasts would react. When nothing happened they decided to act,
    partly because they wanted to heighten the progress of the Earth’s Cores’
    search by organizing and leading the different parties properly. Hearing the
    full report, the heads of the UGNE were not moved greatly by the appearance of
    the three beasts, only that they encountered them too early to their estimation.
    That is, in the outer parts of the beasts’ territory.

    They have long suspected that the beasts were aware of the
    Earth’s Core’s existence long before humanity. As to why they never used their
    power to take over all of New Earth even though their territory was smaller
    than that of humanity’s, the UGNE believed that it was because of the beasts’
    nature. No matter how they evolved they are not humans.

    The thing that bothered the UGNE the most was the loss of
    the Core Breaker. A being such as him in their forces was rare. Backed to a
    corner the UGNE reevaluated every man and woman in its forces and depleted its stack
    of Earth’s Core by creating an army of Earth’s Cores holders. In addition to
    the new army, the UGNE offered an Earth’s Core to any new recruit that will be
    found fit to receive one and promised, to pump up those that did not or will
    not receive, that if they will achieve their goal, in the future every man
    woman and child will be able to possess an Earth’s Core for a nominal fee.

    For twenty seven full years the UGNE halted its advancement in
    the beasts’ territory, recreating its army with the power of Earth’s Cores. For
    all this time there was no retaliation coming from the beasts and so the UGNE
    acted with caution as it continued to mine Earth’s Cores. As the new army was
    near perfection it numbered ten million soldiers, Hundred thousand of which
    were Earth’s Core holders and less than a thousand were Core Breakers.

    War broke in the underground word, New Earth. As humanity
    led with greater numbers, the beasts led with superior bodies and much more
    years of experience utilizing the Earth’s Core’s power. Not to mention that any
    of the Core Breaker level beasts demonstrated intelligence equal to that of
    humans.

    The war went on for centuries. Sometimes humanity pushed
    back, sometimes the beasts, but the battle ground never left the first
    two-thirds of the beasts’ outer territory, the humans could not advance any
    further and the beasts never tried to cross the border of two species.

    800 years of war. The UGNE had to, for the first time, pull
    back its forces on its own and passed the beasts’ side a request for a cease fire,
    hoping that it will accept it. After so many years of war its forces numbered
    three million soldiers, twenty thousand Earth’s Core holders and three hundred
    Core Breakers, while the beasts remained resilient as ever. A response didn’t
    arrive, but the beast ceased their attacks on the human. After seven days, two
    figures entered the UGNE’s army camp, camp three seventy-two, and sparked a
    furor, mainly because one of them was fifty meters long and they both came from
    above without anyone noticing. The two were lizard type beasts, the bigger one
    looked like a green scales dragon with purple mane, two silver horns and green
    eyes, the other one was humanoid, around two meters tall with crimson scales
    covering its body and two silver horns come out from the sides of its lizard
    head.

    The humanoid lizard jump down from the wingless back of the
    dragon. Without opening its mouth it passed a telepathic demand to all the
    presence soldiers. “Bring here your leaders”.

    Feeling the two’s unfathomable auras, only one soldier, a
    late phase Earth’s Core holder, could keep his senses straight as the rest of
    the troops fell down to the ground, clenching uncontrollably in fear. Panting
    for breath, that middle age soldier opened his mouth. “Please wait”, he sounded
    like he was begging and set off running to the main camp.

    Running in his top speed, it would not be an exaggeration to
    say that not just his life but also all of humanity’s depends on it - which was
    in this case probably more than just a saying. Don, the middle age soldier,
    reached to the main camp, camp zero zero one, which was located at the border
    of two species in the western caves, after twelve hours of running. Without
    stating the purpose of his arrival he passed the camp’s gourds, scanned the surroundings
    with his aura and hurried to where he felt were the gathering forces, the army’s
    Three Generals.

    The Three Generals served in the UGNE since the creation of
    the Earth’s Core army. All three came from different backgrounds; one was the
    son of a great colony leader, second was the daughter of a UGNE’s official and third
    was the son of a widow who remarried with a farmer. The three got to know each
    other during their battles and became closer by changing points in their
    training. Eventually they toast for brotherhood and sisterhood, becoming not
    just for one another, but also the whole UGNE’s army’s pillars of support.

    Having nothing to do but wait for orders after the last one
    for a cease fire has been given; the Three General spent their time in the
    company of one another. Two of the generals engaged in a game of chess while
    the third was busy writing a scroll when Don barged into their tent. Feeling
    the cold gaze of Third General, Don immediately bowed. “Lieutenant Colonel Don
    Hakate stands, forgive this one for his rudeness, Three Generals. A great deal
    has happened in my camp, camp three seventy-two, and so I rushed here
    indiscriminate”.

    “Speak”. Second General played her move on the chess board
    and said.

    “Yes, Second General. Half a day ago two mighty lizard type
    beasts, one dragon, one humanoid entered our northeastern camp and demanded a session
    with its leaders”.

    “Oh…” Second General commented, impressed and returned to
    the game as Third General finished his move.

    Don continued. “Since our camp’s first and second commanders
    were not present, I was the next highest ranked soldier. I’m ashamed to say
    that even I, a late phase Earth’s Core holder, could not measure the opponent’s
    strength and as a result lost my cool…”

    “You seem to be doing pretty well in our presence”. Third
    General said.

    “Stop teasing him”. Second General snapped. “Big brother is
    writing a new scroll. Let’s hurry up and listen to the boy’s story and be done
    with it without further interruptions to big brother”.

    “Right, big sister. I should apologize to big brother
    later”. Third General said sincerely, yet still smiled. It was always funny to
    see his big sister disguises her maternal instinct towards young soldiers with
    excuses. He turned to Don, “So you felt the need to inform us three… How did
    the two beasts react?”

    “I asked of them to wait. They didn’t respond but I sensed
    their approval. That is all”.

    “Okay, there is no need for you to go back. Rest here and
    keep what you told us to yourself”. For the first time First General laid down
    his brush and joined the conversation.

    “Yes, Three Generals”. Don bowed and left the tent.

  • glad to see you did decide to post your story here.
    hope it work's out well for you.

    Richard.
  • sk8late said:

    glad to see you did decide to post your story here.
    hope it work's out well for you.

    Richard.



    Hi, Richard!

    I found the patience to register to wordpress only after you advised me to publish in wuxiaworld.


    Also, I decided to publish a chapter in every comment until the thread will catch up to current releases. 





    Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 3 – The Next 849 Years – Part 1

     

    An hour after Don left the Three Generals’ tent. “Big
    brother…” Second General and Third General said unanimously.

    “Be on your gourd”. First General respond.

    The Three Generals left their camp an hour ago and were
    already on the outskirts of camp three seventy-two. The short time it took them
    to reach the camp is a testimony to their unrivaled power in the UGNE’s army.
    Sensing the two beasts’ immense aura all Three Generals become tense, it was
    like a vast mountain and far more than they expected.

    In a few steps the Three Generals stood before the two
    beasts. “Please forgive us for the delay. Welcome to our three seventy-two
    camp”. First Generals greeted the beasts. To his left stood Third General and
    to his right Second General.

    The humanoid beast nodded its head. “Gratitude for seeing
    us. My name is Raroma and this is my kin, Raroken. The two of us are the
    leaders of the Silverhorned tribe, one of the five tribes entrusted with the
    outer territory”. Raroma’s voice echoed in the Three Generals’ heads.

    The Three Generals nodded in respect. “We three are the
    commanding generals of the UGNE, humanity’s full force”. Second General’s
    entire figure embedded with her aura was like a mighty ice storm, clearly the
    sight of the unconscious soldiers laying around infuriated her.

    Neither Raroma nor Raroken seemed to be affected by Second
    General show of power. “The purpose of our visit is a proposal to humankind”.
    Although Raroma talked to all Three Generals, his attention was fixed on First
    General whom he felt was slightly stronger than the other two, yet still not a
    threat toward him or Raroken.

    “A proposal? Now, after all these years…” Third General showed
    a grin. “Is it a letter of surrender?” He tried to loosen up his big brother
    and big sister, even if by pissing them off with his attitude. They will get annoyed
    and then breathe out their tension, as always. As obvious as it was to him from
    the beginning that he is the weakest among all five, in terms of quick thinking
    he was not inferior to his big brother and in most games of chess that they
    played he was the winner.

    As Third General predicted, although the effect was more
    apparent on Second General, her aura turned to a warm breeze and was drawn back
    without her even responding to his , what could be considered “Childish” in
    this situation, enquiry.

    “Hahaha…” Raroma laughed. “Indeed, you might as well just
    call it that”. This time even Third General couldn’t hide his surprise. “You
    wonder why?” He asked rhetorically.

    “If you don’t care to explain”, First General said. “Our war
    is hundreds of years old and in the first place it was humans who started it.
    Currently it is no secret that our forces are the ones that being pushed back,
    what sort of benefit you will earn by surrendering?”

    “Does it matter?  As
    long as you will comply with our demands and give humanity’s word to forever
    honor them the war can be over as soon as this very moment, of course, only if
    you are truly authorities to make such decisions”.

    “Since when the surrendering side gives demands to-”

    “Since it is unquestionably the stronger side”. Raroma
    interrupted Second General and said indefinitely. “Beside, these demands
    without a doubt will benefit your side for more than ours”.

    Being unable to argue with Raroma’s first statement, Third
    General replied. “Is that so… then please, tell us your demands”.

    “Very well, first, humanity should fall back from the
    two-thirds of our outer territory the war as being going at. Second, you will
    no longer mine Earth’s Cores outside of the offered zone, what you do in your
    territory is none of our business. These are our demands”.

    ”We fought for hundreds of years and now you want it to be
    for nothing? It’s too much… elaborate on what you meant by ‘offered zone’, I’m
    guessing that it’s that benefit you mentioned”. First General said.

    “Indeed, and that offered zone was a notion of good will and
    an idea of my kin, Raroken, therefore refer to it with respect!” Raroma’s
    scales showed a hint of blue within their crimson cover. “Sorry, I know”. He
    suddenly turned and told Raroken, still sharing the telepathic link with the
    Three Generals.

    “The offered zones are ten of our outer territory caves for
    three months of every year. All ten considered as fields of Earth’s Cores and
    since that was the purpose of your war all along, there are no reasons you
    should not be satisfied”.

    “How many Earth’s we will able to mine from these ten
    fields?” Third General hurried to ask to obstruct any further comments from
    First General.

    “The earth supply too many to count every year, but in truth
    less than ten presents are quality Earth’s Cores. Granted you will have only
    three months a year to mine, how many is depends on you”.

    “Is that all?” Third General wanted to confirm.

    “It is”.

    “How long are you willing to wait for an answer?”

    “One more day”.

    “Then we shall meet here again tomorrow at the same time”.
    Third General closed the session and all that was left from the Three Generals
    were three afterimages.

     

    A few kilometers from camp three seventy-two. “The bubble
    will be set in a moment, Gid”. Two of the Three Generals sat in a small
    underground cave they dug with their hands. Inside the cave First General moved
    his hands so fast a regular person would have probably only seen green flashes
    of his long military sleeves. He manipulated his aura into different shapes and
    when he released the complete form a bubble, three meter in diameter,
    surrounded him and the other two generals. “It is safe to speak”. He let them
    know and sat down.

    “Impressive as always, big brother Ariel. Thank you for not
    rushing back to the UGNE’s headquarters, big sister Trey”. On their way back
    Third General, Gid, asked First General, Ariel and Second General, Trey for a
    short stop. At first they were reluctant; passing the beasts’ offer through long
    term communication was out of the question, if someone will leech onto their
    wave that would be troublesome, and to reach the UGNE’s headquarters they
    needed at least seven hours at their top speed, and their younger brother knew
    that as well. Knowing him, they allowed him ten minutes before they set off
    again.

    “What’s on your mind, Gid?” Trey asked. “You know how slow
    the heads with their decisions making. If we waste time, we will have to
    challenge our limits when we get back to camp three seventy-two”.

    “Then why should we?” Gid’s tone has changed to serious.

    “What do you mean?” Trey’s brows touched each other.
    Although her father passed away long ago she still did not want to sully his
    name as a UGNE’s official.

    “I don’t mean to offend, big sister, but you more than me
    and big brother should know that the UGNE is no longer qualified to lead
    humanity”.

    “It is not our place-” Ariel tried to say.

    “Was it ever our place to fight a war we did not ask for
    when the actual people behind it has never stepped on the battlefield?! Is it
    now our place to lead soldiers to a losing war?! Tell me big brother, big
    sister, do you think that we could take these two beasts with our formation?”

    “Gid…!” Both Ariel and Trey could not say anything. Fifty
    years ago it finally happened, they crossed the Core Breaker’s peak to a new
    level, and it was their one and only secret kept from the rest of humanity and
    more importantly, the UGNE.

    Mist Master, they gave the new level a fitting name. Their
    previews auras more than multiplied in size and became denser. Their color too
    changed from the dark white of the Core Breaker’s top to bright silver. It was
    thanks to Ariel’s special developed technique that they were able to conceal
    these changes. In all of humanity these three were at the top, and when they
    received the order to cease-fire they were delighted. Killing beasts that could
    not even put up a challenge to them was tasteless. When reading Don’s restless,
    late phase Earth’s Core holder, aura they were not sure about the two beasts’
    power level, on the other hand, when meeting them face to face, Raroma and
    Raroken were two entities they did not expect to encounter. At the very least
    both of them were at the late phase of the Mist Master level.

    After a long silence Gid continued. “Maybe if they are not
    together we can exchange our lives for a mortal wound to one of them, but what
    will it produce? The loss of humanity’s greatest powers? Us losing one another?
    Is this a fair exchange?”

    “It won’t come to it”. Trey grabbed Gid’s arm.

    “How certain are you? 820 years ago the UGNE lost a few
    Earth’s Core holders and Core Breaker to three beasts. Do you remember what it
    did next? It created the Earth’s Core army and remodeled it for hundreds of
    years by sending its soldiers to war and learning from their deaths while
    depleting half of humanity's resources to keep the army going. What do you
    think will happen if the UGNE will challenge beasts like Raroma and Raroken?
    You heard them; they are merely two beasts that lead the same tribe, one out of
    five tribes that are entrusted over the beasts’ outer territory. I was skeptical
    even when our armies were pushed back, but now I’m certain, if the UGNE will
    look to renew the war humanity will receive a crushing blow”.

    “That is only true if the UGNE won’t accept the beasts’
    offer. The war as being going for so long and a week ago the first cease fire
    was established. We cannot guess the UGNE’s next step but can give them some
    perspective”. Ariel said.

    “And if they’ll make the wrong choice?” Trey asked agitated.

    “We will take over, big sister”.

    “The UGNE has two Core Breaker units”. Trey sighed and said
    half convinced.

    “They too, will have to make the right choice”. Ariel said
    and got up.

     

    In the underground network of tunnels and giant caves,
    humanity’s territory covers five hundred and thirty nine caves, and the beasts’
    territory covers three hundred and seventeen caves. The ten most centered caves
    represents humanity’s headquarters, Ten Lances Of Fate they are called and
    numbered. The First Lance Of Fate is the cave surrounded by the other nine and
    where the actual headquarters’ buildings are located.

    At the last floor of a forty-storey building was the UGNE’S
    conference hall. On each of the hundred black leather seats sat either a thirty
    to ninety years old man or woman. In front each man and women was a wooden
    table, on it were a glass of water, a bowl with a variety of fruits, a
    microphone and a gold name tag. All seats were directed to a square stage; four
    meters wide and long, and seven men and three women, forty to seventy years
    old, who set on ten red leather high seats in front of a black wood table with
    the same tributes. These one hundred and ten have been living in private rooms
    inside the forty-storey building since their decision to cease fire.

    “Honorable one hundred and ten leaders of the United
    Governments of New Earth, entering are the respectable First General Ariel Dauch,
    respectable Second General Trey Zoearth and respectable Third General Gid Chu
    Takeda”. A twenty something man that entered the conference hall wearing a
    black suit stood on the square stage and announced.

    From the one hundred and ten seats some claps could be heard
    as two men and one woman in green military uniforms approached the stage from
    the hall’s entrance. Before the Three Generals took the stage the announcer
    stepped down from it.

    “Three Generals, we, the United Governments of New Earth,
    thank you for your hard work”. An old woman, wearing a black and blue gown,
    seated on one of the red leather seats opened.

    The Three Generals bowed in unity. “Hundred and ten leaders,
    we stand here today before you with urgent matters to discuss”. First General
    said calmly, while some of the UGNE’s leaders raised an eyebrow. Although these
    Three Generals were much older and powerful than any of them, none believed
    that against their UGNE even the Three Generals will dare come with such a
    statement. It was not their place.

    “We have gathered here because we were informed that you
    Three Generals have arrived today with a message”. A man wearing a pinstripe
    suit said.

    “And that message is the matter we would like to discuss
    with you about”. Third General answered and the bald man frowned.

    “We would not advice you on military matters, have you lost
    fate in us because we ordered a cease fire?” The old woman in the black and
    blue gown directed her question to Second General. Even though this old lady possessed
    an Earth’s Core she did not spend a day in her life training, she was able to
    read the air around the Three Generals only with the help of her intuition.

    “Instead of advice you will order us your desires without
    being concerned with how we will implement them”. Third General snapped and behind
    him the one hundred began to murmur. “The order to cease fire was the smartest
    decision the United Governments of New Earth has made since it was
    established!” After going so far some of the leaders let their voices rise.

    “How dare him?!”

    “A mere general…”

    “To question us!”

    “Quiet!” Seated on one of the red leather seats, a big
    bearded man in a brownish suit slammed the palm of his hand on the black wood
    table and the hall fell silent. “Three Generals, please tell us the message”.

    “The beasts seek to end the war”. Third General summarized
    in order to see what kind of reaction these one hundred and ten will give.

    “Specify”. The bearded man immediately said.

    “Crafty old man”. Third General thought to himself and revealed
    the whole chain of events.

    “So strong…” Some said aloud.

    “At least as strong as us three”. Second General answered.

    “Not enough time”. Two men seated on the red leather seats
    said at once.

    “If we won’t give them an answer in a few hours the offer
    will expire”. Third General reminded.

    “Still…” One of the two said.

    “We should put that to a vote”. Someone from the black
    leather seats proposed.

    As far as the voting system of the UGNE goes, black leather
    seats count for one vote and red leather seats count for ten votes. A decision
    must have a majority of ninety percent of the votes.

    “It won’t do, every decision must follow a twenty-four hours
    of careful thinking and understanding of the subject in all its aspects. We
    still don’t have the time”. In truth, these twenty-four hours are spent on forming
    alliances for mutual or personal benefits.

    “You have hundreds of years of sitting on the side lines and
    watching this war. I would say that should suffice”. Third General tried to
    provoke the men and women around him and sure enough the hall became restless.

    “We will decide now!” The bearded man once again silenced
    the hall. He looked in resentment on Third General, for him to push them so
    far! “Everyone, take ten minute to think and decide, afterward we will vote by
    a show of hands. Nagasta, be prepared for the count”. The bearded man told the
    young man that stood beside the stage.

    Ten minute later. All seven men and three women that sat on
    the red leather seats stood up. A woman in a red suite instructed. “We will now
    vote over the beasts’ proposal. First vote will be For. Second vote will be
    Against. The matter will be decided on a majority of ninety percent. All
    undecided votes will be counted as For”. The last part was agreed by all ten
    and had two objectives, to comply with what all ten believed the Three Generals’
    opinion, and to pass a silent message to all one hundred: “We ten are Against”.

    “All rise for the voting”. Nagasta asked. “Those who are For
    the beast’s proposal, please show up your hands”. He then started counting.
    “Those who are Against the Beasts’ proposal, please show up your hands”. He
    counted again. “Thank you, everyone. You may now sit”. He turned back toward
    the ten sitting on the red leather seats. “One hundred and ten hands were
    raised and counted for the votes. No need to proceed for the undecided vote”.
    Nagasta confirmed.

    Beside him, on the stage, the Three Generals already knew
    the results. Compared to Nagasta’s, a late phase Earth’s Core holder, their
    senses were above and beyond.

    “Tell us what has been decided”. The bearded man said with a
    hint of a smile.

    “Ninety six percent Against, four percent For”. The four
    votes were merely a display. Third General let out a heavy sigh. “Ladies and
    gentlemen of the United Governments of New Earth, you are all relieved from
    your duty”. His sharp gaze made the bearded man choke.

    “A coup?” Some of the ten called in question.

    “First General, Second General, are you really supporting
    Third General’s behavior?” The old woman in the black and blue gown asked.

    “We do”. They both answered.

    “Can’t you understand?! By accepting the beasts’ proposal we
    will be throwing everything we fought for, every drop of blood that our
    soldiers shed through all this years! The cease fire was meant to reassess our
    current progress, not to reevaluate the purpose of this war. Do you know why
    the beasts didn’t attack during the cease fire? Because they are not humans.
    Even with high intelligence they still show the restraint of a wild animal in
    front of a weaker enemy that won’t give up a piece of the prey. They are frightened
    of our ability to adapt, and aware that it will make us stronger in the future”.
    Veins popped up on the bald head of the bearded man, his face was tomato red
    and in the conference hall applauded.

    “Pass our decision to the beasts and return to your posts,
    Three Generals”. The bearded man looked down from his high seat. “Nagasta, accompany
    them out”.

    “Yes, sir. Respectable Three Generals, please-”

    “Everything you fought for?” Third General said in a low
    voice and his aura lashed out. Nagasta, who was the closest to him, apart from
    the other two generals, jumped back trembling with fear he never felt before,
    the fear of being close to death.

    “Striking Spear, Diamond Shield!” The woman in the red suit
    called in shock.

    Instantly, two groups of ten men and women appeared between
    the stage and the owners of the red leather seats. One group’s uniforms were
    blue and the other were purple, all twenty hid their faces behind black masks
    with no features.

    “Be reasonable, Ariel, Trey, Gid, you were our most loyal
    soldiers for so many years. Just wait a few more, the war will be won and all
    of humanity will rip the benefits of the entire New Earth! You will be heroes!
    And if then you will want to retire from the army and join us, I can guarantee
    that three red leather seats and three black wood tables will be waiting for
    you!” The bald bearded old man tried to persuade one last time.

    “We have made up our minds”. Third General walked forward
    slowly. First General and Second General, for what they will need to do, blackened
    their hearts. They will not betray their little brother or let him carry the
    burden alone.

    “You will take on twenty Core Breakers?!” Beads of sweat
    slid from the forehead of the man in the pinstripe suit.

    No longer acknowledging his title as Third General, a faint
    smile appeared on Gid Chu Takeda’s face.


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 4 – The Next 849 Years – Part 2

     

    Year 4925, seventy-five years before the new millennia, three
    humans made a blood oath for peace with two beasts, each side representing its
    own species.

    “Your prediction was right, Raroken”. On the back of the
    giant dragon beast, Raroken, sat Raroma crossed arms. The two headed back to
    their tribe. “The three had the smell of other humans’ blood when they arrived;
    apparently there were disputes over the offer…”

    “Human beings always the same, yet once in a while there are
    exceptions. In the near future mankind will experience turbulences and their
    numbers will decrease even more, then I predict that these three will take over
    and mend the wounds”.

    “Indeed, it will be for the best if humanity grows stronger”.

    “Being fickle and self-destructive and at the same time
    desire everything and have the ability to force the surroundings to adapt to
    them is a trait only humans have. How long it will take I cannot say, a
    thousand years? Ten thousand years? Eventually they will open a path for us…”

    “For the Blue Sky”. Raroma said and gazed up, imagining the beyond
    of the tunnel’s ceiling and the bright Sun Stones that garnish it.

    “For the Blue Sky”. Raroken agreed.

     

    As the news about the deaths of the UGNE’s one hundred and
    ten leaders by the Three Generals’ hands had spread across humanity’s
    territories two factions began to form. One faction supported the
    reestablishment of the United Governments of New Earth and was founded by high
    rankers of the late UGNE, which were the leaders of the remaining two hundred
    and two colonized caves – out of the five hundred and twelve caves within
    humanity’s territory, two hundred were nature reserves. The second faction was
    much smaller but also much stronger since its leaders were the former Three
    Generals, now Supreme Rulers. They did not force any one to join their faction
    or threatened war with the other faction. The Supreme Rulers declared the one
    hundred and ten caves of the former UGNE’s leaders as their own territory,
    following them were most of the army’s commanders and even the Striking Spear
    and Diamond Shield units, which if going back a few days to the date of the
    coup, submitted easily to the Three Generals’ force and ideals and were the
    first to join the Supreme Rulers’ ranks. As for the one hundred and ten caves’ residents,
    they cared little if not at all about the former UGNE, the low tier more than
    anyone was tired of the long war. And when the word got out that the Supreme
    Generals singed a treaty with the beast that will permit over the next decade
    to every human of any age and gender in their territory to possess an Earth’s
    Core without paying the nominal fee that the UGNE still stuck to in their
    promises, people immigrated in waves to the Supreme Rulers’ territory, now
    known as the new world within New Earth, Kingdom Earth.

    Losing their subjects, afraid that soon they will also lose
    their caves plot, the new UGNE sent its agents to Kingdom Earth to find and
    recruit back every Earth’s Core holder and Core Beaker that could be bought, in
    the end spending as much as ninety percent of its treasury. Of course, the
    Supreme Rulers were aware of the new UGNE’s actions, and allowed it to happen
    simply because they preferred their forces to be known for their quality and
    not their quantity.

     

    Year 4950.

    Number of caves within humanity’s territory: Five hundred
    and twelve. Population number within humanity’s territory: Six hundred million,
    nine hundred fifty one thousand, one hundred and one.

    New UGNE’s number of caves: Three hundred and seventy-six. Number
    of nature reserves caves: One hundred and seventy-four. Number of populated
    caves: Two hundred and Two. Total population number: Four hundred and seventy
    million, one hundred thousand and eighty-eight. Total number of troops: One
    hundred and seventy million regular soldiers, twenty-five thousand Earth’s Core
    holders, five thousand Core Breakers.

    Kingdom Earth’s number of caves: One hundred and thirty-six.
    Number of nature reserves caves: Twenty-six. Number of populated caves: One
    hundred and ten. Total population number: One hundred and thirty million, seven
    hundred and sixty-three thousand, one hundred and one. Total number of troops:
    None regular soldiers, twenty thousand Earth’s Core holders (serving), twenty
    thousand Core Breakers (serving), three Mist Masters (Current location:
    unknown).

     

    Year 5315.  The
    Supreme Rulers’ whereabouts has remained unknown. Kingdom Earth is governed by
    a council of ten surrogates, all loyal to the Supreme Rulers and at the peak of
    the Core Breaker level. On the sixth month of the year, around the time for the
    Half Year celebrations that represented people’s gratitude towards Nature for a
    good six months in Kingdom Earth, fifteen bombs attacks in five different
    colonize caves occurred all at once and created instant havoc, resulting in
    thousands of deaths and hundreds of injured. The council immediately dispatched
    an investigation team to confirm their suspicions, but before the investigation
    team arrived to the bombs’ scenes another nineteen attacks occurred, yet again, at the same time. The death
    toll rose to the tens thousands but there was one silver linings, a Core
    Breaker has managed to prevent a twentieth bombing that was about to take place
    near his residence by noticing the menace that some Earth’s Core holder’s aura
    radiated just as he was about to commit the bombing with an unfamiliar device.
    The Earth’s Core holder was brought to and investigated by the council of ten.
    After a few days he broke and confessed that he was sent by the UGNE and he
    doesn’t know how the device he was given works, only that after he got to the
    designated location, he was supposed to feed his aura to the device. The
    Earth’s Core holder finished by telling that he had to obey the UGNE, that they
    threatened his family, that under the surface anyone who doesn’t enlist or
    found unfit to serve is sent to labor camps that mine for Earth’s Cores.

    Hearing so far, the council was furious. For the last couple
    hundreds of years they did not meddle with the UGNE and the UGNE, in return,
    did not cross the border of two species to look for Earth’s Cores or asked
    Kingdom Earth for the right to participate in the search for Earth’s Cores that
    takes place every year within ten caves in the beasts’ territory, from the beginning
    that privilege was reserved only to the followers of the Supreme Rules. And
    then there was that detonation device, it was metallic and round with grams of
    Sun Stone inside it. Now, since humanity was divided to two factions the UGNE,
    for the lack of Earth’s Cores, has pursued every field of science, with the
    current resources available to it, that could improve its army, while Kingdom
    Earth advocated the proper teaching of Ariel Dauch, one of the Supreme Rulers,
    and others who studied Earth’s Core and the phases of its advancements,
    different practices to better cultivate the mist and the laws of formations.

    The council of ten did not sit idly and sent an emissary to
    the UGNE, they had no doubt that in a war their forces can wipeout the UGNE’s,
    so they waited and kept searching for planted UGNE’s agents in the kingdom. Two
    days later, the council’s scouts reported strange movement of the UGNE’s army,
    and a day later the UGNE replayed officially by deploying its army to Kingdom
    Earth’s territory. Leading the charge were big machinery, some type of machine
    guns, thousands in number, which were operated by the UGNE’s regular soldiers –
    mainly to mobilize and reload.

    Cautious from the unknown capabilities of the red and silver
    machine guns, the council responded by sending ten units of one hundred advance
    Earth’s Core holders. What followed was a complete massacre of the Earth’s Core
    holders. As soon as the ten units were detected by each machine gun’s radar,
    which was also able to measure the level of Mist Users – a term that formed in
    recent years that meant to generalize anyone who possesses the energy of an
    Earth’s Core regardless of his or her level – the machine gun’s computer
    analyzed the enemy’s path and opened a fusillade. The thousand Earth’s Core
    holders acted by executing the most basic move for defense and warped their
    bodies with a brown layer of mist energy, yet the countless rounds were too
    terrifying. The bullets pierced through the Earth’s Core holders’ aura and body
    and continued onwards to hit and ignite the agricultural farms across Kingdom
    Earth’s border.

    Startled by the intensity of the machine guns and raged by
    the loss of a thousand good men, the council of ten sent to the front lines, of
    what has been declared Humanity New Earth Great War, all of the Core Breakers
    in its corps and additional Mist Users of the same level that were not
    originally part of the army that enlisted for only to protect their families
    and homes. Eventually thirty-three thousands Core Breakers entered the
    battlefield. On the hand, the UGNE only had nine thousand Core Breakers to
    support its long rang machine gun corps.

    For sixteen months eight of the border caves held an unsightly attrition
    war. Each side pushed strong enough only to keep its position. Under the
    machine guns’ fire, even the council’s elite Core Breakers struggled. The alloy
    of both the guns and the bullets was a new type of an unbelievably sturdy
    metal. During these sixteen months a few Core Beakers dared to take these
    weapons lightly and as a result lost their lives gruesomely. Twenty seven
    intact bullets, that is, ones that were stopped midair by a Six Hands formation
    before they exploded and two machine guns that the council’s corps managed to
    grab were sent to the council’s analysts only to reach the conclusion that it
    is the hardest substance they ever encountered.

    One thing the council of ten held above the UGNE was the quality of
    Core Breaker. As a nation which encourage the practices of Mist Users and has a
    variety of cultivation techniques, their Core Breakers had a clear
    advantage.
    On equal grounds an average Core Breaker from Kingdom Earth could fight evenly
    with three UGNE’s Core Breakers, while a Core Breaker who was educated in
    military techniques could handle ten to fifteen UGNE’s Core Breakers. There
    were two reasons for the big difference; one was the absence of Mist Users
    experts, second was the treatment Mist Users received after the UGNE discovered
    the new alloy.

    On the second month of the third year, for the first time since the
    war began, the UGNE pulled back its forces. The council rushed to seize the opportunity
    and initiated a complete takeover of all the UGNE’s previews posts. The
    fourteen bases that were taken were rigid with smart mines, thus the UGNE’s
    three parts plan has started to be realized. One thousand and forty-four Core
    Breakers perished by the blasts and another five hundred or so were severely
    injured. Then, two more blows were given; sending swarms of weaponized drones
    for the next wave of attack, the UGNE was able to restrict the council’s Core
    Breakers’ techniques and formations enough to also lead them to believe that they
    replaced entirely their flesh and blood corps on the battle field with manmade
    war machines. Lastly, millions upon millions of refuges from the UGNE sought an
    asylum in the neighboring Kingdom Earth. Men, women and children alike
    attempted to cross the border to Kingdom Earth like their life depends on it, and
    indeed they depended on it. The UGNE used this tactic knowing that even if the
    commoners stormed past the border, even in this time of war, the council’s
    soldiers will most likely follow regulations than attack innocent people, and
    so the UGNE made sure to mix its Mist Users Earth’s Core holders in the great
    crowds and strapped thousands of regular people with small explosives.

    Kingdom Earth has fallen to one knee. Being struck three times
    consecutively, the council of ten has concluded that they were frivolous
    towards the UGNE and too confident in their Mist Users army to believe that men
    as finally surpassed technology. How wrong they were, no words to describe won opportunity
    to be said out loud. Further negligence was no longer acceptable. Once, the
    Supreme Rules, for the benefit of Humanity, had to make a difficult decision.
    The council of ten has decided to follow the same steps as their Supreme
    Rulers. The UGNE will once again and forever be eradicated from this world.

    The war for control over humanity’s territory has evolved to
    the war for extermination. Ten years. Twenty years. Hundred years.  The council of ten and all of Kingdom Earth’s
    experts developed new methods for dealing with each appearance of new machines
    and currently were on the verge of winning the war.

    The UGNE lost a chunk of its support forces when seventy
    five percent of its Mist Users surrendered and sought refuge in Kingdom Earth,
    rather than die for the small change their wages has turned to after the usefulness
    of the machines surpassed their achievements. Furthermore, for the last eleven
    years the organization that once led more than half of humanity has faced a tremendous
    obstacle. Through all this years, Sun Stones’ energy was the fuel that ran
    their machines. The bigger a Sun Stone, the purer its energy and the purer the
    energy the more destructive force it could generate. Till now, the UGNE could extract
    the energy of Sun Stones up to size of fifty centimeters in diameter, and in
    all honesty, even that was an above and beyond operation that required utmost
    delicacy and maximum accuracy when the smallest mistake could led to disaster.
    But at this point in the war even that kind of force has been neutralized by
    the enemy Ten Souls formation. The UGNE’s long range A class weapon BC, “Beam
    Cannon”, and close range B class weapon TBD, “Thousand Blades Dancer”, when
    surrounded by the Ten Souls formation, that could expand to over ten kilometer
    in diameter, were nothing more than expensive tin cans with energy depleting in
    an alarming pace.

    The UGNE had only one move left, a last resort that their
    lead scientists estimated has twenty percent of success and as of now accomplished
    only in theory. Combining a Sun Stone’s energy with an Earth’s Core’s mist
    energy.

    To clarify, extracting the energy of either Sun Stone or
    Earth’s Core of any size is by no means an easy task, and one the UGNE spent
    years developing.

    It occurred while mining for Earth’s Cores in one of the
    UGNE’s fifteen labor caves. After digging to a depth of several dozen meters, a
    woman worker waved downward her pickaxe to break a boulder that prevented
    further excavation. Three centimeters into the boulder, the tip of the pickaxe
    hit something so hard it almost bent. That is how the UGNE discovered the black
    Pelar metal, named after the woman worker. Shortly after, additional tests of
    the Peral metal produced incredible results. The metal was as hard as the Earth’s
    Cores’ and Sun Stones’ shells or at least couldn’t be penetrate by any of the
    UGNE’s scientists’ efforts. Then the UGNE’s engineers began to experiment on
    ways to melt and forge the Peral metal. After a while regular forging methods
    were blatantly revoked and were deeming ineffective. Limited due to their
    meager resources, the UGNE’s engineers explored for new ways of forging,
    commencing with embedding the Peral metal with Mist Users’ energy, which unlike
    other substances had no effect on the metal, then one engineer came up with the
    idea of using some of the collected water that seeped from above the ground and
    see if the Peral metal will have the same reaction as the small Sun Stones’.
    Although never finding the difference between the clear water lake caves and
    the water from above the ground, no one could deny that the two were not precisely
    similar due to the latter’s effect.

    Smeared on the Peral metal, the water sizzled as if they
    were on a hot frying pan, permitting the engineers to a breath of relief, at
    last they have progress. The Core Breaker that was present asked for a second
    attempt at forging – that is because at that time Mist Users, especially at the
    Core Breaker level, could generate much more force than any machinery.

    Once he received permission, the Mist User took by hand the
    chunk of wet Peral metal, simply because he did not feel a temperature change.
    Its level of hardness remained the same, a bit discouraging the Mist User since
    as one at the Core Breaker level he did not want to embarrass himself a second
    time. Summoning his mist energy, a white aura wrapped the Mist User’s body and
    through his hands tried to enter the metal. An odd thing then happened, contrast
    to before the Mist User could have a feel of every millimeter on the Peral metal’s
    outer layer. Even more strange, the Peral metal began draining the Mist User’s
    energy into itself in a pace that could endanger his life. Realizing the sudden
    risk of forging the Peral metal, the Mist User severed the connection of his aura
    from the metal and as he released a cold breath from his mouth he noticed that
    the metal is no longer wet and its outer layer slightly deformed.

    Following the success of the water from above experiment,
    the UGNE’s engineers proceeded by creating a needle size drills with the help
    of the UGNE’s Core Breaker as their working hands. After many trial and errors
    the first Sun Stone and Earth’s Core were penetrated. The two raw energies, outside
    of their shell, were violent and berserk. Thankfully, their containers were
    made out of the Peral metal and were able to keep them from leaking. With the
    ability to investigate beyond the Sun Stone’s and Earth’s Core’s shells a new
    understanding of the two has emerged. In contact with air both energies transform
    to an explosive force, and in terms of raw and destructive power, a Sun Stone
    of the same size as an Earth’s Core is nearly a hundred times more powerful yet
    needs one or two formation to control, sometimes without even completely
    removing the shell.

    Getting back to the greatest challenge of combining the Sun
    Stone’s energy with the Earth’s Core’s mist energy. First trials have shown
    that within the same space, the two energies attract to each other. Problems
    started to occur when the energies successfully combined to a new energy in the
    shape of a smoke in red and orange, lava like color. The new energy was about
    fifty times more powerful than a Sun Stone’s and as a result required a
    sturdier container that had to meet three conditions in order to be sufficient.
    First, it had to be made from a lot of Peral metal and to be around seven
    centimeter thick, at least. Second, the Peral metal had to be entirely cleansed
    from impurities. Third, besides from the computer of the machine that will
    contain and put to use this great energy, many formations need to be made in
    the body of the machine to directly control the flow of the energy and keep it
    from losing stability.


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 5 – The Next 849 Years – Part 3

     

    It took a year for the UGNE to finally accomplish the
    creation of a new weapon that surpasses in fire power the Beam Cannon and in
    close combat maneuvers the Thousand Blades Dancer. No Core Breaker or known
    formations were able match up to it and with that; the UGNE pushed back Kingdom
    Earth’s forces with one and only drawback. The new S class weapon, suitable for
    long range and close range battles, “Victorious”, operated only thirteen hours
    before the numerous formations could no longer cope with the smoke energy’s resistance
    and were shattered, allowing the remaining twenty percent of the energy’s
    original amount to eat through its container and ran out. Nonetheless, the UGNE
    converted eighty percent of its caves into labor caves, nine of which held
    great deposits of Peral metal.

    Losing the war, there was nothing in Kingdom Earth’s power
    to do. Even their special unit of seventeen Mist Users at the bottleneck of the
    Core Breaker level was powerless against one or two Victorious. Many first died
    on the battlefield, and as the UGNE pushed beyond Kingdom Earth’s boundaries
    and took over their surrounding caves, a lot of Kingdom Earth’s citizens that
    refused the rule of the foreign occupation also died miserably.

    Year 5391. The UGNE subjugates the occupied caves, forty two
    in total, to constant search for Peral metal and Earth’s Cores. On the
    outskirts of conquered cave number ninety two a battle is about to commence.
    Led by Dani Dan, previously one of the council of ten, a group of Mist Users
    that formed the “Kingdom Earth Resistance”, giving everything they have got to
    perform altogether the “Ultimate Breaker’s Soul Defense” formation in
    preparation to block the incoming wave of thirty Victorious. Behind them,
    enslaved citizens of Kingdom Earth escaping across the broken parts of their
    former machine guards, close range C class weapon IWJ, “Iron Whip Jailer”,
    before the clash between the resistance and the Victorious reinforcements will take
    place.

    “Commander Dani, the ten pillars are arranged around the
    work camp and the tunnel entrance, the eleven men channels has been set and the
    rest are prepared to pure their energy to the Ultimate Breaker’s Soul Defense
    formation at your command”. Dan’s lieutenant, a bulky man named Rudolf Brie,
    spoke in a hurry. The Victorious legs were sharp like pen’s nibs; they
    generated so much power that the machines moved a few centimeters above the
    ground and were less than five kilometers away from them and from that distance
    their one and only red eye was already visible, scanning its targets.

    “Activate the formation”. Dan gave the order with an expressionless
    face. Thirteen hours, that is how long they must hold on. Currently, forty
    three Mist Users operate the formation, half of which are Earth’s Core holders.
    To his estimation they can keep the formation for nine to ten hours, but not
    too far from them another group of twenty Mist Users from the resistance help evacuate
    the rest of the captives and make sure all the IWJs were destroyed. If
    together, they will be able to sustain the formation for another two and a half
    hours, afterwards he alone will be capable to obstruct the Victorious until
    their energy will ran out - that is, as long no more will arrive.

    While twenty one Mist Users concentrated on the formation’s
    structure, twenty two raised their hands, two pairs of hands towards each
    channel, and released their aura. Dan sat with legs crossed and meditated. He
    was so close, a second? A day? A year? He could not clearly tell. Two years ago
    silvery particles have started to appear here and there in his mist energy, and
    when he released it in the form of an aura the dark white color was almost sparkling.
    He wished for the breakthrough now more than ever. Surpassing one’s current
    level is a lot harder than reaching the pick of a new one, and Dan believed
    that if he will train hard enough and follow the instruction left by the
    Supreme Rulers he could reach the late phase of the Mist Master level in twenty
    to thirty years after the not so far away breakthrough and attain the power to
    fight evenly with the Victorious.

    “Commander!” A cry for help awakened Dan from his meditative
    state. His eyes opened slowly, his faced turned to his lieutenant and he gasped.

    “Hold on!” Dan ordered. Six hours have passed and the
    Victorious managed to break one of the pillars, resulting in one unconscious
    Mist User and a trembling Ultimate Breaker’s Soul Defense formation. Dan had no
    time asking “How?” or “Why”, he had to move fast to rebuild the pillar with his
    mist energy while using his own physical strength to support the formation. He
    could have instructed to recreate the formation from scratch, but then the
    Victorious would have taken the chance to strike back.

    Now, the vile metallic beings already adapted to the
    formation’s offensive effect – countering any close range attacks with equal strength
    in the form of a shockwave. By charging the barrels on their two bottom arms
    and constantly shooting orange beams at the formation’s pillars they used
    energy based attack to assault from afar.

    Dan felt as though he carries the formation’s whole weight.
    Every time a new crack emerged on one of the other pillars he immediately
    increased the output of his mist energy to mend it.

    Another hour passed. Two additional pillars broke down and
    the formation shrank, permitting the Victorious to either go above the
    defensive formation to pass through the tunnel after the escapees or keep
    shooting until the last layer of defense around the Mist Users will fall apart.
    Obviously, killing the Mist Users was a top priority.

    After eight hours and forty one minutes the formation
    shattered to thousands of pieces like blue glass. The Victorious lowered the
    barrels, swung forward their upper arms, holding in each hand a double edged
    sword made from refine Peral metal, and surged ahead at high speed.

    “UGNE, Victorious, if this is my end my soul will not rest
    until your demise!” Dan cursed. “Retreat, everyone, take the injured and run!”
    He turned around and shouted. But then, a green silhouette elapsed through his
    eyes, coming from the other side of the tunnel, so fast, yet without making the
    slightest sound in the air. By the time he and the other Mist Users turned
    their heads again, the green silhouette was already about to clash with the
    nearest Victorious.

    “That is…” Dan at last recognized, his heart pounded and his
    eyes became moist. Right there, in the mere second the green silhouette and the
    Victorious stopped for an exchange of blows, which were counted in the
    thousands, Dan opened his mouth and said in awe, “Supreme Ruler Gid Chu
    Takeda”.

    A golden light suddenly wrapped Gid and in a flash he moved
    twenty meters away from the Victorious, in his hand one of its swords. A condense
    explosion then followed and the other Victorious circled around him.

    “Commander Dan, are my eyes deceiving me?” A fairly young
    Mist User asked. For him the entities known as the Supreme Rulers existed only
    in history books and his seniors’ tales of the past. “That one man fought with
    a Victorious and won so effortlessly”.

    “Maxim, he is our Supreme Ruler Gid Chu Takeda”, Dan felt
    the need to say the name again. The mentioning of the name for the first time
    filled him with vigor and the second time gave him back his fighting spirit.
    “He should not be referred to as ‘That man’”. He scolded with a smile.

    “Yes, commander, I apologize, Supreme Ruler”. Maxim bowed
    toward the not so distance figure of Supreme Ruler Gid, then continued saying
    with sparkling eyes. “I still cannot believe it, sir. All I saw when I turned
    around was the Victorious explode”.

    “I ashamed to say that even I hardly seen anything,
    Commander”, Rudolf joined in the conversation.

    “Indeed, even after so many years… The Supreme Rulers were
    always at the pick of humanity. I, myself, could barely keep up with that
    fight”. Dan admitted. “From what I saw, Supreme Ruler Gid forced the Victorious
    to stand guard. Then, during their intense exchange, he managed to get a hold
    of one of the Victorious’s swords and used it to finish it and escaped before
    the explosion occurred”.

    In truth, the sequence of events could have been described
    in an entirely different way. As he approached Gid simply saw an interesting
    blade carried by a lifeless machine with a strange energy signature, so he took
    the blade, familiarized with it and tested a killing blow on the closest thing
    around. Was there truly a fight?

    “Youngster Danny”, a gentle, feminine voice sounded from the
    tunnel.

    With tears streaming down his cheeks, Dan’s voice called,
    “Supreme Ruler Trey”, and after he saw the one behind her his feet succumbed
    and his knees touched the ground. “Supreme Ruler Ariel!” Dan, Rudolf and five
    other elderly Mist Users felt as though they were lost children; finally found
    by the big brother they admire who is escorted by their loving parents.

    With the return of the Supreme Rulers Kingdom Earth has
    quickly turned the tide against the UGNE. In fact, with their new level of
    power, Supreme Rulers Trey and Gid alone were enough to annihilate the UGNE
    in no longer than two months. Suffice to say, no one was left alive this time.
    The Supreme Rulers did acknowledge the value of the Peral metal, but shunned
    the ways the UGNE’s scientists and engineers put it to use. For that one reason
    and because over time the UGNE brainwashed the minds of its essential personnel,
    they got rid of them, too.

    Thus, seventy six years of war has ended. And from there to
    the present year, 5775, in the New Erath’s calendar, right after humanity was
    united by one sovereign rule, that of the Supreme Rulers, the rehabilitation
    process for the complete territory of Kingdom Earth has begun. Starting with
    tending the earth of many caves that were ravaged for Peral metal and Earth’s
    Cores and the people who were forced for hard labor and other victims of the
    war, to building vital structures such as hospitals, shelters, even schools for
    all ages to pass on the Supreme Rulers’ ideals and teachings and so on... In
    little than twenty years the new established society in humanity’s territory regarded
    the war as the “Dark Century” and with each new generation the scars of those
    years has faded little by little.

     

    Year 5775.

    Kingdom Earth’s number of caves: Five hundred and twelve. Number
    of nature reserves caves: Two hundred. Number of populated caves: One hundred
    and eighty-one. Total population number: One hundred million, three hundred and
    sixty thousand, four hundred and five. Total number of troops: Ninety thousand
    Earth’s Core holders (serving), fifty thousand Core Breakers (serving), three
    thousand Mist Masters (serving), two Mist Lords (Supreme Ruler Trey and Supreme
    Ruler Gid), Core Master (Supreme Ruler Ariel).

    Year 5775, January 1.

    Kingdom Earth’s population number: One hundred million,
    three hundred and sixty thousand, four hundred and six. 


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 6 – Zax Zel

     

    The sound of the bell urged the students to get into their
    classrooms. It was about to be eight o’clock and tens of first graders, second
    graders and third graders sat in their places. It did not matter if you were
    the youngest five years old who just enrolled or the oldest nine years old that
    no one dared to mess with. All children knew that if one risked getting to
    class after the homeroom teacher, the whole class will be punished.

    Zax Zel lived in cave number twenty-five, a fairly big cave
    that was mainly populated by middle class families and Zax’s was one of them.
    Right now he stood behind a decorative tree on the other side of the street in
    front his school. Like every Sunday he arrived after the school’s gates were
    closed, and like every Sunday he could blame only himself.

    Then again, why should he? He is just a third grader, just a
    nine year old. Everybody knows that school life become significant only when
    you hit two-digit in age and enter the fourth grade. Plus, it’s not like he was
    playing around that he was late, always late… Getting back to school after the
    weekend is just too tiring. If others knew what he was doing they definitely
    won’t bother him, even the teachers won’t dare! So maybe why should not he tell
    them what he was doing every weekend for the last eight months? That’s it, he
    will tell them and they all be in awe, and if Mr. Ogler will give him troubles
    he will put him in his place by simply mentioning his big sister’s name. Then,
    no one will be punished because of him anymore and he no longer be afraid of
    being late.

    With little effort Zax climbed over the school gates, fast
    like a cat he entered the main building, avoided the old granny that
    volunteered for community service as the annoying hallway monitor and burst
    into his classroom with a mean smile on his face. “Listen to me now and listen
    to me good, Mr. Ogler!”

    Mr. Ogler, a skinny, fifty something years old man with a
    face full of stubble, stopped typing on the little keyboard on his desk and all
    of Zax’s forty classmates averted their eyes from the giant screen on the
    class’s wall.

    “Yet another Sunday you are being late, Zax…” Mr. Ogler’s
    chilly gaze was like sharp needles, but Zax was determined!

    “Mr. Ogler, everyone, I have a perfectly good excuse, be
    prepared. I, Zax Zel, have spent every weekend in the past eight months-”

    “Watching late night Earth’s Core’s showdowns, you brat”.

     Zax felt a sudden
    pain, his head flew backwards and he tasted blood in his mouth. “I bit my tongue…”
    He held back the tears. “Ouch!” He touched the center of his forehead, there
    was a small bump.

    “I have called your home, Zax, and Miss Zetsa explained
    everything to me”. Mr. Ogler stood beside Zax, rolling a small rubber ball
    between his fingers.

    “Big sis explained?” Zax replied, frightened.

    “Indeed. She also apologized in your name and promised that
    your tardiness will cease to happen. Therefore, for today you will run only
    twenty laps around the school”.

    “Only twenty laps!” Zax felt a sense of relief. Usually it
    is five times the amount. And not just Zax was happy. Since Mr. Ogler gives collective
    punishments, all the class will have to participate in the laps and twenty are
    a lot less than a hundred.

    Outside the school’s building.

    “Look at this jerk”.

    “Yeah, get us in troubles again”.

    “Earth’s Core Freak”.

    Even children as young as nine years old can hold grudge.
    Many among Zax’s classmates were fed up with being in the only class that run
    morning laps every Sunday because one student is too lazy to get up on time.
    Zax’s obsession over Earth’s Cores was also common knowledge. He could barely
    keep up in subjects such as math, history or science, but was a freaking enthusiastic
    in any Earth’s Core related topic.

    Apart from being the reason for their weekly morning
    torture, the boys in Zax’s class mostly could not stand him for being the best
    at any kind of sports, which made it hard to beat him up.

    The girls in Zax’s class did not have much reason to pay him
    attention because of his average looks, light brown hair and eyes, not the
    shortest but also not that tall compared to many other boys. So their
    evaluation of him was based by the number of times they got punished because of
    him.

    “Eighteen. Two more laps”. Zax was ahead of everyone in his
    class by far. Second place was Tania who just completed her fifteenth lap and
    third was Naga who ran already eleven laps. With regard to others opinion of
    him, Zax did not care. In his three years of pre Core School he made four to
    five good friends and only one of them was in his class. If the boys in his
    calls want to start a fight with him to get even, let them try. What girls
    thought of him? Who cares?

    At the moment there were only two things on his mind. “Big
    sis called Mr. Ogler!” And, “Was there really an Earth’s Core showdown last
    night?” From the two only one really mattered. “Big sis found out that I’m
    getting lazy in the mornings…” If he could keep this secret from her, Zax
    wouldn’t mind to run a thousand laps around the school.

    During lunch break, Zax sat with two of his friends, Dane
    and Serah.

    “Haha, Serah, Earth’s Core Freak, Zax, made your class run
    laps today, too”. Even his friends used Zax’s notorious nickname.

    “Can it, Dane”, Serah really was not in the mood for his taunting.
    “Because Mr. Ogler lowered the number to twenty laps, he compensated by making
    us run all of them at full speed”. She, and eighty percent of her class, had leg
    cramps.

    “That Mr. Ogler is too strict”. Dane was taken aback and
    Serah was willing to bet that any teacher with a student like Zax will lose a
    screw. “Anyway, I think it’s also your fault. Your apartment building is right
    next to Zax’s. Why don’t you try waking him up for once?”

    “Because she is Mocca Kart addict”. Zax answered while
    chewing on a meat ball. “She plays the midnight online races. She somehow
    manages to get to class seconds before Mr. Ogler every day”.

    “Better be a Mocca Kart addict than Earth’s Core Freak. I ranked
    tenth place in all Kingdom Earth last year”. Serah loved to point it out
    whenever Zax or Dane looked down on her favorite game. “In a year all of us
    will have an Earth’s Core and we will start learning different cultivation
    methods, why bother with mid beginner, E level, showdowns?”

    A tough question… Actually, Zax stopped watching the Earth’s
    Core showdowns eight months ago. Though he still gets excited when they are
    broadcast, nowadays he concentrates all of his attention on one thing that is a
    secret and supervised by his big sister. Now, for the second time today, he is
    in a troublesome position that he got into because of this secret, but knowing
    that his big sister had already created an excuse for him, he will not risk
    upsetting her by revealing the truth.

    “Because D level showdowns and above are pay per view”. It
    was not far from the truth. Serah and Dane knew that the two gentle souls that
    are Zax’s mom and dad do not promote this violence use of Earth’s Cores, so
    naturally they won’t pay for their son to watch them.

    At two in the afternoon the school’s bells rang, the last
    period was over. Before leaving for home the students of each class stood up
    and bowed toward their teachers. “We thank our teacher and senior in life”.
    They saluted collectively. Next year they will finish with: “…In life and martial
    law”.

    Some centuries back, the Supreme Rulers pronounced that they
    are going to split their consolidated regime into three factions. They did not
    give a special explanation as to what made them come up with such a decision,
    but to calm the situation created they gave an oath of loyalty to Kingdom Earth
    and its people. Moreover, they drank a cup of Blood Wine, a wine produced from
    the rare Blood Red Grapes that grow only in the deep beasts’ territory, to publicly
    and officially symbolize their brotherhood and sisterhood unification - a move
    designed to rid of the concerns for internal wars over the whole kingdom from
    the hearts of the common people.

    Cave twenty five was one of the one hundred and fifty caves
    within sovereign Ariel Dauch’s region, El-Eden. It had about a fifty thousand
    inhabitants and its industrial activity was primarily agricultural. Zax’s
    family was of the thirty five percent that chose other kinds of employment and
    lived in the more urban area of the cave.

    There were mostly three to five decades old three-story
    buildings around the urban area. They were the cheapest structures to live in
    since they did not have elevators, the locking mechanism in the apartments’
    doors was a simple keyhole, instead of the more modern fingerprint scanner, and
    the buildings themselves were overcrowded with three-room apartments, two
    bedrooms and a living room. However, there were pros as well. Somehow, these
    old buildings gave the streets an air of friendliness and closeness as whole
    families lived next to each other, good neighbors were always there in good and
    bad times, on special occasions hundreds and thousands were there to celebrate
    together and the crime rate was very low. Without a doubt, a lovely place to
    live in.

    Zax rushed home straight from school, not waiting for Serah
    to finish packing her backpack so they could go together, as they did in first
    and second grade. He had no time to spare.

    “Big sis left in the morning and will be back early this
    time, so I got five days, more or less”. His home was the first apartment on
    the first floor in a three-story building. His parents were still at work so he
    greeted himself as he entered and shut the door behind him.

    From the two bedrooms one belonged to Zax’s parents, the
    other he used to share with his big sister before she moved. Clothes, Earth’s
    Core magazines and snacks' wrappers were all over the place. Apart from the
    mess, there were two beds and a desk with a dusty computer and above it a
    bookshelf.

    Zax threw his backpack on the corner bed. “Mom coming back
    late today, so she won’t check for homework”. He reassured himself.

    Zax’s mom, Laylen Zel, worked as a veterinarian. On Sundays
    she visited the eastern farms of cave twenty five and usually returned at night
    time, which is, after the cave’s Nightly Cover formation activated.

    The Nightly Cover formation was designed seventy three years
    ago by a Mist User named Elisha Habud and soon after was applied in all the
    populated caves. The formation used six Peral metal rods, two meter in height
    and ten centimeter width, as both the pillars and the channels of the formation.
    The rods were placed around the cave’s ceiling, forming a hexagon with no edges,
    and each of them had one protective formation engraved on it. The formation
    functioned just like the Sun Stone panels. During day time, approximately from
    five thirty in the morning till nine forty five in the evening, it was charged
    by Sun Stones’ radiation and at night time a veil of blue darkness filled the hexagon
    shape, dimmed the Sun Stones’ brightness and from the ground made it look like
    the mesmerizing, long forgotten, Starry Night.

    Zax’s dad, Marco Zel, on the other hand, worked in the
    cave’s Management Office at the Department of Water. Everyday he got back home
    at five o’clock and was far more lenient toward his son than his wife.

    Zax heated a premade lunch that consisted of rise with peas
    and carrots and roast chicken. He gobbled it up under ten minutes, washed the
    dishes and left to his big sister’s flat. The reason he ate at home and not at
    his big sister’s was because apart from a mattress, the flat was a completely
    empty, one room apartment in an old abandoned building at the outskirts of cave
    twenty five, near one of the border tunnels that separated Kingdom Earth from
    the beast’s territory.

    It was a run of half an hour for Zax to get from his home to
    his big sister’s. The busses of cave twenty five did not go there because of
    the proximity to the border tunnel and the closest stop would only cover a
    third of the way. Therefore, Zax preferred to save money and run.

    There was a mass of wild vegetation all over the place. From
    where Zax stood, in front of the building, he could see the immense, black and
    yellow, empty checkpoint of the border. The checkpoint was stationed back when
    the cave’s Management Office financed a project to build a new neighborhood and
    wanted to make sure that there will be no incidents with beasts that roamed not
    far from the border – not that there ever were. Eventually, due to internal
    disagreements the project was terminated and all that remained was an
    incomplete one-story building that Zax’s big sister bought for close to
    nothing.

    The door to the apartment was unlocked for two reasons. One,
    everyone in cave twenty five knew that the place belonged to the renowned Miss
    Zetsa Zel. Second, it was common sense to stay away from abandoned construction
    sites.

    In the past more than a few times beasts migrated from their
    territory to humanity’s. The cave’s Management Office had to request the help
    of the Removal Division that was stationed at cave thirty seven to drive back
    the beasts. It would take a day or two for the Removal Division to send two men
    unit of Mist Users at the Core Breaker level, and after they dealt with the
    situation, more often by scaring the beasts back, their report always was the
    same. The beasts, either at the Earth’s Core Holder level or core less, showed
    hostility at the beginning, but after being aware to the difference in power
    they cowered in fear as if they were in the presence of death. Their physique
    was damaged and spirit was broken. Estimated cause for crossing the border,
    inability to cope in the wild territory.

    Zax stood at the room’s entrance for a while. Inside the
    room were four walls with no windows. From the open door a bit of light that
    passed through the floor corridor illuminated the double size white mattress.
    Zax hated this room. Stepping inside it was the same as entering the mouth of a
    Three Colors Lion, a beast that even as a coreless cub could match F level Mist
    Users, which are the weakest Earth’s Core Holders.

    Zax released a bated breath, walked in and closed the door.
    Now there was only sheer darkness, like the belly of a Three Colors Lion. It
    wasn’t the darkness that Zax hated, but what comes after he sit on the mattress
    cross-legged and mumble the five words his big sister instructed him to say.


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 7 – Zetsa’s Inner Spirit Formation

     

    Eight months ago.

    Under the covers of his bed the small figure of eight years
    old Zax could be made as he lay, bitter. He was angry with his mom, angry with
    his dad, resentful toward Mr. Ogler, cursed half the kids in his school and
    hated himself. It was the outcome of a typical bad day for Zax, and he was
    currently grounded for fighting.

    Waiting to Dane with Serah near the school’s gate at the end
    of the school day, to go back home together, four third graders passed them by
    with bored expressions. One of the four third graders noticed Zax and a grin
    spread across his face.

    To not go into too many details as to why, the third grader
    called: “Earth’s Core Freak, how about you stop showing off at P.E. My little
    brother says that you annoy everyone. You are not your sister, so please just
    stay Earth’s Core freak, Earth’s Core Freak”.

    Not much of an insult but enough to tick off eight years old
    Zax. He did not mind when his friend used the stupid nickname but was sick and
    tired of others using it to taunt him and more than anything hated to be
    compared to his big sister!

    Hence, he beat up the third grader, and then he beat up the
    other three third graders when they intervened.

    Not too far away from the scene of the brawl, it was Mr.
    Ogler’s turn to be on gate duty. Having to wait for the last kid to leave
    school before he or she could lock it and finish another day of work was a pain
    to every teacher. So when Mr. Ogler heard shouts and saw Zax leaning over some
    kid and punching him in the face while three other kids lying on the ground,
    one bleeding from his nose, two grabbing their groin in pain, it did not matter
    who started it, just who seemed to be the victim.

    Mr. Ogler of course did not listen; he had zero tolerance for
    violence. He grabbed Zax by the collar of his shirt, yanked him off from the
    beaten kid and took him to the secretariat of the school to call his parents.

    It ended with Zax’s mom coming from work to apologize for
    her child behavior and pick him up from school. Later, when his father got back
    home from work, he only scolded his son. As lenient as he was, he did not want
    some angry parent to sue his family because of hospital bills. He had to deal
    with this kind of troubles when his daughter was young and could not afford to
    repeat it. Obviously, today he can use her name once and others will have to
    give him face. But to exploit his daughter’s name because of a kids quarrel,
    how could he?

    Knock! Knock! Knock!

    Pause…

    Knock! Knock! Knock!

    Pause…

    After six knocks the person behind the door lost patience
    and entered. “Will you ignore your sister, little Zi?” The voice that followed
    the young beautiful woman in said jokingly.

    To answer, Zax held tight the covers above his head and from
    beneath them he yelled: “Go away!”

    “Oh… So you are angry with me too?” Zetsa grabbed the other
    side of the blanket and pulled till Zax lost his grip and could not hide himself
    anymore. Zax face was red and his eyes were teary. “Mom told me that you were
    in a fight, again, this time hurting four boys. Is that true?” She asked in a serene
    voice. Her brown hair reached to the end of her neck and now fell on her face
    as she looked down on her brother.

    Unlike him or his parents, his big sister inherited their
    grandmother’s, from their father side, clear blue eyes and olive skin tone.
    Since he was a baby Zax loved to stare at those eyes and in return those eyes
    always looked at him with love.

    “Yes…” Zax slightly calmed down. Now he was a bit ashamed.

    “Do you want to tell me why, or everything that happened is
    as your teacher told mom?”

    “It’s not”. He allowed her to caress his face with the soft
    palm of her hand.

    “Then tell me”.

    So he did. And she listened until he finished, not saying
    anything to interrupt.

    “Amm… Zax, what you always tell me that you want to be?”
    Using his first name was a sign that she asked seriously.

    “A strong Mist User like you”. He replied without hesitation.

    “And on your path to becoming a strong Mist User like me,
    are you also planning to repeat my mistakes?” She did not ask him “Why you want
    to be a strong Mist User” on purpose. Growing in today society, almost every
    child dreams of becoming a strong Mist User. And children with strong individuals
    close to them tend to see them as role models, especially children like Zax
    with a bit of talent.

    “Big sis never made a mistake. Otherwise you would not be as
    powerful as you are”. Zax said decisively after thinking for a while.

    “But I did, many in your age and even when I was older”.
    Zetsa refrained from signing. Her younger self was not someone she loved to reminisce
    about. “I constantly gave troubles for mom and dad and was even thrown out of
    school”.

    “Everyone says that you were the most gifted person to ever
    been born in cave twenty five. I know how tough and great you were!”

    “Tough, yes, great, not at all, and my talent”, the talent
    that made Zax admire and envy her. “Made me distant from others and bored to
    the point of looking for fights everyday“. She straightened her back and he got
    up to a sitting position while the both of them kept eye contact.

    “Maybe if people noticed what was wrong with me, I would
    have been sent to a suitable environment for me and a lot of my wrongdoings
    were never to happen”. Zetsa rested for a moment. At the time Zax was already
    siting on her lap.

    “I changed, Zax, because of two things. The first was
    someone that saw me and something in me worth polishing. The other came a bit
    later, when I was eleven”, She smiled gently and for the first time broke eye
    contact only to lean forward and kiss his forehead. “That was you, my precious
    little Zi”.

    Zax blushed and lowered his head. For the first three years
    of his life he was determined to one day marry his beautiful big sister and it
    took him three more years to fully differentiate between love and admiration.
    Nonetheless, Zetsa was remarkably beautiful and Zax, an eight years old boy,
    who got her undivided attention whenever he needed could not be anything other
    than submissive when she showed him such an affection.

    “Zax”, she turned to him with an offer on her mind. “For
    today and until Friday you will take the punishment mom and dad gave you and
    tomorrow you will apologize to the children you hurt-”

    “But it wasn’t my-” Zax burst.

    “You used violence to solve a verbal conflict”. She did not
    let him finish.

    “So would you prefer that I’ll curse at them instead of
    showing that I’m tough?” Zax was upset. Fighters in the Earth’s Core’s showdowns
    never used verbal insults; they got their respect from the fans by fighting
    fist to kick. Why should he be any different?

    “Cursing is not the way to solve a verbal conflict, either,
    Zax”. Zetsa’s serious tone returned. The words she wanted to say were better
    put in a manner that Zax could not associate with the soft side she had for
    him. “The best way to solve a conflict is by using as little effort as
    possible. Ignoring the other side if their words or action cannot affect the
    flow of yours or your loved ones lives. Telling adults that someone is
    bothering you and let them handle it. You can even befriend the ones you don’t
    get along with and influence them to be better to you and others”.

    Zetsa said and Zax listened.

    “If I’ll ignore they will pick on someone else. If I’ll tell
    an adult everyone will laugh at me. And I don’t want to be their friend!” In
    the end, an eight years old is an eight years old. Some lessons can only be
    learned through harsh experiences or if someone keeps drilling them to you.

    Zetsa was prepared to Zax respond. She was his big sister
    and knew him well. And here was her idea; seeing as she did not want to expose him
    to the former solution, only one option remained.

    “I have decided. I will teach and polish you, Zax”. She put
    him on the bed and stood up. “You’re always asking me to train you to be strong
    like me. I’m not a lot at home and cannot be there every step of the way, but
    if you’re willing to do as I say without complaining or slacking off… Fine,
    I’ll agree. So? It’s a deal?”

    “Big sis will train me!” Zax was hooked the moment the word
    “Train” came up. His eyes sparkled and he became enthusiastic. He jumped from
    the bed calling. “It’s a deal, it’s a deal, it’s a deal, big sis!”

    “Of course, we will have to make an excuse for mom and dad.
    Let’s tell them that we are working on a brother sister bonding project.
    Agree?”

    “YES! YES! YES!”

    Smiling, Zetsa said. “Good. So for now you are in punishment
    and tomorrow you’ll apologize to the other kids and on Friday I’ll come to get
    you to my place and we will start your training”.

    “Ah?!” Zax was dumbfounded. What just happened?

    “Remember that we have a deal”. Zetsa overwhelmed him with
    her gaze before he could protest and Zax calmed down. “Do your homework or read
    a book, little Zi”. She suggested before she left the room.

     

    Today.

    “Ere’ar, Ere’ar, Lianor, She’ega, Aje”.

    Yellow patterns and diverse symbols shone brightly on the
    four walls, floor and ceiling of Zetsa one-room apartment, making it look as if
    everything is made out from gold.

    The Inner Spirit formation was unique even among the B class
    formations, a high level illusionary formation. To any Mist User above the
    level of Mist Master this formation will not pose a threat, but to anyone else
    below that level… from losing one’s life to becoming brain-dead and even worse,
    getting caught in it could mean a fatal mistake.

    The knowledge of what this formation could do to him, a nine
    years old boy that has not received an Earth’s Core yet, passed shivers through
    Zax’s spine. “Big sis truly is amazing”. He respected her more and more every
    time he sat on the mattress and imagined that this might be how it feels inside
    a Sun Stone. “I read that a Mist User needs to be a level above the formation’s
    to be able to alter it”. He lingered. The formation was suspended and to
    actually activate it, there are two additional words, two additional key words
    he must say. Two words that accompany a ridiculous amount of indescribable pain,
    and that is just the tip of an altered Inner Spirit formation!

    “Biuua..” Zax’s lips moved to slow for the word to come out
    right. He grabbed his knees to balance his structure and tried again. “Biur,
    Nephesh”.

    In this windowless room, in an instant the temperature dropped
    and out of nowhere a sudden cold breeze struck Zax in the face. His eyes opened
    wide from the shock, and the icy air felt as if it could pierce them. He closed
    his eyes and remained sited with his hands on the knees as things were about to
    get terribly agonizing.

    “I can’t hold on anymore!” Zax yelped after two minutes. He
    held his breath as long as he could, terrify of the pain that will follow if he
    let this frosty air in. But as usual, he had a limit and the pain was unavoidable.

    “Knifes, it’s like knifes and needles!” Even to an average
    mid-level Earth’s Core Holder it is not an easy feat to protect the soft and
    warm internals with the mist energy. The moment the cold air entered his body,
    Zax’s respiratory organs tingled, then in the span of two seconds they, the
    muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves all completely froze. Next, the tips
    of his fingers become numb and started to lose its colors, one by one each
    finger turned pale, then blue, purple and finally black. An extreme case of frostbite
    that continued to spread from his hands throughout his arms. The same thing
    happened to his legs, stomach and eyes. Unable to move, Zax reluctantly
    remained aware to the slow process that was turning his body into a block of
    ice. He could no longer breathe. What sustained him was the sole belief in him
    and in his big sister.

    She evaluated Zax’s limits and found that he reached his
    first threshold when she tested him last Saturday. Per her results, she chose
    to remove a miniscule portion of the altered Inner Spirit formation’s
    restrictions to help him attain a breakthrough.

    “Big sister Zetsa, mommy, daddy…” Zax wept. He regretted
    ever asking his big sister to train him. He even wished he had not left his
    house and stayed to do his homework. But even a nine years old should think
    before he acts. Now, a throbbing headache was the only thing he could feel and
    each throb was an explosion of agony.

    Crack!

    His left arm broke apart from the shoulder.

    Crack!

    His spine collapsed like a blade of grass under a rock.

    Crack! Crack! Crack!

    Pieces of Zax’s ice cold body detached and fell on the
    mattress. “Hah… Hah…” His mind became blank under the severe pain. Unable to
    bare anymore, Zax’s determination to stay alive faded as the last “Crack!”
    separated his head from his neck.

    As Zax ceased to resist the formidable formation he suddenly
    felt it, a warm touch on his crooked chest, like the tip of a slender finger. A
    surge of flames scattered across his broken body from that small spot,
    gradually melting the frost coating all over it and restoring its proper body
    temperature.

    Although a few centimeters away from its appropriate place,
    when the thin layer of ice at the center of his forehead shed the first drop of
    water, Zax’s pupils began to move under the veil of his eyelids, as if he
    regained a second chance in life and now was trying to wake up from a bad dream.

    “Eh?” The yellow patterns and symbols of the Inner Spirit
    formation disappeared before Zax’s open eyes and darkness returned to the one
    room apartment. Feeling the softness of the mattress with his bottom, the knees
    under the palms of his hands, the beating heart beneath his chin, his body
    whole and the air still, Zax was astonished, fearful, exited, sad and many
    other things.

    “I failed”. After a minute of silence Zax found his center
    and admitted. “It’s like that first time eight months ago. No, it was far worse”.
    Zax’s was sure after he went through everything that happened when he activated
    the formation. “And big sis wasn’t here to guide me. How in the name of our
    lord and ruler did I survive?” While lost in thoughts, unintentionally, his
    right hand reached to his chest and touched the place where the wave of warmth originated.
    That which saved him was the only thing Zax could not remember. Even when he
    scratched through his shirt that small spot with his index finger until his
    skin began to redden the action did not arouse suspicion.

    “I wonder what time it is”. Zax decided to go outside and
    check since his cheap wristwatch did not have a lighting command and his
    parents could not afford the monthly fee of a fourth Caller.

    “No way!” Zax was flabbergasted. “How could it be?!”

    Watching from the corridor’s window, up above, the cave’s Nightly
    Cover formation has already been activated. To Zax’s surprise, it was around
    ten o’clock. His mom should be on her way home!

    Zax left the door to the apartment open and leapt from the
    first floor. BAM! He hit the ground and his bones were shaking. The Inner
    Spirit formation affected more than just his spirit, as its name suggested. The
    more he strained his body, the more it ached. The muscles in his legs tightened
    and made it impossible to run back home at even half his speed.

    “Mom will kill me if she’ll discover that I was out all day.
    I truly wish for big sis to be here right now to explain me what went wrong.
    First, I couldn’t handle at all with the formation’s assault, in spite of how
    much I progressed this past eight months. And when it finally was over, instead
    of the usual few minutes, hours have passed!” Thoughts ran through his head.

    When the apartment building was in his field of vision, Zax’s
    breath was shallow and he reeked of sweat. Light flickered from the living
    room’s window. He hoped it was his dad, Marco Zel, watching the Screen, and
    that his mom did not arrive yet.

    As to what exactly was the “Screen”? Basically a device that
    was based on the ancient Television. Like any screen in this day and age, it
    worked with a combination of formations and technology, charged by a tiny Sun
    Stone and a tinier piece of Peral metal that formed the connection, packed
    inside a plastic housing.

    Fortunately his dad was the only one at home. Zax found him
    sleeping on the sofa in his uniforms, a blue overall with the symbol of the Department
    of Water, twenty five drops circling the department’s name.

    A cocking show played on the Screen and on the stove was a
    pot that delicious smell came out of it. Zax was too tired to fix himself
    whatever his dad made. Besides, it was past his bed time and he still had to
    take a shower. If his mother would come and see that he is awake, he will have
    to provide explanations.

    After a quick shower Zax went to bed. He lay on the mattress
    sorry for not seeing his mom the all day or not talking to his dad, but the risk
    level to his free time was too high.

  • I read upto volume 2. Its awesome...craving new chapters
  • I read upto volume 2. Its awesome...craving new chapters

    Glad you liked it! By Saturday chapter 7 of book 3 will be out!
  • Lonahora said:

    I read upto volume 2. Its awesome...craving new chapters

    Glad you liked it! By Saturday chapter 7 of book 3 will be out!

    THANKS

  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 8 – Three Types Of Children

     

    Waking up Zax was joyful to feel his mom’s hand on his face
    and hearing her voice in the morning, even though the hand slapped him and the
    voice shouted.

    “Wake up, honey. Your lunchbox is on the counter”. If she
    kissed him in the forehead and whispered softly Laylen was not his mother. That
    son of her would not wake up even during a Sun Stone storm, for him it will
    only be an excuse to skip school. “Get dress and go to school. I’ll see you at
    four”. She moved the curtain to allow light inside the room and pulled the
    covers off him before leaving for work.

    Zax’s dad left home even earlier than his mom, so he was not
    able to bid him good day like he wanted to.

    At the entrance to his class Zax halted before entering.
    “Wait!” Serah appeared running from the corner of the corridor. Behind her
    followed Mr. Ogler in slow steps.

    “Wait for what?” Zax thought to himself and hurried inside
    to his sit, leaving the door to the class open for Serah.

    “Good morning, Mr. Ogler!” All the students stood up and saluted
    as Mr. Ogler entered the class.

    “Good morning. You may all sit”. Mr. Ogler nodded back and
    the school day began.

    Ten minutes after recess, while in third period, Zax’s
    eyelids fell from a sudden exhaustion. He opened them and his head immediately
    started to spin, his vision became blurry and he felt nausea.

    “Mrs. Dukreker, Zax looks like he is about to puke”. A
    pigtailed girl, seated left to Zax, notified Mrs. Dukreker, a young woman at
    the latter half of her twenties, out fear that he might puke on her.

    The math teacher, Mrs. Dukreker, raised her gaze from the
    old computer’s screen on the teacher’s desk to check out Zax. “Oh my!” Mrs.
    Dukreker got up from her sit and approached Zax. She helped him straighten up
    and stand. “Anet, please accompany him to the nurse’s office”. She asked a
    blond hair green eyes girl that sat beside Zax.

    Since Zax did not speak much to most of the kids in his
    class he and Anet were quiet all the way to the nurse’s office and merely held
    hands as a custom to when one student helps another by a teacher’s request.

    At the nurse’s office Anet bowed slightly toward the nurse,
    a bald man in his thirties, and left back to class after he accepted Zax. She
    did tell Zax to feel well and he nodded in thanks, but he thought that she said
    it out of courtesy.

    “Breath in, breath out…” Nurse Elwood moved the palm of his
    right hand over Zax’s chest and back. Threads of brown and warm steam covered
    the right hand and streams of energy assessed the internal parts of Zax’s body.

    “Now take the deepest breath that you can, hold for two
    seconds and let everything out at once”. Nurse Elwood instructed and Zax
    complied.

    When Zax released the deep breath, Nurse Elwood drew back
    his energy. “Everything fine with your body”. By his tone he was not definitive.
    As a Mist User he was level E Earth’s Core Holder. Choosing the path of
    medicine, as a nurse and at his current level he could only practice the basic treatment
    techniques and so assess the state of health of anyone below the Core Breaker
    level. For him to not be sure of his physical diagnosis of a nine years old
    coreless boy could only lead to one conclusion…

    “Zax, have you practiced recently in any soul training
    methods?”

    Nurse Elwood had big honest brown eyes, so when he frowned,
    Zax felt that if he will answer with anything but the truth the eyes of this
    good man will also sadden.

    “Err…” Zax’s legs rubbed each other. It was a habit that was
    shown whenever he felt discomfort.

    Telling the truth meant revealing his and his big sister
    secret, which was one for a reason. Zax was not stupid. It is well known that
    unsupervised soul trainings can produce permanent damage to the body, not to
    mention the inner part of the soul, the spirit. Zetsa knew that fact and still
    chose to exercise this aspect of him even though she could not be by his side
    most of the time and Zax never lost confidence in her. Yet, if he will lie and
    the Inner Spirit formation is the cause to his fatigue, then what will happen if
    it will get worse?

    “From your file I read that your last name is ‘Zel’, am I
    correct?” Nurse Elwood noticed Zax’s odd facial expression and realized that
    something weighing on the boy because of his enquiry. He tried to approach the
    matter from a different angle. “’Zel’ like Miss Zetsa Zel?”

    By not responding and just staring apprehensively at him,
    nurse Elwood received his answer. “First, you should calm down”, his gaze softened
    and he laid his hand on Zax’s shoulder, using his mist energy now to massage
    all the muscles in Zax’s body. “If there was a substantial damage to your body
    or soul then we wouldn’t be sitting here talking”.

    Zax nodded as if it was a question. The warm energy relieved
    his body to the point that his eyelids closed again. Gradually he began to fall
    asleep. Nurse Elwood helped laid him down gently.

    “Forgive me, Zax, Miss Zetsa, but it is my responsibility to
    inform your parents”.

    Although Nurse Elwood spoke aloud, Zax could only hear the
    words in his mind.

    “Why soul training…? Anything else would have been much
    simpler…” In truth, Zax already knew the answer, but was still too immature to
    accept and too tired to dwell on the subject.

    In Kingdom Earth, for children under the age of ten who
    still did not receive an Earth’s Core, there are three martial schools, one in
    each faction, with special program that help to stimulate and foster the
    natural reservoir of Qi in the human’s body. Enrollment to these schools starts
    at the age of five years old and after a student reaches the age of ten and get
    an Earth’s Core, he or she are tested and if found qualified, advance to a top
    post Core Program.

    But how these schools and their prestige programs really
    benefit the students? Well, in quite an amazing way actually. On the path of a
    Mist User one would endlessly may try and err for the sake of enlightenment,
    and so, a little bit more than two hundred years ago the Supreme Rulers and
    their close colleagues came about a peculiar realization while guiding their apprentices.
    In summary, if a person cultivates the innate Qi of the human body to a certain
    level, when an Earth’s Core would then enter the lower dantian of that person,
    with the help of the Qi, he or she, will be able to agitate the mist inside the
    Earth’s Core, regardless of its quality. By doing so two things will occur, one
    their Qi will merge with the escaped mist, second, they will accelerate the
    process of shattering the Shell, therefore, attain the distinguished Mist User
    C level, aka Core Breakers, much faster!

    Although they are open to all classes, there are in fact
    only three types of children that can enroll to these schools. The first and
    most common are children from the upper class of Kingdom Earth. Each of the
    three schools would accept only a thousand students a year. Parents who want to
    guarantee their children’s future prospects, not to mention preserve and
    improve the respectable family status, are willing to pay fortunes to do so.
    There is no way for parents from the lower and middle class to compete with
    this kind of rich and mighty families, and because of this most children that
    enroll every year to either one of the three schools and comprise no less than
    ninety percent of the student body are upper class children.

    The second type of children comprises eight percent of the
    remaining ten percent. These are also the second most gifted children among the
    three types because they have a genetic advantage. Simply put, these children
    have at least one parent that is an A level Mist User, in other words, Mist
    Lord. Scientific studies have found that a child of a Mist Lord is born with
    what has gotten the scientific term “Seed” inside their dantian. That tiny Seed
    is basically a compressed Qi ball that is far superior in purity to the
    customary innate Qi of the human body. Some even compare the Seed to a low
    quality Earth’s Cores. And when an Earth’s Core enters the dantian of such children,
    it will right away merge with the Seed and its quality will evolve by one step.
    In short, children of the eight percent are the fastest to reach the advanced
    phase of the Core Breaker level and required to pay only ten percent of the
    school’s annual fee. In addition, these children are not restricted by the
    thousand students limit.

    The last two percent are children that have nothing in
    common with the above two types. No financial background or great genes, at the
    very least, these are not the things which count them in the third type. Using
    one word to describe these children would be “Prodigies”. Children between the
    ages of five and seven which all on their own were able perceive the existence
    of Qi in their bodies and control it without external help. Roughly twenty
    children every year, sixty in total among all three schools, sometimes even
    less. That is the number of prodigies in all three types. But how the immense
    talent of these prodigies is interpreted? Well, although slower to reach the
    Core Breaker level than those who possess a Seed, children of the third type
    have shown tremendous potency in learning vast amount of techniques from all
    kinds of complexities. For that reason alone, many experts wanted them as their
    apprentices and future heirs to their secret techniques. But that was not all,
    what truly made any child of the third type a far more formidable entity than
    any child of the other two types was their potential to break through the bottleneck
    of the advanced phase of the Mist User C level, Core Breaker, and reach the
    early phase of the Mist User B level, Mist Master, at a fairly young age.
    Children of the third type are entitled by an unwritten agreement to receive
    full scholarships in each of the three schools. Obviously, these children are
    also not restricted by the thousand students limit.

    Financially, Zax’s parents could not afford sending him to
    anyone of these three martial schools. They were just a common F level Mist
    Users, the lowest Earth’s Core Holders. For them to have a daughter like Zetsa was
    a wonder in itself. Looking back, she was defiantly qualified to enroll to any
    of the three schools, but when she was thrown out at the age of nine from the
    very same school that Zax goes to, she refused entering the system again, even
    after people realized her true talent.

    In comparison to his big sister, Zax was an ordinary boy, a
    bit more talented physically than other boys his age or a year older, that is,
    as long as they did not have an Earth’s Core.

    To his remaining thought before he fall asleep was one and
    only answer… The almost none exists, fourth type of children. To progress as a
    Mist User, besides cultivating the mist energy, one must refine the soul of
    one’s self. In Kingdom Earth roughly one or two children a year will choose the
    difficult path of soul training whether they have affinity for it or not. To
    embark on this path there are only two requirements. The first is a reliable
    instructor who is familiar and entirely experienced with at least one form of soul
    refining technique. The second is a complete and total commitment to the training
    regime. Not just leaps and bounds more difficult than Qi training, soul
    training is also extremely time sensitive! It is most beneficial for coreless
    children, but correspondingly compels the practitioners to achieve a certain
    level of spirituality before allowing Earth’s Cores to enter their lower dantian;
    otherwise their training will be in vain.

    Zax himself was never aware of the two requirements or how
    much the Inner Spirit formation will help him advance and benefit his soul. It
    was what his big sister, Zetsa, chose for him and for the most part, that was
    enough.

    Waking up, Zax no longer was in Nurse Elwood’s office,
    rather back in his home, lying on the living room’s sofa next to his dad.

    “Honey, the little rascal has woken up”. Marco lifted his
    confused son and carried him to his and Laylen’s bedroom.

    Laylen sat on a chair in front of a small Screen computer
    and was in the midst of reading the negative effects of improper soul training.
    She gasped and got up when she heard her husband.

    “Mom?” Zax was startled by his mom’s sudden grip on his face
    and the follow up smothering hug she gave him. “Mom?” Zax asked again.

    “Do you have any idea how dangerous what you have done?!”
    Laylen tried to sound stern but her emotions were out of control and her eyes
    moist, barely holding back the tears.

    “Come, Laylen”, Marco said and passed on Zax to his wife.
    “We will talk in the living room”.

    Sitting on a wooden chair and his parents in front of him, a
    few things have become clear to Zax the first five minutes they all sat
    together, among them that he was in big trouble!

    The time now was past seven o’clock in the evening. Nurse
    Elwood called his dad after he fell asleep, and after he learned what happened,
    his dad had to pick him up with the department’s vehicle to bring him home.

    “Is that what you were doing when you eagerly went out every
    day after school?” Zax was asked rhetorically by his mom merely for her to see
    how he will react.

    Zax lowered his head and clenched his fists on his knees. He
    certainly was dishonest with his parents.

    “Stop moving your legs!” His father scolded and Zax ceased
    rubbing his legs. “Do you know what carelessly training your soul can result
    to?! There is a very well and justified reason why kids with no Earth’s Core
    don’t practice soul refining techniques”. Marco pointed it out as if it was
    something that Zax already knew, and he sure did, yet persisted to clarify
    anyhow in simple words. “Human beings are born with a frail body and fragile
    soul. Soul refining techniques are ways for us to train the core of the soul
    which is the Spirit. If someone approaches it casually the soul can easily shatter
    and if that happen nor dad nor mom, neither your big sister, not even the
    Supreme Rulers can save you!”

    “Why have you kept it a secret, Zax?” Laylen asked the
    moment Marco stopped talking.

    Why? Because that was what Zetsa decided. But how could Zax
    push the blame on his big sister? She had her reasons to keep it a secret
    between them, most likely to not worry their parents. Now that both his mom and
    dad know, it is no longer a secret, just a poor decision…

    “I didn’t want to worry you-”

    “You didn’t want to worry us?!” Marco snapped. “Tell me, was
    your big sister involved in it?”

    Marco, as is Laylen, grasped a significant insight for their
    son strange behavior in the past six months or so. They discussed it before he
    woke up and even used the home Caller to call Zetsa for farther explanation.
    Their main motive in this lecture was to clear some indisputable points to
    their son.

    “She only wanted to help me avoid more quarrels. She is
    smart and capable. She trained my soul so I could be stronger and better…”
    Zax’s voice sounded sincere. His heart pounded inside the chest. It all started
    because of him, his mom and dad should not be mad at Zetsa. If she will not be
    allowed to guide him anymore… “Please, mom, dad, I’m sorry…”

    “Wipe your nose, Zax”. Laylen brought a tissue and was about
    to help him clean his running nose, but Marco raised his hand to stop her. His
    son’s body was stiff, he needed to move a bit to release the pent up stress and
    then listen.

    “For us to forgive you, you must show remorse for your
    action and understanding of who we are to you”. Marco said. “We are not you
    friends or teachers. We are not your neighbors or some people who live with you.
    WE ARE YOU PARENTS, ZAX!” Marco stood up.

    Seeing his dad large physique of over a hundred and ninety
    three centimeters and hearing the heavy words purring out from his deep voice
    was like having an ice cold shower that made Zax docile.

    “There is no good reason to hide anything from your parents!
    It is not for you to decide what worries us and what does not! We are your
    parents and just like we always love you we also always concerned about you… It's
    part of our job as parents, Zax. And it’s your part to be our son and tell us
    everything. For you we are the two people in the whole world that you shouldn’t
    keep secrets from. Anything that happens in your life is for use to know. Any
    decision that you want to make should be supported by our advice”.

    “It’s not because that you are a child, Zax”, Laylen took
    over. “Even your older sister, Zetsa, as capable as she is, as you said, as
    strong and smart as she is… We are her parents, too. We have the same duty
    toward her as we have for you, and she as well must treat us with respect and acknowledge
    that in the whole world there is only one mom and one dad for her”.

    Zax nodded slightly. He felt ashamed for betraying his
    parents’ trust and aware that in this particular case he took them for granted.

    After a long time of silence Laylen looked at Marco and then
    turned to Zax. “That's enough for now. Go to your room and reflect about everything
    we said and you did”.

    Zax did not try to protest or ask about his training. When
    he reached the corridor and turned right to his room his father said. “Tomorrow
    you will come straight home after school”.

    “Yes, sir”. By his dad’s tone Zax knew that even though it
    was not a question, he still had to answer.

    “You will do your homework and are not allowed to leave the
    house even if you finish. No watching the Screen, either”.

    “Yes, sir”.

    “The same thing the following day, school, homework and
    rest!”

    “Yes, sir”.

    “On Thursday, after returning from school and doing your
    homework, you can resume your training”.

    “Yes…!”


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 9 – Field Trip

     

    Wednesday, two o’clock in the afternoon.

    Zax arrived home from school, warmed a light meal and done
    his homework. He was still in his punishment period.

    Inside Zax’s room. Like the day before, after washing the
    dishes and finishing his homework Zax sat cross legged on the bed, eyes closed.
    There was only one form of training his parents allowed him to perform once
    Zetsa explained and convinced them that it will help alleviate the strain on his
    soul - Meditation.

    Following the guidance he received from his big sister, Zax
    started with some breathing exercises. With every breath he took in he concentrated
    more and more on the eerie sensation that gradually emerged in his head.

    In truth, reaching the deepest aspect of the human being
    life form was not a deed probable by nine years old children, to say nothing of
    nine years old coreless children. For Zax to sense his soul was thanks to his
    time training in the Inner Spirit formation, even if that sensation was mostly vague
    and still, after eight months, unfamiliar and as a result a bit weird.

    Next, Zax had to recollect his last session in the Inner
    Spirit formation and arouse the small fragments that the Inner Spirit
    formation’s energy signature left on his soul.

    Inside the vast space of Zax’s consciousness, small icy grains
    began to appear in a spectacle that resembled the ceiling of cave twenty-five
    at night time, when the Nightly Cover formation is fully activated, but with
    fewer dots of light.

    Focusing on one small icy grain at a time, Zax dismantled
    the grains using an invisible force that carried his intent. As soon as he finished
    working on one Zax waited while the grain, which now turned into a blue white
    dust, merged with his soul and refined it. Each time the dust and the soul
    touched, Zax’s body temperature dropped significantly. This is why he had to
    make intervals between grains and why in the span of four hours he only managed
    to dismantle sixteen dots of light out of the near one hundred that surrounded
    the distorted blur that was his soul.

    Marco and Laylen Zel arrived home together at four o’clock,
    just like the day before. Due to the severity of Zax’s secret soul training, they
    decided for the remaining two days to present a united front in their strict
    approach. It was a mutual effort on their part since neither of them could look
    at their son’s bright brown eyes for long and not feel his or hers heart softens.
    To get back home at the same time, in his place of work Marco had to ask his
    boss an early leave for two days in a row and Laylen had to shorten her clinic
    open hours and accumulate her paperwork to Thursday.

    Because Zax was not allowed to watch the Screen, they went
    to his room to find him. There, they saw him sitting in his meditative state
    like a log with its roots deep in the ground. On his desk Zax left for them his
    finished homework to show that he did not neglect them.

    Marco and Laylen looked at each other; both were impressed
    with their son’s resolve and pleased with his display of maturity. Only a few
    months ago, if he was punished or reprimanded he would go to sulk in his room.
    That change of attitude was thanks to his training in the Inner Spirit
    formation.

    Marco and Laylen left Zax to meditate quietly.

    Couple of hours later Zax got out of his room, stretching.

    “Have you smelled dinner?” Laylen chuckled with her back to
    him.

    “Mom, I’m hungry…” Zax was tired. He pushed himself to move
    and sit next to the dining table only because he could not stand his stomach
    growling.

    Marco turned off the Screen and sat beside Zax. “Have you
    prepared your backpack for tomorrow field trip?”

    “Yes, dad, but-”

    “No buts!” Marco said angrily. “It’s the annual field trip
    to cave five! Every year only third graders go on this trip! It’s the biggest juncture
    of every coreless child. You will meet an emissary of our lord and ruler; he
    will bestow upon everyone in your year a direct blessing from our lord”.

    “Listen to your father”, Laylen said while serving roast and
    mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables to Zax and Marco before joining them. “You
    can go train when you get back”.

    “Fine”. Zax lowered his head to his plate and started
    eating. It has been three days and he felt well enough to go back to his big
    sister’s place to renew his training. He did not care about tomorrow field trip
    because it will just waste his time and that “Blessing” his father mentioned
    are just the same few customary words every year. He will need to be lucky to
    return by six o’clock to be able to squeeze a little more than an hour of
    training before his curfew. Then again, if he will lose track of time again
    because of the Inner Spirit formation who knows how his parents will react!

    “Argg… I wish big sis was here!” Zax thought while being
    down. “Mom and dad don’t understand at all…”

     

    Thursday.

    “In line, everyone, in line!” Mr. Ogler instructed all the
    forty students in his class. The students stood in pairs and at the front Mr.
    Ogler waved his right hand to straighten the line they formed. “Good. Follow me
    to the busses and do not mingle with the other classes”.

    Zax held hands with Serah, she was his partner and the two
    of them had to be together all the time, accept when they go to the bathroom…

    Looking out from the bus’s window Zax’s head was clear and
    he was in a good mood despite might losing a day of training. It was all
    because the meditation he did in the past two days. The icy grains left by the
    Inner Spirit formation that he dismantled enriched his soul and strengthen its
    core, the spirit. His senses, as a result, became somewhat sharper by a small
    but noticeable margin as well.

    The bus drove past the fields and farms of cave twenty five
    and crossed tunnel seventy seven to exit the cave and enter the nature reserve,
    cave twenty three. From there to the next, more industrial, cave twenty, was
    only one road that forced the passers to encircle a vast lake. On the other
    hand, the sights of massive rocks spread around like tiny mountains and the
    great forest of cave twenty three was a spectacular sight the children of cave
    twenty five hardly got to see.

    “This is where my uncle works!” Serah pointed at a nearby steel
    welding factory. The bus was halfway through cave twenty and other children
    also were excited to watch from the window on the different places they passed.
    Some, like Serah, had family members who lived in the neighboring caves, but
    due to the enormous size of each cave they visited them only on special
    occasions.

    “Everyone, please sit in your places and quiet down!” Mr. Ogler
    stood between the two rows of seats and raised his voice to dispel the talks.
    “We are stopping for a fifteen minutes breakfast. Boys who want to go to the
    bathroom come to me after we find a place to sit. Girls will join Mrs. Char
    Lynn’s group and return immediately to our group when you are done!” Mr. Ogler instructed
    and the bus parked at the designated rest area, which was part of an artificial
    park.

    Since all the classes were next to each other, Dane, two
    other boys and one girl from his class joined Zax’s and Serah’s wooden table
    for breakfast. Zax knew the names of the three children who accompanied his
    friend. The fat boy was Merly and the taller one was Danka. The girl’s name was
    Mi. The three were pretty cool with Zax, not calling him “Earth’s Core Freak”
    and willing to share their snacks.

    For the most part, Zax was pretty cool with them, too. But
    with them still being “kids from other class”, he did not converse much in comparison
    to Serah and after five minutes remained silence until Mr. Ogler ordered
    everyone to get back into the bus.

    After another two hours the bus finally arrived to tunnel
    forty nine that was connected to their destination, cave fourteen.

    Tunnel forty nine, like all the other tunnels that were
    connected to cave fourteen, was a tall and wide slope of a few hundred meters.

    Cave fourteen was the lowest cave within sovereign Ariel
    Dauch’s region, El-Eden. Its ceiling, though, was as high as the ceilings of
    all the other caves, which together with its width made it the biggest cave in
    El-Eden and the capitol cave.

    Right from the entrance of cave fourteen, huge skyscrapers,
    botanical gardens, headquarters of multiply companies, high class restaurants
    and hotels… In the eyes of the students, teacher and bus drivers of cave twenty
    five, all of this grandeur of just the outer part of the cave was so awe-inspiring.

    As the bus continued driving, on the streets of cave
    fourteen the scene of the people kept changing. From the suits wearing
    businessman and women, high class visitors and their personal advance Mist
    Users guards, to the common population of cave fourteen in their lavish residential
    area where twenty storey buildings or more were erect with their own gardens
    and pools and over the top community centers, shopping malls, distinguished pre
    Core and post Core Schools were at every four to five blocks.

    The ride came to an end when the bus parked in front of a eighty
    meters tall, a two hundred and ten meters wide and a hundred and fifty meters
    long building. It was the Historic Centre Of New Earth.

    Maybe thousands of third grade students were arranged in
    different groups of many pre Core schools from all over El-Eden on the plaza of
    the Historic Centre of New Earth.

    The order of entry has been determined in advance. There
    were eight schools before Zax’s, and in his school were three third grade
    classes. Zax was in the middle one, B-3. After three-quarters of an hour of
    waiting in line, holding hands with Serah, his class finally got to enter the ostentatious
    eight storey building.

    Right after registering his class in the Historic Centre’s reception,
    Mr. Ogler led the way, following a red rope, to the first that introduced the
    beginning of more than five thousand years of history. To relate the time and
    story that each room signified, some rooms had representatives of the Historic
    Center to describe their history, others had varieties of art exhibitions such
    as sculptures, drawings, photographs, videos, enormous Screens showing short
    films and more… The most interesting rooms were the ones with extremely tight
    security. Starting with rooms that exhibited cold war weapons used by the first
    corps of Core Breakers, rooms with old broken parts of Victorious to one with
    inactive two types of reassembled Victorious. The more guarded ones were five
    rooms with authentic scrolls of the first formations that were kept behind an
    impenetrable glass cases that was fused with Peral metal’s fragments. And then
    there was that one room that everyone waited impatiently to enter, whether it
    was their first time or the hundred in the Historic Centre of New Earth and
    regardless of their age.

    The Hall Of Earth’s Cores. A “Hall” was an exaggerated way
    to describe the nine meters wide, seven meters long room. It was the only room
    to have outside of it two heavily armed guards with two visible firearms and
    one sheathed sword. Inside the room there were two extra guards but as soon as
    Zax’s class entered The Hall Of Earth’s Cores all eyes were drawn to the one display
    they were all waiting enthusiastically for.

    Behind a black rope, inside a glass case with countless invisible
    protection formations carved on it, and on a white, silver and golden pillows
    laid three Earth’s Cores.

    The Earth’s Core on the white pillow was the common and most
    easiest to find, a low quality Earth’s Core. The one on the silver pillow was
    much more difficult to find, one out of ten thousand, a medium quality Earth’s
    Core. The last one on the golden pillow was the near impossible to find, one
    out of at least a million, high quality Earth’s Core.

    The three Earth’s Cores looked the same to the untrained
    eyes of the students and teachers. Only Mist Users at the Mist Master level can
    truly appraise the density of the mist inside an Earth’s Core, which is the factor
    that determines its quality. It was thanks to the distinction in color of the
    three pillows that they all could understand how much staggering two of these
    treasures were and keep staring at them with lustful eyes.

    On a two meters tall, one meter wide silvery metallic plate,
    above the Earth’s Cores’ glass case, a description in bold black letters was
    engraved.

    In our world today the levels of a Mist User are as follows:

    Azure mist, Core Master - S

    Gold mist, Mist Lord - A

    Silver mist, Mist Master - B

    White mist, Core Breaker - C

    Brown mist, Earth’s Core Holder - D, E, F

    White pillow F level Earth’s Core. This standard Earth’s
    Core, when absorbed to the lower dantian, will advance the average person’s
    capabilities to those of the lowest, F level Mist User, Earth’s Core Holder.

    Silver pillow E level Earth’s Core. This rare Earth’s Core,
    when absorbed to the lower dantian, will match the future prospects of the
    average person to those of a Seed holder and advance instantly the Earth’s Core
    Holder’s rank to E level Mist User.

    Gold pillow D level Earth’s Core.  This legendary Earth’s Core, when absorbed to
    the lower dantian, the future prospects of even the most lacking person will
    become second only to the Supreme Rulers and advance instantly the Earth’s Core
    Holder’s rank to D level Mist User.

    Reading what they already knew, the crowed of forty plus
    gasped with wishful thoughts in their minds.

    “We are moving on”. Mr. Ogler lowered his head first and
    addressed his students.

    The tour inside the Historic Centre of New Earth continued
    for another thirty minutes in a few more rooms with great exhibits and concluded
    in a separate building, which was the actual BIG hall of the Historic Center.

    Upon thousands of seats sat all the students and teachers, anticipating
    the appearance of their sovereign Supreme Ruler’s emissary. Murmurs and
    whispers from thousands of mouths made the hall rumble like the inside of a Ten
    Tusks Elephant’s stomach. Attendants of the Historic Center tried to silence
    the crowd to no avail, there were too many people and too much excitement.

    Clap!

    A sudden explosion distorted the air in the hall. All those
    present wrinkled their brows and pressed their ears with the palms of their
    hands.

    On the stage, in front the thousands blue color seats, a man
    wearing a traditional black robe suit stood. The man lowered his hands and a
    smile spread across his face. His voice resonated far more strongly than the
    clap he just did, yet was soothing to the ears and charming.

    “It is my pleasure meeting you today, third graders of year
    5784 and honorable teachers. My name is Mortimer Dauch, ninth son of Supreme
    Rule Ariel Dauch”. The thirty something man introduced himself.

    “Supreme Rule’s son?”

    “Mortimer Dauch…”

    “Blood of our lord and ruler!”

    Once again, thousands of voices began to murmur and whisper,
    students, teacher and the Historic Center’s attendants alike.

    Clap!

    Mortimer Dauch struck his hands a second time and when the echo
    passed, peace returned to the hall.

    “Each year the class of third grade from all over El-Eden is
    gathered here in the Historic Center Of New Earth, much like in the Historic
    Center in Shitou and the Historic Center in Tongguo, to witness our history in
    the best manner possible and afterwards receives\ the Supreme Rule’s blessing.
    This tradition akin to a communal “Coming of Age” ceremony between you, the pre
    Earth’s Core children of our kingdom, and the kingdom itself. And so next year,
    when each and every one of you will earn your Earth’s Cores, you will all be
    supported by the martial teaching of Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch and recognized
    by all of Kingdom Earth”. Mortimer took a break and smiled. There was a
    complete silence. Although most of them were too young to understand the full
    meaning behind them, everyone concentrated and internalized his words. “This
    year, however, I was granted the honor to bestow upon you my own ideology, way
    of seeing how one’s life should be, rather than my father’s, and for that
    reason I appear before you today”.

    While to the young students the last sentence did not mean
    too much, the teachers and Historic Center’s attendants were stupefied. Since
    before the establishment of El-Eden, the pre Earth’s Core children of Kingdom
    Earth were guided by the words of at least one of the Supreme Rulers. It was
    the pillar that supported the growth of many and the belief of all. To suddenly
    alter that rite, even by the blood of their Supreme Ruler, how could they, as
    their teachers and seniors in life, accept that on the expense of their own
    students?

  • I must hereby say that this is...just...amazing....this....is...new....this...is...something never thought of before....orginial...exciting...great...unexpected...epic...I vow to you man *-* *-* *-*.... 
  • edited August 2015
    Rimge said:

    I must hereby say that this is...just...amazing....this....is...new....this...is...something never thought of before....orginial...exciting...great...unexpected...epic...I vow to you man *-* *-* *-*.... 

     
    Truly glad that you find it interesting! Hope I won't disappoint you or anyone else that follows the story!





    Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 10 – Groundbreaking Vow

     

    On a front seat, twenty something meters from the stage, an
    elderly female teacher stood up respectfully. “Young Lord, please forgive this
    old grandma, but what you said just now is unheard of”. The old teacher
    referred to herself as “Grandma” to justify her comment and to not offend the monstrous
    man before her.

    “Young Lord, fostering the younger generation has always
    been the responsibility of us, the older generation. And when the day comes, when
    they are a step away from attaining a body and soul enlightenment, it is the
    Supreme Rulers’ blessing which direct them on their path of life…” Another
    teacher tried to reason. Listening to him, other teachers rose from their seats,
    nodding and sharing the same opinion.

    For a short second the expression on Mortimer Dauch’s face showed
    disdain. He closed his eyes and opened them again with a smile. “Place take to
    your seats”. He gestured courteously.

    The teachers, which most were older or at the same age as Mortimer,
    felt something inside them, at the lower dantian. If not their minds, then
    their cores were the ones which gave recognition to Mortimer’s authority over them,
    and right after, they could feel it with all of their body and soul as well,
    how the demeanor of
    the young man on stage suddenly turned noble and imposing.

    “It is very true”, Mortimer started saying and lowered his
    head. “Each year a new generation learns up close the history of our kingdom.
    They then receive a sentence or two of the Martial path from the Supreme Rulers
    and finally try their best to earn a proper Earth’s Core and cultivate it
    according to how they interpreted those sentences”. Mortimer described the
    matter and abridged it so that the students could understand what their
    teachers fuss about.

    It was not a laughing matter to him either, but in recent
    years he began to see it as an issue that cramped the growth of the Martial
    path in humanity’s territory, compared to the amount of advanced experts in the
    beast’s territory. Since birth he followed his father’s teaching and those of
    the other two Supreme Rulers and at this point in his life he gained enough
    insight and encountered a new threshold in his training that allowed him to construct
    a new passageway that he believed, will raise in one level the potential of
    every generation that will decided to follow the Martial path.

    “To restore the calm of the respected elders, I will let you
    in on this…” With a wave of his hand a long black hair pin appeared between his
    fingers like a chopstick. The hair pin had four golden decorations of a quill
    pen, an arm, an eye and a circle.

    “The emissary’s token!” The teachers and the Historic
    Center’s attendants exclaimed in one breath.

    The emissary’s token was far more than a beautiful hair pin;
    it bore the insignia of Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch. It was given to every
    emissary for two reasons and none was for identification process. The first
    reason was negligible, that is for customary purposes. The second reason, on
    the other hand, was to symbolize the trust between the Supreme Ruler and his
    emissary. When revealing the emissary’s token, others must consider the presence
    and words of its bearer to be equal to the Supreme Ruler’s with no complaint.

    Possessing it now did not just mean that Mortimer indeed was
    sent by Supreme Ruler Ariel, but also that he got his approval to inherit his
    duty.

    Mortimer waved his hand again and the hair pin disappeared.
    He had expressionless face now that everyone recognized his official position.

    “Dear sons and daughters of our esteemed kingdom”, it was
    about time for Mortimer to at last voice what he came here with in his heart
    and from this point on he will not permit any more interferences. “From a young
    age we are thought that a person is valued by his level of mastery over his or
    her Earth’s Core. The higher the rank of a Mist User, the more his or her status
    grows.

    ”In the distant past, pre New Earth, when human beings lived
    above the ground, the value of individual could never surpass that of the many.
    Our physical capabilities were frail and unable to evolve. We were bound by a
    very small portion of earthly possession and understanding.

    “More than five thousand years later, after much turbulence
    and internal and external struggles we were able to acquire a new way of life
    with many paths to choose from. Out of them, the path that enabled us to do
    what we could not in the past, physically and spiritually, more than any other
    path, was the Martial path”.

    Mortimer scanned the eyes and attention of every boy and
    girl in the crowd of thousands. In two steps he covered tens of meters from one
    side of the hall to the other, back and forward. In a second step he was back
    on the stage. The entire process took no more than a second, so to the eyes of
    the coreless children it only seemed as if they lost concentration and spaced
    out.

    Mortimer paused, something in the atmosphere around him
    changed to distant and longing. He glanced at the crowed and his eyes gave the impression
    that they were looking past them. “The Martial path, the path of Evolution, the
    path of Immortality, the path of Gods… To describe the possibilities at the end
    of this path… None in our Kingdom Earth, even all of New Earth, can dare to
    try.

    ”So then, what can we do to proceed on this path that can
    strengthen the body and enlighten the soul far beyond what we ever dreamed of
    and so far we have accomplished? In our world beneath the earth there is no
    tunnel leading to that answer”. Mortimer face became rigid after that
    declaration. “To realize the Martial path beyond our current achievements it is
    due time for a certain secret to be finally revealed”.

    “A secret?”

    “What the Young Lord is talking about?”

    “This is taking way too long than usual…”

    Many of the teachers and Historic Center’s attendants
    wondered what is going on inside Mortimer Dauch’s head. In past ceremonies each
    of the emissaries shared, at most, five sentences. Mortimer, in comparison, did
    not even seem that he got to his point.

    “The Supreme Rulers’ whereabouts during the year 4950 until
    the end of the Dark Century”. As the grownups in the crowed became conscious of
    what was said just now, Mortimer raised a hand and continued louder. “That
    period in time which never has been revealed to the public is here and now
    gonna be summarize, therefore please listen.

    “After the establishment of Kingdom Earth the Supreme Rulers
    realized the limitations of their environment and as a result their training
    was impeded in a juncture they could not overcome on their own. To reach a
    breakthrough one solution was venturing into the beast’s territory and facing
    the numerous experts they believed were there. Regrettably, back then the
    relationship between the beasts and Kingdom Earth was just founded and so still
    unstable. With the recommendation of one of the beasts’ leaders that was in
    contact with the Supreme Rulers, they decided to spare the chance of damaging this
    new relationship by what could be interpreted as a provocative show of strength.

    “The Supreme Rulers secluded themselves, pondering what to
    do.  After indeterminate time, they have
    raised and agreed to the second solution. Go back to the world above the earth.

    “As they predicted, he world we, human beings, lived in the
    past as evolved beyond what we could ever imagine. In that world the three
    supreme human beings learned the truth of the Martial path. There they deciphered
    the Earth’s Core secrets to a degree where their accomplishments, thus far, have
    been greatly hollow. Beneath the legendary blue sky they encountered beings of incomprehensible
    might that in front of they could only cower-“

    “Young Lord, this is blasphemy!” A teacher stood up and
    cautioned, almost threateningly. Other teachers selected to also make a stand
    and got on their feet. This one was their Young Lord, but among them were their
    students. If Mortimer were to carry on and dare to undermine the Supreme
    Rulers’ in the slightest of forms, he will taint the young minds of little than
    ten years old children!

    “As I was saying…” Mortimer tone changed from passionate to
    stern in the teachers’ ears alone. A force none of them could fathom penetrated
    their bodies and rocked the internals till their legs gave in and they fell,
    leaning backwards, to the seats.

    “A world we can no longer treat as if it does not exists.
    For the sake of the Martial path, for the forging of the body and the enlightenment
    of the soul, I, Mortimer Dauch, will tell you this, dear sons and daughters of
    our esteemed kingdom. Dare you challenge the Martial path, do so with Peral determination!
    Gain your Earth’s Cores and strive for them to one day flourish under the blue
    sky!” Mortimer roared.

    Unexpected! Startling! Bewildering!

    Thousands of coreless children felt the words of Mortimer,
    an advanced Mist User on the Martial path, resonating through their bodies.

    “Hereby I vow! In two months, after the Half Year
    celebrations, I, Mortimer Dauch, will follow the Supreme Rulers’ steps and
    venture to the world outside of New Earth and when I’ll return I’ll use my new
    found teachings to build my own school of the Martial path and with its strength
    bring our kind back to the world our ancestors once lived in!”

    “Mortimer! Mortimer! Mortimer!”

    There was not one child that did not applaud.

    Above the earth and beneath the blue skies? Out of the world
    that confined every human for the last five thousand years? New teaching of the
    ultimate path, the Marital path? These were ambitious nine years old children and
    this was their last year in a pre Core school. Knowing their history and the
    different possibilities they will encounter in their near future and have to
    choose from was a given at this age. Hearing the oath by their Supreme Ruler’s
    blood and feeling his certainty they all desired to be part of it.

    Even the hearts of the teachers were swept without their
    knowledge. The revelation of the Supreme Rulers’ whereabouts during the darkest
    time of the kingdom’s history was groundbreaking as it is, and there was no
    chance for a noble Mist User such as Mortimer Dauch to lie. Even more so, he
    now gave his word to go above the earth, come back and spread his knowledge,
    the first piece of knowledge of their previews world in more than five thousand
    years. If there was a reason for Supreme Ruler Ariel to pass on his duty to his
    ninth son, no one doubted its unexplained circumstances anymore!

    Then and there, the closing part of the field trip has
    ended.

     

    Cave twenty five.

    At the school’s gates parents waited to pick up their tired
    children. A lot of parents were excited of their children’s third grade annual
    field trip, the time when they will receive their lord and ruler’s blessing, so
    many moms and dads came together to pick up their children.

    “Zax, you are coming with us”. Serah’s dad rubbed Zax’s head
    and pulled him over to join them.

    “Your parents called us. They said that they are stuck at
    work and won’t be able to pick you up, honey”. Serah’s mom grabbed Zax’s hand
    and they began to walk back home.

    Although Zax knew that his parents will not come, when he
    got off the bus, seeing all of his classmates’ parents, a small hope in his
    heart to not be left alone made him believe that maybe they will be able to
    make it.

    That hope was shattered when Troel, Serah’s dad, approached
    him. Luckily for Zax’s, his soul was stronger than that of the average nine
    years old and because of this he was also a bit more mature, enough to
    understand his parents, to know whose fault it was that they had to work late
    today and to obey Serah’s parents – plus, Jinka ,Serah’s mom, was a sous chef in
    a restaurant in the neighboring cave, so a delicious dinner was a sort of compensation.

    Sharing what they learned in the trip, Troel and Jinka
    nodded and listened to the two kids right until the part that mentioned
    Mortimer Dauch.

    “Both of you must have heard wrong…” Jinka said in a
    straight face. Are these children aware of what they are saying? She asked
    herself.

    “No, mom, it’s the truth”.

    “Aunty, even the teachers heard! Ask them if you don’t
    believe us”. Zax and Serah got offended by Troel’s and Jinka’s disbelief in their
    words.

    “That’s enough”. Troel snapped and looked at his wife. Both
    of them were confused and a bit worry. Zax and Serah were good and honest
    children. One was the son of their friends and the other their own daughter.
    But the things they repeated and claimed that were the words of Supreme Ruler
    Ariel’s ninth son were too absurd and exaggerated!

    “You two had a long day. For now, let’s stop discussing
    about the trip and first get home to eat dinner. I and Jinka were waiting you
    for more than an hour and we are also hungry so let’s step on it”. Troel and
    Jinka silently agreed, if anything unorthodox has really happened on the trip
    they will call Mr. Ogler the moment they will get home and clear it up with
    him. Besides, contrary to Zax, Serah had dark circles under her eyes, like
    others kids they noticed. The school and the parents emphasized the importance
    of this annual trip… Perhaps it was too stressful for a group of nine year olds
    after all?

     

    The Lova household, Serah’s house.

    “Go wash your hands and watch the living room’s screen until
    dinner is ready”. Jinka told Zax and Serah. “Honey…” Troel picked up the
    receiver of the house Caller and began to dial as his wife kept a constant eye
    contact with him, waiting for him to assure her that whatever the two children
    thought they have heard was just a misunderstanding.

    Getting a short intervals ringing, the Caller on the other
    side of Mr. Ogler was constantly busy. Troel hanged up and tried to call again
    several times to no avail.

    “Mom, come see”. Serah called from the living room. “Quick
    before it's over! You too, dad!”

    “Sweetheart, daddy on the phone”. Troel’s ear was stuck to
    the receiver, only paying half of his attention to Serah.

    “Troel…” Suddenly Jinka called him, using that serious tone
    of her that is rarely heard.

    Troel hanged up immediately and went to the living room,
    where his wife’s and the two children’s eyes were fixed on the Screen and the
    volume was high.

    The announcement was broadcast repeatedly on all the
    channels. A middle age man with the emissary’s token pinned to his black robe,
    standing before a crowd of reporters and a picture of none other than Mortimer
    Dauch on the upper left side of the Screen.

    “On July second, year 5784, an expedition group led by
    Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch’s ninth son, Mortimer Dauch…” The announcer relayed the
    entire revelation of the Supreme Rulers’ whereabouts and Mortimer’s vow that
    just a few hours ago the entire class of third grade of El-Eden received in
    their annual field trip, to the whole of Kingdom Earth.


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 11 – Training In The Manor Of Cave Twenty Five

     

    Staring at the living room’s Screen, Zax and Serah had two
    huge, proud, childish grins. They did tell the truth and now Troel and Jinka
    have to believe them.

    In contrast to the two children, Troel and Jinka completely
    ignored the notion of their daughter and her friend lying. The two adult
    listened to every word of the announcer and followed each of the reporters’
    questions that were answered or overlooked.

    They did not laugh or were excited. By when the announcement
    broadcast the third time since they began to watch it, Jinka was holding hands
    with her husband. Both of them were sweating and seemed to contain great
    pressure inside their every bone.

    An expedition to the environment, the world, that over five
    thousand years ago nearly destroyed humanity… How could they as simple Mist
    Users, middle class citizens of Kingdom Earth and most of all parents to a nine
    years old innocent little girl, not imagine with much more clarity the risks to
    their society rather than the benefits?

    “See, dad, isn’t it amazing?” Serah boasted. “Seeing the
    blue skies, mom, I also want it!”

    “Me too, aunty, uncle. One day for sure!” The pair of
    children could not sustain their exhilaration.

    “Serah, go to your room with Zax. Arrange the bed for him in
    case he’ll stay the night here and play there until dinner is ready”. Troel’s
    voice echoed with vibrations that forced the two children on their feet and
    without protest, obey.

    The rest of the evening passed quietly. Serah used the lower
    layer of her bed to open a second bed for Zax to sleep on and brought some
    covers from her parents’ bedroom. Afterwards and again, after they finished a
    mute dinner, they played some Mocca Kart races and when Zax was tired of losing
    and hearing Serah’s boasting they talked about their day, Mortimer Dauch, the
    added new goals they set for themselves and the blue skies until they fell
    asleep.

    Zax woke up early in the morning, around five o’clock. Today
    was Friday and the school was close until Sunday morning, so he got off the bed
    without making a sound, picked up his schoolbag and prepared to go home. As it
    turned out, yesterday he lost his last day of training before his big sister
    returns and because of that he woke up upset.

    The only one awake beside him was Troel, getting ready for
    work. In a low voice he greeted Zax “Good morning” and waved his head for him
    to go sit near the dining table. He had dark circles under the eyes, apparently
    he could not shake off the anxiety of last night announcement.  Troel did not ask Zax why he also woke up
    early since his appearance explained this to him. If he wanted to go home early
    it is his right, the boy lived five minutes of walk from them, but he will not
    let him go on an empty stomach. Troel served him a meal of fried eggs and sausage,
    a small loaf of raisins bread and orange juice and left for work after he half
    instructed half asked Zax quietly to stay until seven and then wake up Jinka so
    she could lock the door behind him and get ready to work herself.

     

    As a result of the Nightly Cover formation, the morning air
    was cool and refreshing. Zax returned home and was ready to head out to his big
    sister’s apartment in hope that he will be able to squeeze couple of training
    hours before she arrives, but as he entered his room he got startled.

    “Zetsa!” He jumped cheerfully on his big sister’s back that
    laid on his bed, sleeping.

    “Little Zi,” Zetsa grabbed Zax’s head and rubbed it
    forcefully. “You brat! Jumping joyfully on your big sister after giving her so
    much trouble this past week”. She turned over and pinched his cheeks.

    “I’w sowry, I’w sowry”. Zax cried and sounded unintelligible.
    Whenever he tried to pull her hands and failed she pinched a little harder.

    She finally released him. “You know, I got back late at
    night, wanting to surprise you, but then mom told me you went and slept at some
    other girl’s home”. Zetsa teased.

    “Stupid! Serah is my friend!” Zax frowned.

    “Ok, ok, haha… How about this, although I’m back early, I
    have some other prior commitments to deal with today. You can either come with
    me or do something else. I prefer that you’ll go my place to train and wait for
    me, but I’ll let you choose”.

    “I want to go with you!” Zax said firmly.

    “Haha, I knew it. It’s still early so you can play or watch
    the Screen until we’ll head out”. Zeta laughed. “Take also will be happy to see
    you after so long”.

     

    Cave twenty four.

    There were three tunnels connecting to cave twenty five.
    Tunnel seventy seven was connected to the nature reserve, cave twenty three.
    Tunnel seventy eight was one of the border tunnels between humanity’s territory
    and the beasts’. And tunnel seventy six was connected to the neighboring cave
    twenty four.

    Having recognition from high level people does not mean
    having money. Although she has the Mist User’s qualifications for a well-paid
    jobs, Zetsa would rather to occupy herself in private training sessions than
    work. Therefore her possessions can be counted on one hand, her apartment, the
    mattress in her apartment, a few sets of clothes gifted from her mother and the
    Sun K-79 bike that she drives Zax on its back seat whenever he comes with her
    to cave twenty four.

    Cave twenty four had a slightly higher quality of Life than
    cave twenty five and most of its residents were high class families. Entering
    through tunnel seventy six the cave seemed like a huge wide hill. At the top of
    it was the manor of the cave’s governor, a level beneath it were suburban
    neighborhoods and at the lowest and widest level was the shining urban area
    where Jinka worked as a sous chef in one of the restaurants there.

    Zetsa’s and Zax’s destination was the governor’s manor.

    A private vehicle was luxury only those of the high class
    could allow themselves. A Sun K-79 was a luxury only a high level Mist Users
    could save enough in a short time and affords to own, furthermore, only high
    level Mist Users could gain the license to drive in any cave in the region they
    lived in.

    Numerous eyes stared with admiration at the flashing beam of
    red light that was Zetsa’s Sun K-79 bike as she sped up to the governor’s
    manor. Holding her waist and leaning back, Zax felt the extreme wind hitting
    his face and blowing his hair and enjoyed every moment of it. He did not need
    to worry about a helmet because he could count on his big sister’s reflexes in
    case he will lose his grip and he definitely did not need to worry about her
    having an accident.

    The governor’s manor was a two stories building. Every
    storey was seven meters tall; its width was around eighty meters and its length
    the same.  A fertile garden surrounded
    the manor and at the only entrance in stood two black suits guards which Zetsa paid
    no attention to as she drove in and parked near the manor’s doors.

    “Pleasure to have you again, Miss Zetsa”. Even before Zetsa cut
    the engine a middle age man wearing elegant attire stepped outside, accompanied
    by an old maid in a long dress and a red hair bodyguard in a white suit.

    “I hope that you don’t mind, Xingze, my little brother
    wanted to see Take so I brought him as well”. Zetsa pushed Zax forward to
    present himself.

    “Please forgive my intrusion, governor Edomachi”. Zax bowed.

    “Haha, Master Zax, you are a year younger than Take yet,
    unlike him, polite and know how to address your elders”. Governor Edomachi
    laughed and clapped his hands. In truth, the only reason he addressed Zax as “Master
    Zax” was because of Zetsa’s level as a Mist User and her relations with him,
    otherwise he would not have bat an eyelash at the boy.

    “Don’t praise him too much, Xingze, he acts like that just
    because he's embarrassed. Take far more respected toward me than my little
    brother”. Zetsa joked and Zax’s face reddened.

    “And others far more respected toward me than my son, Miss
    Zetsa”. Governor Edomachi kept smiling and gestured with his hands for them to
    come inside the manor.

    For their master, Edomachi Xingze, to be so generous and
    tell jokes when a young woman of lower status that could be at best his illegitimate
    daughter calls him by his first name was a rare sight for the old maid and the
    white suit bodyguard that occurred only when Zetsa visited.

    Inside the manor governor Edomachi indulged in a small talk
    with Zetsa while leading the away with his escort behind him and Zax following
    left to Zetsa. The Edomachi family was rich and productive. Gold, silver, works
    of art and valuable antiques furnished their manor while large number of servants
    and maids answered their every command and trained guards kept their and theirs
    safety.

    Mrs. Edomachi received Zetsa and Zax as they entered the greenhouse
    governor Edomachi brought them to. She was sitting on wicker chair, beside a
    glass table with a pitcher of iced tea on it, enjoying the aroma and colors of
    the garden and the company of a young boy, her son, Take Edomachi, as he read
    her with his sweet voice from a poetry book.

    “How very lovely to see you again, Miss Zetsa”. Mrs.
    Edomachi’s smile was pleasant. She grabbed Zetsa’s hands and held them close to
    her chest. She was filled with gratitude toward that young woman in front of
    her who fostered her son.

    “Thank you for having me, Slovet”.

    “Zetsa Mor!” The handsome Take called happily and closed the
    poetry book after he marked the last page he read. “You brought Zax too”. He
    jumped from the wicker chair and laid his arm on Zax’s neck.

    Take referred to Zetsa with the honorific title “Mor” after
    her first name because she was his Martial teacher and he was her Martial
    student, which sometimes made the nonconformist Zetsa address him with the apprentice
    title “Tal” after his first name. But his relationship with Zax was entirely
    different. To Take, which was an only child, Zax was like a little brother that
    he would see only when his Mor arrive to teach him.

    “Zax, whenever you are here my Take gets to experience the sentiment
    of an older brother. Please do come more often”. Mrs. Edomachi requested of Zax
    and then walked over to her husband.

    “We won’t disturb you any farther, Miss Zetsa”. Governor
    Edomachi took his wife’s hand and turned to live as Zetsa nodded toward him and
    his Mrs. Edomachi and continued with the two boys to the training hall.

    The training hall was an extension of the manor. Its floor
    was made of wooden planks and its ceiling was in the shape of a domed. Some of
    the weapons hanged on the walls were made from Peral metal but most were made
    of lesser steel. Generally it did not matter since Take was a long way from any
    form of combat training.

    Standing in front of Take, Zax to the side, Zetsa stared at
    her Tal and ordered. “Unleash”.

    Immediately Take took his stance, legs bent, hands lowering
    from his head till his arms straightened. Take dispersed deep breaths slowly
    till gradually a thin energy signature that only he and Zetsa could sense began
    to appear and an invisible pressure distorted the air around him.

    “Hang on to it”. Zetsa instructed even though beads of sweat
    already formed on Take’s face.

    “Amazing!” From the side Zax watched enviously. The type of
    training he yearned for the most was being performed right in front of his
    eyes. “Why big sis won’t train me in a Qi awareness and Qi refining technique?”
    Bitterly he said in his head.

    “Come here, Zax, I want to see the results of your
    meditation”. Zetsa took him to a faraway corner of the hall to not distract
    Take and the both of them sat down. “You have done just as I told mom to pass
    you, right? Briefly describe me the process you went through”.

    “Yes, I was able to train in the Inner Spirit formation for only
    one day this week”. Zax answered embarrassedly. “Thereafter mom and dad found
    out and you know the rest… but I did meditate. After the intense session in the
    Inner Spirit formation, for the first time, the formation left some sort of fragments,
    like icy grains, that surrounded, I think, my soul.

    “In the first day of meditation, since the icy grains were foreign
    yet carried the same energy signature as the Inner Spirit formation I decided
    to tamper with one of them. I wasn’t able to do much apart from dismantling the
    icy grain, but afterwards it turned into a blue white dust that was absorbed into
    my soul and felt like it made it a little bit stronger. That’s about all I did
    in Tuesday and Wednesday. Yesterday, because of the field trip, I had no time
    to meditate so there are a few tens of icy grains remaining around my soul”.

    “Hmm… That’s explaining the glimmer in your eyes”. Zetsa deduced
    in a small voice. Of course, that “Glimmer” she mentioned was a side effect
    only an expert Mist User can perceive. “You progressed well in such a short
    time as eight months”. Zetsa half complimented half said it as a fact.

    In accordance to the training schedule that she made for Zax
    and kept to herself, after last week modification to the Inner Spirit
    formation, it had to take to him at least a month before he could trap fragments
    of the formation. Now her little brother claims that after one week, were he
    trained just once, there are tens of fragment circulating his soul…

    “I chose right”. She confirmed to herself.

    Knowing that he had done well, a big smile spread across
    Zax’s face.

    “Just this once I’ll allow you to keep that snotty smile”.
    Zetsa raised a finger as to show that she really mean it. Zax’s has not even
    made yet his first step on the Martial path. Any type of advancement he may
    have done is nothing to be proud of at this stage, merely an insight to what
    might be his future growth. “Enter your meditative state and work on the
    fragment until your soul will absorb all of them. In the mean time I’ll go
    instruct Take”.

    Zetsa’s strict attitude made her seem like a different
    person than the one Zax was most familiar with. Unlike when she was angry at
    him, the way she spoke and the look in her eyes at matters related to Martial
    instruction gave off a feeling of distant between them. At times like this he
    saw her not as his beloved sister or the person he looked up to, but his
    unofficial Mor, and as she ordered, so he did.

     

    Take was unaware of Zetsa’s presence standing less than a
    meter before him. His hands were burning red and white steam rose from them. He
    concentrated his Qi brutally to the center of each hand, as if he started a
    fire inside his body that threatened the existence of his Qi to either escape
    to the palms of his hands or burn away.

    To be precise, it was the intent of his subconscious that
    controlled the flow of his Qi and after a few minutes that he was left by his
    Mor to execute that certain Qi refining technique that she taught him, Take
    hands felt like they were holding a blazing steel sphere while the rest of his
    body was glacial.

    Zetsa channeled her mist energy to her hands and in a flash
    the pure silver aura of an intermediate Mist Master covered them like tight
    gloves. She grabbed Take’s hands and supported his effort with the Radical
    Fiery Icy Provocation Qi refining technique that her Master taught her.

    As Zetsa’s younger brother and Take’s training companion
    every once in a while, Zax also was well versed in the training method behind
    the Radical Fiery Icy Provocation’s exercise. In its essence the Radical Fiery
    Icy Provocation is a four stages Qi refining technique. From the begging the first
    stage, Fiery Icy, is quite arduous, require immense patience while the practitioner
    meditate and learn to control the body’s temperature.

    During these more than five thousand years, even without an
    Earth’s Core, the human‘s body underwent minimal changes that strengthened its
    base, thanks to a prolong exposure to the Sun Stones’ radiation. Today, a
    coreless person body’s temperature could go as high as sixty five degrees Celsius
    and as low as minus thirty degrees Celsius before the body starts to shut down.

    To the average coreless person, it can take weeks or months
    of training before completing the first stage which by the end of it the
    practitioner should be able to raise or lower on a whim the body’s temperature
    to the two extremes. An average Earth’s Core Holder, on the other hand, can
    master this stage in about one to four weeks. In the end it all depends on the
    Martial talent of the practitioner.

    The second stage, Fifteen Long Bridges, of the Radical Fiery
    Icy Provocation Qi refining technique acting as a bridge between the first and
    the third stage, therefore it is the quickest stage to master. After gaining
    control over the body’s temperature a practitioner will almost effortlessly be
    able to tap to the natural reservoir of Qi in the human’s body. To practice the
    second stage the practitioner must follow and repeat day and night fifteen body
    movements until he or she can execute them fluently. The purpose of this stage
    is to master control over the movement of and form of the Qi. Since a
    practitioner cannot stop once starting the second stage until completing it,
    otherwise it might backlash and the internals will suffer, to the coreless
    person a week will suffice to master this stage and to an Earth’s Core holder
    two to three days will be more than enough.

    The third stage, also known as the Fiery Icy Qi Unification,
    for most practitioners is the trickiest. Simply put, as its name suggest, in
    this stage the practitioner must unify the essence of hot and cold with his or
    her Qi. The third stage is also divided into three phases; in the first phase
    the practitioner must convey the characteristic of heat to the Qi, in the
    second phase the practitioner must convey the characteristic of cold to the Qi
    and in the third phase the practitioner must unify the two opposites within his
    or he Qi – by doing so, raising the quality of the Qi more than tenfold!

  • I am reading it all day lol i am on book 2 chapter 1 now and its rly amazing xP

  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 12 – A Doting Parent’s Request

     

    Before talking about how long it takes to a practitioner to
    master the third stage of the Radical Fiery Icy Provocation Qi refining
    technique, a word of warning must be said. From the four stages of this lurid
    technique, the third phase of the third stage is the most dangerous! Roughly
    one out of a one hundred thousand practitioners will have the natural affinity
    to practice and not suffer the disastrous consequences of this technique.

    So how long it takes to master the third stage? Regardless
    of the practitioner’s Martial talent, the period of time it takes to complete
    this stage is bluntly unknown. Even the prodigy Zetsa could not avoid being among
    the remaining ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine who lack the
    natural affinity. The results were she being stuck at the last phase of the
    third stage for more than eight years, and the only thing that made her
    exceptional in her group was her unique dexterity in handling the chaotic mist
    energy that will settle down once she will advance to the fourth stage.

    Lastly there is the fourth stage of the Radical Fiery Icy Provocation
    Qi refining technique, The Endless Path Of Fire And Ice. Once reaching this
    stage the sole aim of a practitioner is to the convert the properties of either
    hot or cold to his or her mist energy\aura, then enrich and intensify them.

    At that point, there are countless methods of training and
    the Martial path is never ending. But that was something that Zax was still too
    immature to comprehend.

    The Radical Fiery Icy Provocation Qi refining technique is a
    top tier as well as extremely rigorous among the Qi refining techniques,
    therefore one that should not be exercised recklessly and without an expert
    instructor which at least reached the fourth stage.

    Zetsa, with all due respect to the great talent that she is,
    being in the last phase of the third stage could not be considered an “Expert”
    in the Radical Fiery Icy Provocation Qi refining technique. Yet, there were two
    reasons that made her confident enough to teach Take this technique. The first
    was her control over the chaotic mist energy which allowed her to interfere in
    case Take’s Qi will backlash forcefully against his Qi channels. The second was
    Take’s lack of talent in the Martial way that he could only make up by
    practicing a high level technique.

    Holding Take’s hands Zetsa helped him balance his body’s temperature.
    That was the little help that she could provide him whenever he was about to exhaust
    himself. Supporting him sooner could have hindered his attempt to convey the characteristic
    of heat to the Qi and waiting too long could have resulted with Take too tired
    to continue for four to five days.

    Take unconsciously held tightly his Mor’s hands. What
    followed was as if the two extremes that were pushing against each other inside
    of him have suddenly settled, and an undefined harmony was created. Rather than
    “Support”, what Zetsa provided her Tal was simply a break from his taxing
    training for as long as they would hold hands. The moment she would let go,
    Take’s endeavor to pass the first phase would resume until he will succeed or
    halt for this session. If he will choose the latter, a small backlash to his Qi
    channels will occur and for the next three days Take will be bedbound. On the
    bright side, his Qi channels will be tempered a bit by the characteristic of
    heat, so in his next training session he will be able to hold on longer on his
    own.

    Allowing Take to resume his training, Zetsa returned to Zax.
    His outward appearance seemed like an ice statue of a young monk, cool and serene.
    His skin was pale blue and emitted cold steam.

    “Surprisingly he is doing better than he claimed”. Zetsa
    thought to herself, impressed. “Another hour or two will be his outmost limit,
    though. I will let him keep going and assist him dismantling the rest of the
    grains so tomorrow he could have another go at the Inner Spirit formation with
    me by his side. I will use this chance to also check the protection formation I
    implanted in his body. It must have taken a great tool afterwards…”

    After the first hour of which Zetsa kept a watchful eye on
    her little brother and Tal, she was visited by governor Edomachi. Knowing how
    secretive an expert can be with his or her teaching, the governor came alone,
    carrying a small folding table, two folding chairs and apologetic stare.

    “Will you please join me, Miss Zetsa?” Governor Edomachi revealed
    a Jade Wine bottle and two cups out of his breast pocket.

    Hiding her frown, Zetsa nodded and sat on one chair, while
    Governor Edomachi opened the table and sat on the other, purring first cup to
    Miss Zetsa.

    “I’m sure that you are aware of my Martial achievements”.
    Governor Edomachi said.

    “You recently made a breakthrough, congratulations, Xingze,
    a D level Earth’s Core Holder”. Zetsa raised her cup and with a “CLING” the
    both of them drank.

    “Many thanks”. Governor Edomachi lowered his head and poured
    the second cup. He knew quite well that in front of Miss Zetsa, a B level Mist
    Master, there was nothing for him to bluster about and he did not mind. “But I
    would rather thank you for the great improvements you have made with my son.
    Honestly, my boy being able to materialize his Qi… Thank you, Miss Zetsa, thank
    you, thank you!” He rushed to salute her but Zetsa nimbly placed her hand over
    his cup.

    “Xingze, there are three parties involve in your son
    improvements. I, who follows our contract, Take, that doesn’t neglect his
    exercises and make up his lack of talent with great determination and effort,
    and You, who first approached me and convinced me to take your boy as my Tal.
    Thank me once by words and that should be enough. You have already fulfilled
    your part of the contract and then some”. Zetsa drank first and poured the
    third cup herself for both of them.

    Neither a smile nor a word of agreement, Governor Edomachi
    washed his throat with the wine quietly. Three parties were indeed involved,
    but one overshadowed the other two in an unparalleled way. As wealthy as his
    family was, as high as he sat himself in his position of a Cave Governor,
    Xingze Edomachi still could not afford enrolling his son to El-Eden’s top
    Martial school. There were other Martial pre Core schools, as well, that could have
    help Take cultivate his Qi, which were the second most common choice for high
    class families. But due to Take lack of talent he would have most likely
    graduated them with nearly zero results, and these schools were not cheap
    either.

    His approach to Zetsa was a bet he had nothing lose at. A
    famous name that, as luck had it, resided a tunnel away. Even convincing her
    was not the trouble that he expected, merely a thirty months contract that was
    nearing its end and a payment that he already cleared.

    “Miss Zetsa”, Governor Edomachi turned his cup after the
    fourth cup.

    Recognizing his tone, Zetsa did not follow the same gesture but
    kept her cup empty. It was about time for Xingze to say his true motive for
    coming over.

    “In a few months, this year Great Earth’s Core Pursuit will
    take place, after which Take will relinquish the term “Qi” for “Mist Energy”
    and he will be officially recognized as an F level Mist User”. Governor
    Edomachi stated. “Shortly after, thanks to his training, he will be able to
    break through to the next level and become an E level Mist User. If he will
    achieve that before the age of twelve, his future prospects will surpass even
    mine”.

    “An E level Earth’s Core Holder at such a young age will
    probably manage to become a Core Breaker by the age of forty”. Zetsa commended.

    “That will surely advance our family name, Core Breaker…”

    For a short few minutes the two watched Take, engulfed with
    his Qi around his drenched hands.

    “Miss Zetsa”, Governor Edomachi clenched his fists, his own
    dark brown mist energy covering them, he looked at his son. “I beg of you to
    agree… Two and a half months from now is the date for the Great Earth’s Core
    Pursuit. I ask of you as the father of your Tal and as a man who holds you in
    great esteem, agree to go as the representative Guardian of cave twenty five
    and take with you my son. Even if it’s a long shot, a hopeless longing, I beg
    of you the fair chance for Take to pursue a high quality Earth’s Core and to
    protect him from illegal obstructs…”

    “Xingze…” Zetsa was lost for words. Usually when a cave does
    not have a native Mist Master at the Core Breaker level, or have one who is
    unwilling, the cave’s Management Office will hire the essential Mist User from
    the Core Breakers Guild of Kingdom Earth – the process is the same whether in El-Eden,
    Shitou or Tongguo. Old high class families, however, tend to hire Mist Masters
    for unimaginable sums to volunteer as Guardians for the Great Earth’s Core
    Pursuit and help their progeny in finding quality Earth’s Cores.

    Legally these families are allowed to hire the services of
    outside Mist Users and volunteer them to the Great Earth’s Core Pursuit as long
    as these Mist Users are at least C level Core Breakers, since regardless of
    their reason to volunteer, they are obligated to the same responsibilities as
    the official Guardians – Guardians that are hired by or part of a cave’s
    Management Office – and in case of peril to the young participants they must
    protect them without discrimination or personal preference.

    The problem is when a participant finds an Earth’s Core that
    seems to have the qualifications of an acceptable Earth’s Core for these
    volunteered Mist Users’ benefactors. They might act quickly and snatch it
    before anyone, especially the participant who found it, can notice. These cases
    are hard to handle mostly because no one wants to slander a Mist Master for a
    child’s word and the fact the more the often the complaint received after the
    Great Earth’s Core Pursuit is over for that child and from the start he or she
    could never evaluate the “vanished” Earth’s Core…

    “Miss Zetsa, I heard that even among the F level Earth’s
    Cores, E level Earth’s Cores and D level Earth’s Cores there are variations
    noticeable only by Mist Users at the Mist Master level. Take doesn’t need much,
    even a proper F level Earth’s Core will do him right. He can find it on his
    own, but please be there to watch over him!” For his son’s sake, for the
    family’s future, Governor Edomachi was willing to grovel if needed.

    “You put me in a tough position, Xingze. If others will know
    about my involvement with you and our agreement, more annoying people will ask
    for my services. My comfortable life style will be disrupted…” Zetsa sighed.
    “But for Take…” She whispered and recalled. “In Master perspective the
    relationship between a Martial teacher and a Martial student should be that of
    a parent and child. Could I abandon Take if he was my child? Of course not!”

    Zetsa turned Governor Edomachi’s cup and poured their fifth
    cup to the brim. “For Take I will see myself joining as a Guardian in this year
    Great Earth’s Core Pursuit”. Zetsa raised her cup and drunk in one gulp.

    “I will be forever in debt to you, Miss Zetsa”. Governor
    Edomachi muttered and with one gulp drank his cup of delicious Jade Wine.

    After Zetsa and her drinking partner, Governor Edomachi,
    finished the whole bottle of Jade Wine, the Governor left her to continue his
    daily commitments. Zetsa sat for a while, enjoying the sweet and dry after
    taste of the wine and examined the two boys’ progress.

    On Take’s part there was nothing she could do except to
    remind him when to stop and rest since breaking through the first phase of the
    third stage of the Radical Fiery Icy Provocation Qi refining technique was
    something he could only do on his own.

    Zax’s exercise was quite the opposite, offered her a little
    bit more flexibility with what she can and cannot do for him and the question
    about “How it will influence him?” did not concern her that much. Zax was at
    the earliest of stages in regard to soul training and some interference, when
    done at the right moment, could help him strengthen the base of his soul and
    save time.

    It was either helping him it the grains or checking the
    protection formation that she left on him. Zetsa preferred to deal with the
    protection formation tomorrow at her place since even if she will interfere
    with Zax’s exercise and create a shock to his soul, by the next day he should
    feel fine and better prepared for their weekly test of his spirit.

    Much like when she supported Take, pure silver mist energy
    shone like almighty aura, wrapped around Zetsa’s right hand as she laid it on Zax’s
    head, one finger at a time and lastly the palm.

    Zax was immersed in dismantling the tens of grains which
    circled the distorted blur that was his soul. Each time he finished working on
    a grain the amount of blue white dust that formed disappeared faster and seemed
    less than a cold breath after ten pineapple popsicles. Dismantling the grains
    was physically and mentally exhausting, even if in the beginning it was easier
    than the previous two times. Like absorbing time, after time, after time the
    blue white dust was the same as working on a muscle that got tired early on
    during an exercise yet still should be capable of making more effort.

    How long his big sister did want him to go on? Or if he will
    stop before she tells him how disappointed of him she might be? Were two
    bothering questions that Zax pondered about whenever he thought of a break.

    ?!

    Zax’s attention shifted to a distant spark in his consciousness.

    TING!

    Another spark, close enough to hear as it set off a grain,
    lit his consciousness with silvery light.

    TING! TING! TING!

    One after the other the tens of grains were hit by an alien
    mist energy wave and burst almost in solidarity inside of Zax’s head. Before he
    could utter a word of surprise, the vast space of Zax’s consciousness was overflowing
    with blue white dust, like the scenery of the few natural reserves steams
    caves.

    “No! No! It’s gonna be too much!” Zax was alarmed. If so
    much blue white dust will merge with his soul in one shot it could freeze and
    shatter!

    Zax’s fears were realized as his thoughts went rampage with
    helplessness. As he predicted, the insane amount of blue white dust swirled
    around his soul as if it was in the eye of a towering cyclone. To better
    prepare himself, Zax spread his awareness as far as he could across the
    accumulating cyclone of blue white dust. He noticed that in the center streams
    of the blue white dust were flowing to his soul in an increasing rate. Zax did
    not dare to break his meditative state, if he did, then the terrifying energy
    of the cyclone would probably tear his soul. He had to concentrate on not
    fighting with the streams of blue white dust and allow his soul to sallow and
    merge with them as fast as it could while coping with the frost that began to
    cover it.

    “Silver?” Thanks for enlarging his awareness Zax was able to
    detect a moment sooner the silver wave that passed through his consciousness.
    The silver wave pressed on the cyclone from every direction, from the outside
    making it shrink, but from where Zax’s soul was, the eye of the cyclone, the
    streams of blue white dust at least doubled in size.

    “Anottther wavvve iss ccominggg!” His thoughts were freezing
    along with more than half of his blurred soul. The second wave did not press
    against the cyclone. This time it passed through it and struck Zax’s soul. In mare
    moments the frost began to break into blue white dust and merged with the soul.

    “Silver light, silver waves… Big sis doing something to me!”
    Zax figured. “She helped me dismantle all the grains and now pushing them to
    merge with my soul. Ok, then I won’t worry about the cold and the amount of
    dust and just concentrate on drawing it in faster! ” He was now resolute and
    with no more hesitation used his intent to increase even more the size of the
    streams.

    Gushing rivers of blue white dust poured over and merged
    with Zax’s soul, causing it a sequence of minor transformations. One hour, two hours… After six
    and a half hours Zax finally opened his eyes. In front of him stood a young
    maid, as if she waited for him the full duration of his training to finish and
    awake, but Zax, with a tranquil facial expression, could discern that the maid
    just arrived and it actually was her etiquette that made her pose as if she was
    always there, waiting for an order. Apart from the maid, before uttering any
    kind of word, Zax sensed and felt himself and his surroundings more than he
    ever could. His body was weak and tired, like he was stuck inside an iceberg
    for a thousand years and now out and gradually coming back to himself. The
    sense of smell, sight, sound and touch felt like that of a new born baby, from
    emptiness to once again, gradually, intensifying and discovering the world
    around them.

    “Pah...” Zax released his first breath and breathed in again. He repeated
    the process several times before stabilizing his breath and turning to that
    maid who silently waited.

    “Where is my big sister?”

    “Master Zax, if you are fit then please come after me”. The maid
    politely spoke and although she offered her hand to Zax he got up on his own.


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 13 – Profound Improvement

     

    The young maid led Zax to the manor’s greenhouse. Two
    figures, Zetsa and Mrs. Edomachi, sat beside the glass table with cold drinks
    and sweets and had a pleasant chat. The two women, one B level Mist User, the
    other, E level Mist User, sensed Zax and the young maid long before they
    arrived and were ready to meet them.

    “Nura, offer our young guest refreshment and bring a tray of
    peeled fruits”. Mrs. Edomachi requested and the young maid, Nura, nodded her
    head obediently and left to the manor’s kitchen.

    “There is no need, Slovet”, Zetsa motioned for Zax to come
    closer. How pale he was made her stomach twitch. He was fine, or rather, he
    will be, after a long rest, she knew that quite well. She will never put him in
    any danger. That is why, as difficult as the demands of his training were, she
    already judged any threshold Zax will have to break through and knew what will
    be his limits. The reason that she felt anxious was simple, her beloved little
    brother went through a harsh exercise that exhausted his strength to the point
    that he could barely stand on his own two feet.

    “Here, drink the all glass”. Zetsa handed over her glass to
    Zax and basically forced him to drink the apple flavor cold tea to the last
    drop and another glass when he emptied the first.

    “We will be leaving now, Slovet”. Zetsa got up from the wicker
    chair.

    “But I had no time to play with Take…” Zax sulked.

    “Stop it, Zax, you got to see and train with him. And you’re
    in no condition to mess around, Take neither. His body is in worse shape than
    yours”. Zetsa explained.

    “Next time, sweetie”. Mrs. Edomachi also insisted.

    Mrs. Edomachi accompanied Zax and Zetsa to the manor’s
    entrance. Unlike her husband she had no desire for a constant escort nor saw
    the need to have one. On their way they passed Nura, who silently returned to
    the kitchen with the tray she carried after receiving a wave of hand from Mrs.
    Edomachi.

    “Farewell”. The three exchanged their goodbyes and Zetsa and
    Zax drove back to cave twenty five on the Sun K-79.

     

    Back at home, per her daughter request, Laylen made porridge
    for Zax and despite him claiming that his is not hungry; Zetsa ordered him to
    eat as much as four bowls and afterwards go to sleep.

    The next day was finally Saturday. The day before Zax and
    Zetsa returned home at around eight o’clock in the evening. After closing his
    eyes Zax fell asleep in but an instant and woke up the next day at ten o’clock
    in the morning, nearly fourteen hours later.

    After a light breakfast Zetsa and Zax left to her flat in
    the abandoned construction site that she owned. The door to the one room
    apartment was left open to let some light in and the white mattress was moved
    to the side of the room.

    Zax stood with his back to his big sister, a bit shivering.
    The test to see his improvement was not stress free at all since it examined
    the level of his soul, the most fundamental vital aspect of any being.

    “Breath freely”. Zetsa instructed, the palm of her right hand
    on Zax’s back. Pure silver mist energy slowly formed all over her body. To make
    it a test and not an assault she had to have full control over the formation
    she was about to execute.

    “Are you ready?” She asked to be reassured that Zax is
    prepared to withstand the coming impact of the formation. There was not a
    second time if he will flinch or misjudge his temperament before the test will instigate.

    “Yes”. Zax answered calmly.

    Without accepting his respond Zetsa’s left hand began to
    flash with dozens of hands signs. In less than a second a silvery character was
    created on the back and palm of her left hand. That was the Soul Pressure
    formation that she used to check her little brother’s progress almost every
    Saturday for the last eight months.

    Zetsa spared Zax a word of warning and struck his head with
    the palm of her left hand.

    Right away Zax felt immense pressure passing through his consciousness
    and colliding with his soul. The pressure came in the form of a tidal wave, but
    when it hit Zax’s soul it immediately dispersed as if it struck against the
    base of a formidable mountain.

    BOOM!

    Another wave of pressure followed, bigger than the first one
    and with greater velocity, but as it struck Zax’s soul the second wave, too,
    dispersed to nothingness.

    “Two strikes…” Although Zetsa spoke out Zax could not hear
    her.

    BOOM!

    BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

    Zax’s soul withstood five waves of pressure with little
    difficulties.

    BOOM!

    “Grr…” Zax uttered while clenching his teeth. His eyes were
    close and he concentrated on defending his soul so he was not aware of his
    physical reaction.

    On Zax’s head Zetsa’s hand shone a little brighter than
    before. “The sixth increase in pressure rubbed his soul”. Zetsa stated to
    herself and her right hand on the back of Zax’s back also appeared glowing.

    BOOM!

    Beads of sweat began to form on Zax’s forehead. The seventh
    wave was seven times bigger and wilder than the first and its impact with the
    soul was almost enough to actually push it from its abode in the consciousness.

    “Here come the eighth!” Zax bewailed, yet was not ready to
    yield. Ten waves! Ten waves! An even, round number was his goal. He improved so
    much in one week! For the past two months he continually surrendered after the
    sixth wave and today made it to the seventh! “Three more!” His stubbornness
    surpassed the dread.

    BOOM!

    “Arg…!” He withstood the eighth wave, but the impact was
    worse than getting run over by a vehicle. By now he was panting heavily and
    held himself up by sheer willpower.

    “Here come the ninth”. Zetsa was biting her lips. “Still
    standing after eight waves…” She was the stabilizing force that managed the
    output of the Soul Pressure formation, to not discharge a too large level of
    pressure in one go, but it was up to Zax to decided when he can take no more so
    his soul will not suffer any harm. If she will intervene and break the
    connection between Zax and the formation it will create an equal shock to both
    Zax’s body and soul - which will make it hard to explain to their parents how
    come their little boy is in a coma, even though it is okay since it is only for
    about a week…

    BOOM!

    The size and velocity of the ninth wave were horrendous.
    Facing the wave, Zax’s soul was comparable to a small flame striving to survive
    against a strong wind. And so it happened that, although beaten, Zax’s soul
    indeed survived.

    “Release the pressure to my right hand, Zax. You’ve done
    enough. Don’t try to take the tenth wave!” Zetsa instructed in a firm tone. She
    allowed him to bear the eighth wave only to be certain of his improvements,
    which she concluded according to how the eighth wave affected him.

    Zax heard Zetsa’s voice resonating in his consciousness, yet
    he choose to pay no heed to it. He was so close to achieve his goal,
    withstanding ten waves. This ambition formed in his mind only after he took the
    fifth wave. It was so weak compared to last time that his aspirations doubled.
    Now, his soul was already in place and the damage that the ninth wave did it
    was superficial.

    “One more!” Zax was determined.

    BOOM!

    The tenth wave was on a fixed collision course with Zax’s
    soul much like the other nine.

    “Zax, don’t restrict me! Listen to me or else even if you’ll
    endure this wave I’ll never train you again!” Zetsa delivered her words as an
    ultimatum she was fully ready to hold herself up to. “Disregard me and you will
    regret it forever!”

    “Big sis…” Zax was stunned. At once opening a pathway to
    Zetsa’s mist energy to enter his consciousness, first to block the tenth wave
    and then to destroy the Soul Pressure formation’s character.

    “Stupid and reckless, that’s what you were, Zax!” Zetsa
    scolded. “You already know that having your soul move from its place could have
    adversely affects on your regenerative abilities. Why did you not stop?”

    Zax had no excuse, or rather he could not think of anything
    in that moment. When Zetsa’s mist energy and the tenth wave collided he could
    tell that if he insisted and accepted the tenth wave, it could utterly destroy
    his soul. Realizing his mistake and the ramifications that he almost suffered,
    Zax was in a state of a shock and panic. Alternatively, because of him losing
    himself momentarily Zax could not feel the worn out state of his body.

    Reading the frightened expression on her dear little
    brother’s face and seeing how stiff he was, Zetsa had a change of attitude. She
    composed herself, landed her two hands on Zax’s shoulders and pulled him to her
    bosom.

    Engrossed in his despair, Zax’s attention was set on his
    blurred soul. A pure silver energy, emitting from Zetsa, wrapped his body and
    then a sort of comfort began to also fold around his soul. Blood was pumping to
    his head, His muscles ached, his skin was dry and burned and his eyes could not
    open. Despite all of this Zax succumbed to deep slumber in his big sister arms,
    with a sense of peace in his heart.

    Zax woke up on the white mattress, all curled up. A somewhat
    familiar concentrated sensation on the center of his chest warmed his internals
    and charged them with vitality.

    Zetsa was sitting on the other side of the room in a
    meditative position. Her air was stuck to her cheeks and neck and her body was
    shiny with sweat, nevertheless she still smelled good even from afar. She got
    up on her feet and came to Zax’s side. “Feeling better now?”

    “Yes”. Zax rubbed his arms and starched his face. “What day
    it is?” He felt like he was asleep for a day or two and was not sure if he that
    much exhausted himself during the test and ended up resting in his big sister’s
    place for a few days. Zax had a basis for assuming that much. Usually he is so
    tired after the test, which is meant for F level Mist Users at the very least,
    that right after it is over, Zetsa takes him back home and he falls asleep till
    the next day.

    “Saturday. You rested for two hours”. Zetsa replied.

    “Two hours! But, but-” Zax was baffled.

    “What do you expect? From now on you’ll improve leaps and
    bounds”. Zetsa words were not meant to encourage Zax. After she evaluated his
    limits last week and found that he reached his first threshold, the long
    awaited breakthrough was no longer out of site. Until Zax will reach it he will
    only continue to improve and if he will truly attain it before the appointed
    time…

    “Nine waves!” Zax sprang to his feet and was jumping around,
    already forgetting the tenth he did not even have the opportunity to fail.
    Moreover, a compliment from his big sister was a thousand times better, so what
    did he have to sulk for?

    “Perfect score…” Zetsa said to herself. In fact, for any
    nine years old to withstand nine waves was far from perfect, it was
    extraordinary! But with respect to the outcomes of the test, “Perfect Score”
    was the appropriate term to describe Zax’s results.

    “Next week ten, okay big sis?!” Zax half proclaimed half asked
    the approval of his big sister.

    “Again being stupid and reckless?” Zetsa frowned and Zax
    calmed down, lowering his head. “You felt it yourself, right? Tell me, Zax,
    what was the difference between the tenth wave and the rest of the waves?” Zetsa
    asked with the mindset of a Mor, quizzing her Tal.

    “It was stronger-”

    “Answer in detail! Of course it was stronger. Each wave was
    stronger from its precursor!”

    “The pressure of each wave was ten percent higher than the
    last one, but the pressure of the tenth wave was fifty percent higher than the
    ninth’s!” Zax straightened up and hurried to say.

    “So you see”, Zetsa pointed out. “I may have control over
    the output of the Soul Pressure formation, but in its core, after every nine
    soul attacks the tenth one and the following nine will be one level higher”.

    “Then how long do I need to train to withstand the tenth
    wave and how much stronger did my soul became?”

    “If you will practice diligently four to five times a week
    in the Inner Spirit formation, maybe after a month or so you’ll be capable to
    face on your own the tenth wave”. Zetsa answered on the first part of the
    question and thought deeply how to phrase the more abstruse second part. Meanwhile,
    Zax tried to calculate quietly how long it will be before he could handle the
    tenth wave if he will practice for seven days a week.

    “To determined not just how strong you’ll need to be but
    also your current level, I’ll rate it in an unofficial way but will use a
    manner which you’ll better understand, agree?” Zetsa suggested merely for Zax
    to have an idea of where he is and where he should aim to reach.

    Zax nodded.

    “Did you learn what the seven levels of Mist Users are in
    the annual field trip?”

    “In the annual field trip?” Zax laughed inside. Would he be
    nicknamed “Earth’s Core FREAK” if he did not know years ago the seven levels of
    Mist Users? Is there any kid today above the age of five who does not know the
    seven levels of Mist Users?

    To not be scold again, Zax answered fully. “F, E and D are
    the three levels of an Earth’s Core Holder. C is the level of a Core Breaker. B
    is like you, Mist Master”. He said in awe. “A is Mist Lord and S is the highest
    level, Core Master”. He finished with a proud smile on his face.

    “That’s right. But to categorize your level, two more must
    be added”. Zetsa walked Zax out of the apartment and the both of them leaned on
    a rusty iron railing. “G and H. H, you could say, is the level of an average
    person who never trained in a soul refining techniques or acquired an Earth’s
    Core. In the past there were many people in the H level, but thanks to the
    regime of the Supreme Rulers every person today can own an Earth’s Core at the
    age of ten years old, which will then increase and rate the power of their mist
    energy and soul’s strength at level F. G is the level that most of those who
    train in soul refining techniques reach after a hectic training regimen. So far
    it is clear?”

    “Yes”. Zax was attentive and swallowed every word Zetsa said.
    “Two more levels! Then where am I? It’s been eight months…” He pondered.

    “To put it mildly, your advancement is above average. Eight
    months ago, when I first checked your level, you already were in the midst of
    moving towards level G naturally, and four days later you reached it”.

    “First time you tested me I was able to withstand three
    waves and second time it were five waves. What does that means? Is my soul strength
    comparable to level F Mist Users if I’m already able to withstand nine waves?”
    Zax asked excitingly.

    “That will be too much, Zax. Apart from the seven levels of
    Mist Users, each level also has four phases”.

    “Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Top…”

    “You know that as well?”

    “Everybody know the levels and phases in my class, big sis!”
    Zax got to the point where Zatsa’s perception of him was starting to offend.

    “Sorry, sorry, little Zi” Conversing with her little brother
    really changed to mood around Zetsa. Watching Zax’s remorseful, surprise,
    amazed, wondering and all his other different faces, who could blame her that
    during the explanation she reversed from a tough Mor to a big sister with a
    brother complex?

    Zax blew air from his nostrils.

    “You are not wrong. These are the phases of approximately each
    level and mosy techniques. The ‘Tops’ phase is the exceptional, though. To
    Earth’s Core Holders reaching the Top phase of their level is a small matter.
    Only after becoming a Core Breaker or a higher level expert does the fourth
    phase make a substantial difference. To them the fourth phase do not called ‘Top’,
    but ‘Peak’, to imply that one is in the summit of a Martial level”.

    The hour was mid noon and other than running water, Zatsa
    did not have anything edible in her apartment. A few trees down the street,
    around the border tunnels, grew some green, apples like, fruits named Tlipilirs,
    but since it was not season they were sour. Before Zax had the chance to blink
    three times, Zetsa leaped back and forth with four Tlipilirs in her hands and
    shared with him two.

    The pair was truly brother and sister, both of them pouted
    while enjoying the juicy sour taste of the Tlipilirs.

    “They don’t teach this in school”. Zetsa stated with stuffed
    face.

    “The teachers tell us not to pick fruits or veggies from the
    school’s garden and pots”.

    “No, dummy, they don’t teach you about the difference
    between ‘Top’ and ‘Peak’”.

    “They will probably next year”.

    “Not even then. There is a rationale to that, little Zi.
    Less than seventy percent of Kingdom Earth’s population reaches the level of
    Core Breaker. As a child it’s easy to say that in the future you want to be a
    strong Mist Users, but to actually achieve that can take tens of years. Most
    people just want to live an honest life…” Zetsa refrained from elaborating too
    much. Zax was but a nine years old boy. Even if his soul was above average it
    did not affect his views as a child. “To most people the Martial path requires
    countless sacrifices that they are not ready to make. There is no point in
    teaching a concept which means nothing to the one who learn it. The day you
    will become a Core Breaker is the day in which what I told will signify your
    progress on the Martial path”.

    Zetsa stopped talking to finish in two bites the second
    Tlipilir. Zax, on the other hand, was immersed in deep thinking and only took
    small bites from the Tlipilir.

    “Do you want to know now at what phase you are in, little
    Zi?”

    Zax nodded in respond. If his soul was not at level F,
    comparable to the lowest Earth’s Core Holder, he at least wanted to know how
    far he is from that level.

    “At the beginning of this week you were in the beginner
    phase of level G. Thanks to one day of training in the modified Inner Spirit
    formation, meditating all week and merging the dismantled grains with your
    soul, you have crossed to the intermediate phase”.

    “Only in the intermediate phase…” Zax remarked in
    disappointment.

    “Don’t disparage. You started training at the age of eight
    and in less than a year reached the intermediate phase. High class families
    have their children train from the age of two to four years old in soul
    refining techniques and just a small percentage of these children achieve your profound
    results after years of training. If I thought that you’re in that small
    percentage I would rather train you in Qi refining techniques like Take, but
    your potential is far greater than these children”.

    “Like how you were in my age?” In Zax’s opinion and many
    children in cave twenty five who wished to embark into the Martial path Zetsa
    was the ideal role model. At the age of nineteen she became a B level Mist
    User, Mist Master. High class families tried to recruit her with grandiose
    offers. Even emissaries of the Supreme Rulers approached her, yet, for her own
    reasons, she respectfully declined them all. Whoever had the guts to turn down
    an invitation from the Supreme Rulers must be unique and special!

    “If you’ll keep training properly in the Inner Spirit
    formation and meditate day and night, then who knows? You might be able to
    surpass me”. Zetsa got back to the apartment and moved the mattress to the center
    of the room. “That is, only if you’ll train conscientiously in the hellish training
    routine that I prepared for you”. Said the Mor to her Tal.

  • edited August 2015
    Don't forget to mention that your story is also on here.
  • Don't forget to mention that your story is also on here.



    Indeed. I also have my own site. I did not post the links cause I was not sure if the forum rules approve.





    Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 14 – Celebrations, Protests, Departure And Graduation

     

    Day after day, week after week, Zax invested every free
    moment of his time in training whether in the Inner Spirit formation or meditation.

    In the first week he trained only twice, at Sunday and
    Wednesday, in the Inner Spirit formation. Each training session was like the
    first one he had after Zetsa modified the formation. He sat on the white
    mattress cross-legged, chanted the words that activate the formation and after
    couple of hours woke up with barely enough time and energy to get back home at
    an appropriate hour.

    The rest of the week Zax reserved for meditation. The
    results of two sessions in the Inner Spirit formation were substantial. Zax’s consciousness
    was overflowing with the small icy grains. Thankfully, after Zetsa helped him
    to dismantle and merge the leftover grains from his first sessions, Zax became
    much more experienced with the process and his soul slightly evolved to be capable
    to handle the great amount of grains.

    The following month Zetsa did not tested Zax and on the contrary,
    allowed him the peace of mind to train without interruptions from her side.
    Just like she predicted, after advancing to the intermediate phase of level G
    and obtaining an acute awareness to the existence of the Inner Spirit
    formation’s fragments, the icy grains, Zax’s advancement was brilliant – partly
    because of his natural affinity to the requirements of soul refining techniques
    and was training in one of the most astute among them, regardless of its class,
    a high level illusionary formation.

    After one month, the length of time Zax had to tackle the
    frost illusion and the passage of time outside of the formation have slightly equalized.
    None the less, each session in the Inner Spirit formation ended as usual for
    Zax. His body slowly froze until it eventually fell apart to many pieces and
    then a surge of warm energy defrosted his frozen parts and brought him back
    from the illusion, completely exhausted.

    On the contrary, meditation gradually turned out to be a lot
    nimble as Zax repetitively practiced it in any given moment he was not bound by
    prior commitments. Even sleep time became a chance for Zax to continue
    meditating after Zetsa taught him how to perform the basic technique of Somnolence
    Meditation.

    As Zax’s soul got stronger the true benefits in his daily
    life, which were the consequences of merging with all the blue white dust,
    began to show. In school, during classes of which Zax had zero interest in, the
    sharpening of the soul also sharpened his mind and so even by not paying
    attention intentionally or day dreaming out of boredom he was able to grasp and
    interpreted the meaning of sounds and sights around him. Furthermore, subjects
    Zax had hard time understanding suddenly turn out to be clearer and more
    logical.

    In the company of his teachers, friends, and parents and in
    general, all the people around him, Zax attitude underwent a significant change
    as well. From a rather timid, selective and secluded boy he grew to be more composed,
    poised and confident.

     

    June twenty seven to June twenty nine, year 5784.

    Zetsa volunteered as the representative Guardian of cave
    twenty five’s participants in this year Great Earth’s Core Pursuit. The
    following day, June twenty eight, with her Tal, Take Edomachi, joining her
    group of ten year olds, they set off to where the grand pursuit will take place
    this year. In a week or so she will lead back more than five thousand incompetent,
    F level beginner phase Mist Users.

     

    June thirty, year 5784.

    After two months of training arrived the date for the Half
    Year celebrations.

    Every cave in Kingdom Earth celebrated in its own way. Cave
    twenty five was a middle class cave with no governor and so the conducts of its
    Management Office required to first passing through the administration of
    El-Eden’s capitol cave, cave fourteen, along with other middle or lower class
    caves.

    Being an agricultural cave which lacked a governorship and
    relied on a Management Office who was managed by the domestic population, the funds
    of cave twenty five were quite limited even in the national finest time of the
    year.

    However, having no support from the Management Office did
    not mean that the people could not spend money from their own pockets to celebrate
    in unity just one day of the year. Much like how siblings will spend together their
    own saving to buy a toy that their parents will not, the closeness of the
    inhabitants of cave twenty five was as if they were all one big family,
    especially during the national Half Year celebrations.

    Zax spent the day of the Half Year celebrations with Serah,
    Dane and other kids from their school. Since it was a holyday, school was close
    and in the morning till the afternoon, all kids helped clean and decorate the
    urban area, where the celebrations took place, with ornaments they made in
    school. The grown up of cave twenty five contributed according to what each of
    them could do. Some raised all kinds of stalls, food, games, resting and so on…
    Those who were shop owners lowered their prices to nearly a loss for the needed
    materials and supplies. Others who owned farms were gracious and shared tons of
    their crops. All in all, it was a full half day of cooperation for all ages and
    backgrounds in cave twenty five.

    The celebrations began at seven o’clock. The cave’s Nightly
    Cover formation was activated early for the holyday and with the appearance of
    the mesmerizing bright white dots on the enormous veil of blue darkness the
    temperatures also dropped significantly. In the stead of the Sun Stones’ heat,
    large lanterns were placed in the streets and with subtle light created a warm
    atmosphere.

    The traditional clothing of the Half Year celebrations was
    plain white tunics, but today people wore tunics of different colors, shades
    and patterns.

    Zax wore a green tunic with patterns of leaves. For the
    first hour of the evening he, his family and many others joined in several
    gatherings around small bonfires. Each family carried their personal word of
    thanks to Nature whether in the form of a letter, a certain item, a prayer or
    whatever they saw fit to throw into the flames with their gratitude.
    Afterwards, Zax met with his friends and until the next day, when the Nightly
    Cover formation reactivated around eight o’clock in the morning because of the
    holyday, they played around in the numerous stalls, ate all sort of delicacies,
    danced to the many songs and joyous music and fell asleep together at Dane’s
    place which was the closest when they started to feel tired – from there they,
    obviously, called each child’s parents.

    A day later and a three day before the expedition of expert
    Mist Users led by Mortimer Dauch’s departed to the world above the ground, turmoil
    and agitation caused disarray among the citizens of Kingdom Earth.

    The people were divided into three groups. One that backed
    the expedition, one that was against it and one that was natural with its
    opinion. Day before the departure the group that stimulated chaos and anxieties
    in every major cave, by exhausting their right of free speech in various phrasings,
    was the group that opposed the expedition, RFSF, Remembering For Safe Future.

    In order not to desecrate the Half Year celebrations they patiently
    waited to after the holyday before they took action. They began by pleading the
    people of Kingdom Earth to not forget the catastrophic world that made their
    ancestors flee to below the ground. They frightened the people with the notions
    of beings, far worse than the beasts, who might roam this world now and whatever
    could happen if they become conscious of the existence of Kingdom Earth. They
    turned to the families of the expedition’s members and alarmed them to the low
    survivability of their loved ones and their capacity to return anything but
    alive. They even went as far as questioning the aptitudes of the Supreme Rulers
    when dealing with such risks and undermined the great revelation of the Supreme
    Rulers’ whereabouts during the year 4950 until the end of the Dark Century. All
    of these and more were the verbal method the RFSF used to gain sympathy for
    their cause.

    The messages of the RFSF were sponsored by many high class
    families. They were broadcasted in almost every possible Screen’s channel in
    every household in Kingdom Earth. Their messages reached all the Callers and
    other communication devices either in the form of text messages, videos or
    in-game banners... Yes! Their messages had no age restriction and in the view
    of the RFSF every soul had the right to know the consequences that will befall,
    not just their kingdom but the whole of New Earth, if the expedition will
    proceed as planned.

    Meanwhile, the group that supported the expedition consisted
    of unorganized, overhyped, overconfidence citizens of Kingdom Earth who were
    merely exited to learn, since nothing of the Supreme Rulers’ experience was
    shared with the public, the state of the world their ancestors came from and hear
    of, maybe in the future see with their own eyes, its fabled beauty.

    The day of departure the expedition team left unhindered by
    the RFSF since the location of the tunnel which the first man and the first
    beast discovered to New Earth was located on the beasts’ territory and reaching
    it on its own was an arduous and dangerous task.

    As it stated in partial quotes of the agreement between two
    species: “Humanity may not lead an army to the beasts’ territory… The beasts’
    claws will remain on their side of New Earth… Apart from the designated period,
    individuals from humanity’s territory may set foot across the borders at the expense
    of their own safety and may not influence the rulers of either side…”

    Basically, humans can test their skills against the beasts
    or venture to their territory, but regardless of their position in humanity’s
    territory or their actions in the beasts’ territory, the rulers of the beasts
    and humanity will not intervened.

    Of course, the RFSF with its financial assistance could
    higher high level Mist Users to follow after the expedition team. But will
    those Mist Users dare block the way of other experts and Mortimer Dauch, the
    son of Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch? Very unlikely, to say the least.

    First, in the beasts’ territory humanity’s rules did not
    apply, which make it safe to say that the beasts’ territory was the idle place
    to solve conflicts between equal level Mist Users that were only solvable by
    one party’s death, that is if the two parties were first able to ward off the
    dangers of the beasts’ territory if not use them to their benefits.

    Second, the party in question was led by Mortimer Dauch.
    Mortimer Dauch was an expert, A level Mist User, Mist Lord, with great
    improvement record. In the age of twenty five he broke through the Core
    Breaker’s level to the Mist Master’s level and twenty years later crossed to
    the Mist Lord’s level. Despite his age of seventy three years, Mortimer Dauch
    still looked in his prime and with a long way to go and for the last twenty
    eight years practiced in the different techniques of the Mist Lord’s level.
    Currently it was impossible to guess to what phase he had reached and to try
    and discover was a fool errand.

    Other than Mortimer Dauch, the rest of the ten members of
    the expedition team were no pushovers either. Each and every one of them was a
    seasoned A level Mist User with impressive battle record against all the beasts
    they he or she faced off and they all also were familiar with each other for
    many, many years.

    To suddenly arrange an identical team of Mist Users was
    something that even if the RFSF had years they could not dream of doing. And
    so, at the end, the members of the RFSF could only stand by and hope that their
    fears were senseless paranoia while the expedition team left.

     

    August thirty one, year 5784.

    Last day of school.

    Being the last day of pre Core School, a magnificent graduation
    ceremony was held for the class of third grade. The school rented a decent
    compound for the ceremony and invited by adorned letters the families of all
    the graduating students.

    As the families began to gather inside the compound and the
    ceremony was about the start, the guests sat on white folding chairs in front a
    giant stage, the students sat on benches to the side of the stage and the
    teachers sat on white folding chairs in two lines on the stage, near a table
    with a batch of graduation certificates on it.

    The school’s principal climbed the stairs to the stage nimbly and took her place behind
    a wooden lectern in the front center of the stage.

    Given
    that middle class pre Core Schools, like the one Zax and his friends attended
    to, were fairly common, most of them had no official name and were referred to,
    for reasons of simplicity, by those related to them such as teachers, students,
    parents… with the neighborhood’s name they were located at before the noun
    “School”, the heads of these educational institutions were the only ones to
    call them by their numeric
    names.

    “I,
    Mirta Du Alk Mar, welcome you parents, students and teachers to the graduation
    ceremony of school 531, class 22”. The overdressed school principal, Mrs. Mar,
    was a tall slim sixty something woman. She gained her position due to her
    decades of experience in the education system and her statues as a D level Mist
    User, Earth’s Core Holder. Fusing her mist energy with the sound of her voice she
    was able to speak loud and strong yet with a hint of pleasantry.

    “Each
    year, in this recurring date, we, the humble faculty of school 531, say our
    farewell to the students and families that have been with us for a memorable
    three years.

    Students,
    you have joined us merely three years ago, at September first, in the year
    5781. Shy and hesitant of your new surroundings, you stepped into the place
    that sought to instill in you the basic ethics of today’s society, to enhance
    your knowledge in a variety of subjects that will help you to get a hold of
    your own Path, and at the very end of our road together, prepare and nature you
    toward the biggest step in your lives, participating
    in the Great Earth’s Core Pursuit.

    Today,
    in your final day as third graders, you leave us with aching hearts yet
    bursting with pride. You have addressed us as “Teachers” and “Seniors in life”
    in the past three years, and we thus far acknowledged you as “Students” and “Juniors
    in life”. After today, when each of you will receive his and her graduation
    certificate, we will no
    longer refer to you in such manner, nor will you identify us as your mentors.
    From today onwards you will keep growing most of all under the constant
    supervision of you friends and families. But there would be others like us whom
    you met at the beginning, the middle and even at the end of a particular brief
    route on your Path. Those others will cross their paths with yours, and when
    the time comes you will eventually say farewell to them, too. And from teachers
    and seniors, we and they will become something else, friends or elders that
    have taught you the expertise to recognize, walk on and first relay on yourself
    when you will realize your Path”.

    As
    principal Mar finished speech, the audience of parents, students and teachers applauded.
    When the sound of clapping hands faded, principal Mar, with an air of contentment
    surging out of her, smilingly announced. “Without farther ado, let us start
    granting the graduation
    certificates!”


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 15 – The Young Mist Users Conference

     

    Thirty one days of vacation in the month of August were
    given to every boy and girl as a respite between the school year which ended
    and the next school year which followed.

    After the graduation ceremony Zax got back home with his
    parents, already planning to spend the whole month at his big sister’s place,
    training in the Inner Spirit formation.

    To his great disappointment, Zax’s parents had a different
    idea in the matter of how he should spend these precious vacation days. There
    was no chance that they would have let him shut himself in for a whole month.
    Regardless to the kind of training that he practiced, the support the he
    received from their eldest daughter and the unique attributes that even they
    could see in him… As adults and parents to the boy, in their opinion it would
    have been unhealthy and irresponsible to let a nine years old engage in a closed
    doors training for the length of thirty one days. If by training in Zetsa’s methods
    his soul will be refined, then by having a proper child’s life his social
    values will improve and his personality will blossom to those of a decorous member
    of society.

    And so Laylen and Marco struck a deal with their son. Zax
    will be allowed to train everyday up to ten hours, which was the equivalent of
    a long school day. The remaining fourteen hours of a day he will have to devote
    to reading, at least one hour of the day. Another two hours to catch up with
    his friends, better if he will go meet them. At least an hour in the company of
    his parents, which will be in the late evening, after the both of them will get
    back from work. And the rest of what was left of the day he will spend
    sleeping, or in Zax’s case, performing a Somnolence Meditation.

     

    August fourteen, year 5784.

    A few days back Zax received an invite from Serah to join
    her on a trip to cave nineteen along with her mom and two others of their
    friends. The main destination of the trip was to the Young Mist Users Conference
    that was held annually in either cave nineteen in El-Eden, cave one hundred and
    seventy one in Tongguo or cave four hundred and ninety nine in Shitou.

    The Young Mist Users Conference was a prestigious event that
    was meant for the high end of Kingdom Earth’s coreless population to attend.
    Generally, high class children who were about to enroll to the first year of a
    post Core School would come and have the chance to present themselves in front
    of the scouts of great schools, receive guidance while having the opportunity to
    sample cold and hot Martial weapons, obtain pointers and advices from visiting
    experts, watch demonstrations of advanced techniques and even participate in mock
    battles with professional fighters from the Earth’s Core’s showdowns competitions,
    which were advertised by the Strong Arm League.

    Naturally, such a big event was something that middle class
    families, such as Zax’s, his friends’ or any other family from cave twenty five
    , could not afford to buy the tickets to and provide their children this exclusive
    opportunity. But as it turned out, sometimes luck can very well make up for
    lack of money.

     

    Three days ago, cave twenty four, restaurant Fourchettes Et
    Couteaux.

    “Jinka! Where is Jinka?!” A short bearded man in a purple
    suit entered the restaurant, passing the reception desk as if it was not there
    and headed to the restaurant’s kitchen. “Jinka?” he called as he entered the
    scorching kitchen.

    “Here, owner Mitchello”. Being the sous chef of Fourchettes
    Et Couteaux, Jinka, along with the rest of the restaurant’s staff was accustomed
    to owner Mitchello frequent surprised visits, as well his gauche manner. Nonetheless,
    owner Mitchello was a cheerful man with a successful business and a capable
    staff; therefore it was a habit of his to treat his workers during their
    birthdays or personal special occasions.

    Jinka was currently diligently preparing a duck as the main
    dish of a three course meal. In her job, there were very few things that could
    make her drop her knife, being addressed by owner Mitchello was indeed among
    them.

    “Chef…” Abandoning the dish was still wasteful and Jinka had
    to bother the first person that could actually determine her every action in
    this kitchen. A young woman, Fourchettes Et Couteaux’s chef, sighing for the
    fourth time since the appearance of her boss, replaced Jinka.

    “Thank you, Alinor”. Owner Mitchello thanked from afar.
    Knowing how bleak his chef’s temperament can get when the wheels of her gourmet
    machinery are interrupted, he waited for Jinka to come to him.

    “How can I help you, sir?”

    “Not much, not much at all”. Owner Mitchello laughed. “Let’s
    talk here for a moment”. He entered the chef’s office and closed the door
    behind Jinka.

    “Can it be kept for later, sir? It is the rush hour of the
    restaurant…” Jinka pleaded. In all her years working in Fourchettes Et Couteaux
    she was called only two or three times to talk privately with the owner, all
    for different reasons, sometimes for small matters, other times for subjects
    related to her job. If now was one of those “small matters” times, for the sake
    of a smooth work day, she would rather tend to the meals that she has to
    prepare.

    “Is your daughter and husband, well, Jinka?” Owner Mitchello
    waved off her appeal and probed.

    “They are, sir, our Serah graduated this July from her post
    Core School”.

    “I thought so. This is for your fillette, then”. Owner
    Mitchello took out from pocket in his pants an orange envelope with a golden
    red seal. “My grandchildren are too young and Alinor’s twins also a few years
    off”.

    “This?” Jinka rubbed her hands in her apron and received the
    envelope with gratitude. She did not pondered over what was in the envelope.
    Owner Mitchello, a high class individual such as him, was known to be a generous
    man. If he questioned her about her family and claimed to consider her
    daughter’s age in advance, who can imagine how beneficial his intention could
    be for her.

    “Open it later. I may see you there. If that happens then
    introduce your fillette to this grandpa as thanks”. Owner Mitchello gestured
    for Jinka to leave first the chef’s office and snatched an unguarded dessert
    plate before leaving himself.

    Only when she arrived home Jinka opened the envelope, and
    along with a short introduction were four child tickets and one adult pass to
    the Young Mist Users Conference.

     

    August fourteen, year 5784.

    The group of five rode for two and a half hours and
    exchanged four buses before they arrived to the marvelous, top class, cave
    nineteen. Due to the low population of Kingdom Earth, cave nineteen of El-Eden
    was a huge underground resort with countless attractions. The biggest event of
    the year, the Young Mist Users Conference, was hosted in the enormous Lutlua
    compound.

    The group of five supervised by Jinka counted, besides the
    one adult, Zax, Serah, Dane and Anet. The four minors were in shock from the
    moment they crossed tunnel forty six to cave nineteen. It was not the first
    rich cave they visited, but the caves in New Earth were so big that a person
    could spend a life time in the one cave he was born and never venture outside.

    All five stood at the entrance of Lutlua compound,
    surrounding them was a sea of young and old who also were attending the
    conference.

    “This guys look from a rich school…” Dane pointed at a group
    of twelve kids, seven boys and five girls, seemingly their age. They all wore
    impressive uniforms, a fashionable white blouse under a blue jacket. The boys
    wore blue linen trousers and the girls wore short blue skirts.

    “Look at them…”

    “Look at them…”

    Serah and Anet said simultaneously and stared with sparkling
    eyes on another group, not too far away, of nine girls wearing stylish uniforms
    in different shades of garish red.

    “So many rich people…” Zax also had to admit. There is a difference
    between a strong soul and maturity. Zax soul training only slightly affected
    his personality. Therefore, he, too, was captivated by the exalted bearing of
    the so many people who were streaming into the compound.

    “Enough, enough, enough!” Jinka repeated herself three times
    and pushed the four children to the compound’s entrance. “You four acting
    rudely in the presence of strangers. Imagine what they think! Do you want them to
    criticize you? Come on, some already looking at us standing aimlessly, let’s go
    inside”.

    In cave nineteen the Lutlua compound inhabited one of the
    biggest areas. A row of five buildings, each ten stories tall, approximately
    eighty meters in height. The length of each building was nearly one hundred and
    fifty meters and the width was almost twice that size. As grand as the Young
    Mist Users Conference is, it still was an exclusive event with limited number
    of invites and so only occupied a fraction of the Lutlua compound.

    The conference was held on the first five floors of building
    number one. The first floor was arranged as the reception of the event, after
    entering guests exchanged their tickets for golden red badges. Afterward, they
    could wonder around, view in the huge Screens, which were hung on the walls,
    the event’s program for every floor. Enjoy the delicious food of a luxury catering.
    Have a close look at the big names as they arrived – some even had the audacity
    to stop them for autographs and such… which with accordance to their profession
    and status were supposed to take part in the big event.

    The second and third floors were divided to lectures and
    viewing halls, along with imposing booths for esteem post Core Schools and Qi
    examination area.

    The fourth floor had display booths of prestige manufacturers
    that revealed that day their new high class Martial clothes lines and hot and
    cold weapons. The weapons booths’ operators provided whoever checked their
    merchandise a chance to try them according to the event’s guidelines. As long
    as the manufactures brought at least a C level Mist User to oversee the free
    trials, even children were allowed to have a go at any weapon that was to their
    liking.

    Lastly there was the fifth floor of the event. The fifth
    floor had most of the commotion for two reasons. First, in it, eight fighting rings,
    twenty five meters long and wide, were arranged in four rows. Second, the rest
    of the fifth floor had a designed press area that ordinary visitors, the likes
    of Jinka and the four children, could not enter.

    Jinka allowed the group of children to walk around without
    her as long as they remained in the same floor. Quickly though, the differences
    of interest between children and adult made the condition a tad difficult.

    On the first floor, as a proud sous chef in a respected restaurant
    and as a cook in general, Jinka marveled from the quality of dishes and meticulous
    arrangements the catering invested. She probed and sampled a bit of everything
    and even took the liberty to discuss with the nearby chefs on the methods that
    they have used.

    On the other side of the spectrum, Zax, Serah, Dane and Anet
    were satisfied right after they ate their fill and then some. The four kids
    were more occupied with when they will be able to go to the upper floors.

    When they finally arrived to the second floor, things
    preceded quite the same. The moment post Core Schools scouts approached Jinka
    to peak her interest with the program for fourth graders of the schools they
    represents, the curious mother was following to the parent’s seat like a moth
    to the flame. It is not like she deluded herself thinking this is the chance
    for her to find the perfect school to Serah. Financially even the cheapest
    school in the Young Mist Users Conference was way too expansive to a middle
    class household. But still, she used the opportunity to learn about the
    different scholarships her daughter could try to get, since enrollment and
    switching schools were available until a month after the Great Earth’s Core
    Pursuit.

    It was then, on the second floor, that Jinka could not take
    the nagging, of mostly Serah’s for obvious reasons, that she gave the kids some
    pocket money for the snacks and souvenirs that were sold on all five flours and
    agreed to let them go wherever they want and meet her four hours later near the
    rings at the fifth floor, when the preliminaries for the exhibition fights will
    start. In case of an emergency Jinka instructed them to call her through the reception’s
    Caller that each floor had.

    The group of kids swept through all the second and third
    floors, mainly because Serah and Anet wanted to see the flamboyant girls’
    uniform of every school. Dane complained at the beginning but covered his mouth
    after the two girls glared at him. Zax was milder and for knowing better than his
    friend decided to bear with it.

    “No way!” Serah protested. The group was over with the third
    floor and were prepared to check out the stuff everyone were looking for, the
    new Martial uniforms none of them would probably have the chance to buy or
    measure outside the Young Mist Users Conference and the hot and cold weapons that
    even they, a bunch of children, can try, here in the event.

    Unfortunately for them, the fourth floor was packed with
    visitors. Any piece of clothing, any type of weaponry had lines of visitors
    waiting to try them. Even the food stalls and gift shops were crowded with overbearing
    customers.

     Zax and Dane did not
    respond to Serah’s remark or were stupid enough to accuse her and Anet for
    getting late to the fourth floor. “What do you want to do now?” Dane looked at
    the two girls. It was silently agreed by him and Zax, since it was Serah’s mom
    that supplied the tickets and that Anet was closer to her than the two of them,
    that they should follow whatever the two girls want to do first.

    Neither Serah nor Anet had an idea where will be the least
    bad place to start, which made all the voice on par.

    “Is anyone still hungry or want to buy or try something here
    and willing to wait the long lines?” Zax asked. Although he showed less, he was
    still Earth’s Core Freak. Only now, as a result of refining his soul, he seemed
    the most cool headed in the group which also affected the frequency his
    detestable nickname was used.

    Serah, Dane and Anet shook their heads. None of them felt
    like waiting in the long lines.

    “Then how about we’ll head to the fifth floor and save good
    seats for the fights? If there won’t be anything else to do there, we can go
    down to the lower floors…” Zax suggested because he read on one of the programs
    that were distributed that all the blue audience’s seats could be personally
    assigned by waving the visitor’s badge over the Screens at the bottom of the
    folding seats and therefore could be saved. The only exceptions were the reserved
    green seats at the first rows.

    “Okay”. They all settled and left to call an elevator.

    There were barely any people on the fifth floor. In the
    press area just a few news crews set their equipment instead of covering the
    other floors of the big event. The last two parts of the events were the fights
    and then the main interviews, and like the audience’s seats that surrounded the
    eight rings, it was also first come first served in the press area.

    Around the rings were enough people to save nearly all the
    first and second rows of seats. After about ten minutes Dane managed to find twelve
    unsaved seats in a second row, around rings seven. He and the other three
    quickly assigned themselves four seats.

    “I wish the chairs in class were comfy as these seats!” Dane
    leaned back and raised his feet to the air. If he stayed long enough he could
    fall asleep and wake up to the roars of the crowd when the fights will start.

    “It doesn’t matter now. We graduated”. Anet pointed out, yet
    still felt like trying her seat prior to the fights and fantasize.

    “So in our new school”. Dane proclaimed with close eyes.

    “Keep dreaming”. Zax pulled him off the seat. “Come on,
    let’s see the rest of the floor. Some guy over there practicing on ring one”.
    The moment that thirty something tall man leaped onto the rings, Zax’s was
    eager to know if he is one of the participants.

    Almost all the people on the fifth floor gathered to see the
    intense warm up of the man that picked Zax’s interest. The man was shirtless
    with bulking muscles, an impressive expert to the untrained eyes and inexperienced
    viewers. He moved from one side of the ring to the other with one step, and
    jumped to the floor ceiling with a second before he landed and continued the exercise
    with kicking and punching, though never used his mist energy. No doubt the man
    was capable for much more and only the confinement of the ring’s size limited
    his performance.

    Through the murmurs of the growing crowd, Zax and anyone
    else who was clueless for the identity of the man could learn that his name was
    Chapel Doloris and a Top phase, D level Mist User. His nickname, people said,
    was an ancient one, Clergyman, since whenever he was about to win a fight he
    began to reshape his mist energy to cover all of his body like a cloak and then
    stared at his opponent with an expression of absolution, that was his signature
    at any successful fight.

    “You!” Clergyman suddenly shouted at one of the viewers, a
    fat middle aged man with shiny ring on every finger who stood beside a boy who
    looked like a smaller version of his.


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 16 – Invitation For A Fight

     

    Clergyman raised an inviting hand toward the fat middle age
    man and smiled. “You look like a good proficient fellow”. It was hard to say if
    he was mocking the man or recognize something in him, which to everyone else
    but the fat man seemed very unlikely.

    “Haha… See, son, among all the people here, it is your
    father that a professional fighter deemed a worthy opponent”. The fat man told
    to the boy beside him who also shared a proud smile of been the son of the only
    man Clergyman called forward.

    “Mr. Clergyman, my name his Dodo Korseski”. Mr. Korseski
    climbed sluggishly onto the ring and took a fighting stance. “Please instruct
    me to the best of your ability”. He felt the need to say it out of delusional
    courtesy.

    To the side of Zax and Anet people began to murmur once
    again.

    “That Clergyman, is he out to embarrass a member of the
    Korseski family?” Some woman said.

    “Look at him, is he not a F level Mist User? How can he be
    so impudent?”

    “Does it matter? I’m sure Clergyman knows what he is doing”.

    “Fat imbecile…”

    The audience was divided to either those who resented Dodo
    Korseski actions and manner, those who assume that Clergyman’s invite was part
    of the event and others will be called next for a chance to stand in the same
    ring with a professional fighter and those who did not think much and just
    wanted to see what will happen.

    “Here I come”. Clergyman announced and made his first move.

    This time, the audience could clearly see that Clergyman
    moved a bit slower compared to when he exercised alone, and right then the
    meaning behind his invite was confirmed. On the ring, however, Mr. Korseski could
    not discern any changes in Clergyman’s movement speed. In his mind he was half
    confident in his abilities. Being a member of the Korseski family he had
    trained, once in a while, in high level Martial techniques, so even if his
    level as a Mist User was lower he believed that he could handle receiving a few
    strikes or even land one or two himself.

    As it was already predicted, Clergyman held himself back to
    not cause the smallest of injuries on his impotent opponent. He still gave one
    hell of a show before stopping declaring the fight over and raising the left
    hand of Mr. Korseski.

    Mr. Korseski got down from the ring, sweating yet smiling
    from ear to ear like a child who met and had an even match with his greatest
    hero.

    “You were awesome, father!” Getting praised by his son, Mr.
    Korseski’s ego rose steeply and the two left laughing to celebrate with a rich meal.

    Obviously, to any coreless child the simplest fight between
    the lowest Mist Users will seem like something out of their dreams. That reason
    was why Zax was satisfied with mid beginner, E level, showdowns. Clergyman, incidentally,
    was fighting in the advanced beginner, D level, showdowns and was a
    breakthrough away from the early expert, C level, showdowns league.

    “Haha! Who else has the guts to step onto the ring with me?
    I see some tough people in the crowd, even children”. For a single moment Clergyman
    locked eye contact with every child that surrounded the ring and smiled as if
    it was just between the two of them. The saying was true, a man who can fight
    can win the match, but a man who can perform can win the heart of the audience.

    The first line of people was then formed in the fifth floor,
    too fast and too pushy for Zax, Serah, Dane and Anet to react in time for a
    decent place in the line. So they decided to watch a few fight and then go back
    to the lower floors since they already assigned seats for themselves and there
    was nothing much to do right now in the fifth floor.

    BEEP! BEEP! BEEP…!

    The four halted just when they were about to enter the
    elevator. “Dane, your badge is beeping”. Serah informed him. “What have you
    done to it?”

    “Nothing”. Dane answered puzzled.

    “Did you break it?” Zax asked.

    “No! I kept it in my pocket all the time!”

    “Maybe when you played on the seat…” Anet said.

    “I didn’t break it!” Dane felt annoyed and offended from the
    attitude of his friends.

    “Let me see it”. He handed Serah the badge and tried to look
    together with her for the cause of the beeping, but right then they stopped.

    “What did you do?” Anet asked Serah.

    “Nothing”.

    “Then why did the beeping stopped?”

    “Maybe a technical error?”

    “Whatever, it stopped. Order the elevator again and let’s
    go”. Zax said. If it was a temporary technical error then they could do nothing
    about it, so dwelling over it also was meaningless.

    BEEP! BEEP! BEEP…!

    “Again?” Serah turned around to Dane, but this time the
    beeping came from the badge.

    “You four, stop playing with your badges!” A cameraman from
    the press area yelled at them.

    “We didn’t do anything”. Anet defended.

    “Get away from the elevators if you already saved a seat”.
    The cameraman both scolded and explained. “If you’ll get close to an elevator
    after you assigned yourselves seats the badges will start beeping and if you’ll
    enter the elevator your seats allocation will be deleted”.

    Listening to the cameraman, Serah stepped away from the
    opened elevator like a cat who realized a danger behind him. She reached as far
    as a few steps before the badge stopped beeping. “It’s true…” She said,
    excitedly - more from the sudden movement.

    This small revelation also made them understand why there
    were so few people in the fifth floor compared to the others. There were still
    three hours for the real event of the fifth floor to start, apart from it there
    was basically anything interesting else to do except waiting in the line to
    ring one…

    “What should he do?” Anet asked. Since they arrived to the
    fifth floor the number of people increased although there was couple of hours
    before the fights. It appeared that other people were aware or starting to
    become aware to the limited number of good seats and so were willing to grab
    good ones head of time at the expense of being stuck on the fifth floor.

    “I don’t want to lose our seats”. Serah and Dane said in one
    voice.

    Zax felt the same, but while they were deciding the new
    arrivals seized the second and more than half of the third rows of seats before
    extending the line to ring one. At that point, Clergyman started to accept two
    or three opponents simultaneously and not more only because the small size of
    the ring.

    “The fourth floor is the only one with cool stuff, but if we
    go back there and the lines will still be over packed we will be giving our
    seats for nothing”. Zax said and then made a suggestion. “Let’s vote it. Those
    who want to go back to the fourth floor raise a hand. If three choose to either
    stay or go then the fourth will have to follow, but if it will be a draw we’ll
    split up”.

    Serah, Dane and Anet nodded.

    “Who wants to stay here?” Zax asked and raised his hand.
    Dane and Anet did the same and Serah, whose opinion was torn, raised her hand
    last to make it unanimously.

    “Let’s get in line”. Smiling, Zax offered and sprang to ring
    one. He did not show it, but he actually really wanted to stand on the same
    ring with a professional fighter.

    An hour later it was finally their turn. Clergyman spared
    and adjusted himself to more than ninety people by now, yet still was laughing
    with not a drop of sweat on his face. He even permitted the four kids and six
    more that stood in line to fight him together.

    The ten children exchanged glances of hello but were tense
    and without planning scattered immediately around Clergyman. Zax communicated
    only with his friends as well. He and Dane stood side by side and Serah and
    Anet behind them.

    All four were still nine years old whom interest was not fully
    genderized yet. At that age boys remained children and girls were slowly
    growing self conscious.

    Three children came kicking and screaming at Clergyman. The
    pro fighter moved only as fast as they did but with greater affinity efficiency,
    avowing their strikes, picking them up and removing them from the ring.

    “Don’t turn your back to me!” Another child called all seriously,
    but apparently could back up her words. Before the mouths of everyone watching
    the fight gaped, steams started to appear and cover the young girl’s hands.

    “This girl is capable of using her Qi!” People were
    astonished.

    “Does anyone know her name?”

    “Probably a genius or from a great family…”

    “Over there, that’s Habul Majid! See how he looks at the
    girl, she’s probably his daughter, Masela Majid”.

    The crowd soon figured the background of the girls and who
    she was and began to act as if her use of Qi was natural.

    Clergyman, who listened to the crowd while playing around,
    glanced at Mr. Majid and bowed his head toward him in a way only the brown
    bearded man could notice. A light passed inside the eyes of Mr. Majid and an
    approval was granted.

    Clergyman turned to Masela, jumped above and landed behind
    her back and with a slight push, made her staggered to her father’s hands has
    the both of them chuckled. With the difference in strength he could
    effortlessly counter her Qi based attack with physical strength alone, but
    instead chose to give the little girl face and not spoil the confidence she had
    in her skills, especially not in front of the frightening man who now hold her.

    Masela pouted as she looked at the ring. A loss of balance
    was the reason for her defeat and she did not accept that.

    Since between the moments that Masela shouted at Clergyman
    and he pushed her off the ring just a few seconds passed, she, along with the
    crowd were surprised to hear someone repeats her words…

    “No! Don’t turn your back to me!” The one shouting this time
    was Zax. When he saw Masela using her Qi he was momentarily flabbergasted and
    when he returned to himself, Clergyman was already in the air and Masela’s face
    was looking up with amazement. Right then he formed his tactic.

    Defeating Clergyman was out of the question. Even if he used
    the same amount of strength as the person who was coming at him, his technique
    was too superior and he was far more experienced at a whole different level of
    ring battles. So Zax came up with the tiniest thing that he could do to just
    make an impression.

    He ran toward Clergyman in the same fashion as Masela,
    raising his hands forward but with no steams forming around them.

    The adults who watched him all smirked. To them Zax looked
    like a simple minded boy who is so terrified that he tries to mimic the girl
    before him without comprehending the vast gap between them. Masela, on the
    other hand, got annoyed when she saw Zax repeats her moves and thought that the
    crowd laughed at her, too, when she performed them.

    To entertain the kid Clergyman gave Zax the same chance to
    attack him from behind. He waited till Zax was close to hit him and, again,
    flipped back in the air above him. For that moment Zax waited! As soon as Clergyman’s
    legs left the ground Zax also flipped in the air, lower than Clergyman, and
    shot his foot right to his face.

    Clergyman saw the trajectory of the kick about to hit his
    nose and was in a dilemma. On one hand, he used the same speed as Zax, which
    only now made him realize that the physical state of the boy below him was even
    better than the daughter of Habul Majid, and raising his speed would mean that
    he could not dodge from a surprise attack of a coreless kid. On the other hand,
    as a result of a reflex his perception, which he also limited, already spotted
    the boy’s coming attack and found a way to evade it without raising his
    physical performances.

    As his body turned in the air, Clergyman shot his head and
    back backwards to raise the speed of the flip and land first, all with the same
    level of capabilities of Zax if not with lower ones. Startled, Zax could only
    feel the air blowing from Clergyman’s nose and then his face disappeared. When
    he landed a foot was stuck between his legs and his body was thrown from the
    ring and was caught by none other than Habul Majid.

    The crowd began to clap, initially they felt like doing so
    because of the surprise kick, but then they thought that it was all calculated
    by Clergyman, lastly there was the respectable Mr. Majid who did not let the
    boy fall on his face. Thus, in their eyes Zax remained a simple boy, Clergyman
    a virtuous professional fighter and Mr. Majid, The Savior Of The Fallen Ones...

    Losing the fight, Zax stared blankly at Mr. Majid. The air
    around the brown bearded man was heavy and emitted a sense he could not fathom.
    It was not imposing in any way, just big, big like the whole building they were
    staying at if not bigger. It was similar to when Mist Users projected their
    mist energy yet worlds apart. The closest thing that he could compare to that
    feeling was how he felt when he was near his big sister in her serious mode.

    Touching the floor with his shoes Zax returned to himself
    and instantly bowed. “Thank you”. He was grateful that Mr. Majid did not let
    him fall. But Mr. Majid’s attention already was toward the ring and the few
    that were left beside Clergyman. Only the girl in Mr. Majid’s hands glared
    accusingly at Zax, though the boy also was more interested in the fights and so
    missed the contempt.

    In the span of half a minute Clergyman once again remained
    the only one in the ring as the new challengers climb in. The fights continued
    for ten minutes as some, as they lost, got back to the end of the lines and others
    gradually gave up for their own reasons. The most obvious one was that those in
    high positions and class were not eager to lose face and being toyed with by a
    professional fighter. After forty five minutes only children waited in line,
    among them Zax and his friends and Masela Majid, and at a point they even tried
    to attack together or form a plan of attack as the adults just stood there,
    watched and discussed cheerily.

    A hour and a half later there were barely any children with
    the energy to keep “fighting” with Clergyman. Five minutes later Zax and Masela
    were the only when ones who were still determined to hit Clergyman at least
    once. Serah, Dane and Anet, however, choose to buy snacks and munch on them in
    their seats while watching from afar and giggling at the constant stupid
    attempts of their friend.

    Zax came from one side and Masela from another. The two did
    not have a plan. During the time on the ring Zax realized the negative mixed
    feelings Masela had for him. He did not know her so he did not judge and did
    not care for her reasons and therefore quietly consent to her decision to keep distance from
    each other. They ran, jumped, slid, kicked, punched and gave their all time
    after time after time to no avail. Clergyman blocked, evaded, deceived
    and sent them out of the ring while the two incessantly returned. When there
    was no line for them to wait Clergyman had to admit that even he in their age
    did not have so much vigor, but happily concurred to exhaust theirs.

    There were twenty minutes left before the appointed time of
    the preliminaries for the official exhibition fights. Masela was heavily
    panting and so was Zax. The steams of Qi covering her hands were flickering in
    and out of her body. She cursed and ground her teeth and wished to have Clergyman
    between them.

    “Daddy, I’ll hate you if you interfere!” Masela barked
    without looking at her father. Mr. Majid’s face suddenly distorted and Clergyman,
    who noticed, briefly lost his cool. But then Mr. Majid, still with unpleasant
    look, turned to him and lowered his head meekly, mostly affirming Clergyman to
    not interrupt and let his daughter do as she wants.

    Loosening her muscles, straightening her posture and slowly
    bending her knees with the palms of her hands steadily grasping at the abdomen.
    Masela released a series of breaths in a growing pace.

    “Haa…” A faint sound of her delicate child voice left her
    mouth. To Zax, the one closest to her, all sounds for a brief milo second
    disappeared and when they returned a gashing force, eruption of Qi steams, emerged
    from every pore in her body. Bewildered, Zax was pushed back by the explosive
    force.

    Not a one step back and Masela and Clergyman vanished from
    his field of vision. Spotting the surge of Qi, the crowd’s eyes lit up and cries
    of astonishment were heard. Anyone below F level Mist User, that is, every
    coreless kid, lost sight of two from the three figures that stood on the ring.
    Gradually coming to it, all they could see was the one Zax and two silhouettes
    flashing around him. The adult, though, were all Mist Users and ranged from F
    level Earth’s Core Holders to E level E Earth’s Core Holders with the exception
    of the one… All saw clearly and with outmost yearning the remarkable little
    Masela going over her limits, pushing the mighty Clergyman.


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 17 – Teacher In Life And Martial Law

     

    Zax’s temperament seethed like boiling water. From the first
    time they got back to the ring to now, this troubled girl has finally done it!
    Putting a show and blasting him away without a hint of carefulness brought
    immense desire to show her who is the better one.

    “Her Qi is so strong”, Zax admitted to himself. “But Take’s
    no weaker”. In that he was certain.

    Just who was Take for Zax? No less than an older brother
    figure! And who was his Mor? None other than his big sister! Granted, ever
    since they made acquaintances Zax saw Take train strictly in accordance with to
    the guiding principles of the current stage that he tackled in the Radical Fiery
    Icy Provocation Qi refining technique and with barely any fuss like the one
    Masela just made. But, was this all?  Far
    from it! From what which Zetsa enabled Zax to learn he could fully understand.
    That which Zetsa passed to her Tal was an advanced Qi refining technique that
    even she was a long way from mastering.

    Did that brown skin girl trained in the same level technique?
    Even if she did Zax was confident with his evaluation and comparison of her to
    Take and so the conclusion came clear. “Take is superior to this brash girl,
    and so could I be!”

    As the two silhouettes kept moving in speed too high for the
    naked eye to perceive accurately, Zax just stood there unshaken in the edge of
    the ring like an unmovable steel pillar. In terms of Qi, Zax never trained in
    any particular Qi refining technique and never could sense it on his own. For
    the first time in a fight Zax decided to rely on the force that he did trained.

    How did one perceive the Qi or mist energy of the opponent?
    As a tool meant to enhance external capabilities of the body. In the early
    stages, which even Mist Users struggle to surpass, the Qi or mist energy can
    form a layer which raises a few levels the user's physicality and even the five
    senses. In other words, provide stronger external attacks and defense.

    Zax could not use his Qi and was nearly a year far from
    attaining mist energy. What Zax had was an extraordinary strong soul!

    Closing his eyes Zax sank into the depths of his consciousness.
    Confronting the blur that was his soul, Zax used his intent to tap into its
    power. A chilly light passed through his eyes when he opened them again and a serene
    smile indicated his satisfaction. Where there disadvantages for him to worry
    about? Certainly. Did he worry? Not one bit.

    Similar to the one support factor of Qi and mist energy, not
    all utilizations of the soul’s energy depleted it. To make it simple to
    understand, just like to contain a great amount of Qi and, more commonly, mist
    energy can the energies indefinitely improve the physical structure of the body
    by the natural refining of the mist energy or by certain techniques… The
    benefits of soul training, to better sustain its growth, can and will naturally
    improve the outer and inner mind in addition to greatly influence not five but
    six senses.

    From the F level of Mist Users, one became capable of
    dividing the perception of the outer and inner mind. The purpose of the outer
    mind is for daily use. Since the world move at a specific pace, one cannot
    always heighten the senses otherwise time would stand still. On the contrary, the
    purpose of the inner mind is to constantly be in maximum performances.
    Generally it may sound straining, but once a person becomes a Mist User the
    roles of the outer and inner mind emerged as second nature.

    Zax’s soul had not reached that of a F level Mist User,
    which is why he had to borrow more of its energy to push himself close enough
    just like Masela forced herself a burst of power, only his change was not
    visible by none experts.

    “Now I see you”. Zax thought. He did not simply “saw” them
    as the words implied. His utilization of the soul was two levels higher than
    Masela’s best and Clergyman’s current outer mind. As Zax saw them they were no
    better than hyperactive snails, which were still snails.

    “Ninety nine tile, forty two tile, seventh tile, eleventh
    tile, tenth tile…” Wherever Masela and Clergyman stepped, Zax outer mind
    already was there. The ring had one hundred tiles and by reading their smallest
    gestures Zax could predict where they will stop, for how long and to which
    direction they will turn next.

    Undeniably Zax’s mind was a head of them, but there was one
    problem. Zax’s advantage was only in his wide and fast perception. In terms of
    body movement, as highly talented as he was compared to the other kids in his
    pre Core School, now, the other kid had the support of Qi which put Zax’s
    physical condition in Masela and Clergyman’s view point at the same place as he
    put their mind…

    “I’ll wait. Clergyman ignore me, his eyes always shift to
    the man who caught me and that girl”. He followed closely the action of the professional
    fighter first and then observed the girl who kept retaliating. “She exhausting
    herself too quickly, so stubborn... Her speed is slowing down, seventeen
    seconds!”

    Since Masela released her Qi in an explosive force virtually
    two minutes passed. The depleting Qi has put her in a tight position, just a
    bit more and her life will be at risk. Clergyman faced an even bigger crisis… If
    anything will happen to this little girl because he pushed her too much he was
    sure that a calamity befall him right after. “Losing my life as a result of a
    fight with a coreless kid!” At long last beads of sweat began to dirty his
    face. “It is your daughter’s life on the line, Mr. Majid, hurry up and permit
    me to end the fight!” His eyes screamed but Mr. Majid remained indifferent to
    his pleading.

    “Just one more second”. Zax’s waiting period came to an end.
    He made his move.

    Masela attempted to dodge but it was a faint, she panicked
    for a second, lost her footing and stumbled back.

    Clergyman could not raise his performances without letting
    some of the spectators and of course, Mr. Majid, notice the minuscule changes. He
    could not disgrace himself and so instead chose to act sneakily. He leaped
    forward to shorten the distance between him and Masela as much as possible and
    at the right moment, when it will be too intimate for others to notice, lock
    eyes and use a little hostile intent to frighten the fighting spirit out of the
    inexperienced girl in hope that her father, as well, will not be able to
    discover when they are up so close.

    “Don’t blame me”. Clergyman meant for Masela. The gap
    between them was less than a meter and if not for her losing her footing Masela
    could have been more than just helpless.

    “Eh?!” Suddenly Masela felt him. Zax made one step forward
    and was right behind her fleeting and slipping figure. The two were on a
    collision course.

    “Not good!” Initially Clergyman counted on her moving two
    more steps back, so his body was already in motion to get closer. Now not only
    did he see the outcome of the collision, he also was about to be part of it.
    “The Young Masela Majid will definitely get badly hurt!” Unintentionally he succumbed
    to her Young Lady status.

    This was all caused by a careless boy, a careless boy whom
    he ignored! Clergyman used the momentum of the leap to change his former initiative
    from a dash forward to a high jump. Masela’s shoulders were in his grip range.
    He grabbed and lifted her to his chest as his body turned like a screw a hair
    length from Zax’s head before hitting the ring’s surface.

    The sounds of the fifth floor fell silent after the crash
    sound of Clergyman’s gigantic figure with the ring’s surface. Zax was the only
    one standing, the first one to stand alone in ring one.

    CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!

    Dozens of clapping pairs of hands and cheers came from all
    around the ring. The disbanded crowd gathered again and praised the quick
    thinking, the stealth, the technique, and the execution.

    “How benevolence!”

    “Such talent!”

    “Remarkable! Remarkable in every way!”

    “Masela Majid, this is she is ten years old. Her Qi
    manipulation and the closing burst of power… Are there any in the three schools
    that can rival her?”

    “My son goes to one of the three schools. Unfortunately his
    progress is meager compare to Mr. Majid’s daughter”.

    “Have you seen Clergyman’s instantaneous deviation? He
    lowered his performances to fight equally with the Young Masela Majid, not relaying
    on his mist energy at all during the fight he managed to avert endangering her
    and the other boy with reduced physical capabilities”.

    “That took me by surprise as well. I think Mr. Majid was
    also ready to act and save his daughter”.

    “If it was some other pro fighter, he would have most likely
    needed to step in, haha…”

    “Shame that boy had to interfere…”

    “Innocence is bliss! Truly lucky he didn’t get hurt”.

    “Child’s innocence…”

    The crowd laughed.

    Zax did not paid attention to the crowd’s biased criticism. He
    heard what they said but their words held no meaning, no insight to what really
    happened. There was one thing he did want to do, but suspected that it might be
    childish or less cool than when it played in his head.

    “If you are down, does that mean that I win?” He tried it
    anyway, imagining himself asking Clergyman with a naive look and then stepping
    down from the ring with a victorious smile, as if he did not know the answer
    from the start. “Dumb! Stupid! Can’t believe I ever thought these lines are
    cool!”

    After so many month of soul training he was not the same juvenile
    kid. He was more calculated, more aware to the importance of proper demeanor and
    less interested in showing off or receiving the approvals of those he did not
    know or had very little to none impact on his life.

    It was the same in the cases of his friends, too. In the
    past months he learned to open up to those who were courteous to him and not
    take seriously those who still referred to him by his stupid nickname. Ensuing,
    his circle of friends significantly expanded. But it was not the end of it. Over
    time, as he continued to grow mentally, he also developed an interpretation of
    the meaning of true friends and who he should categorize as such.

    It began when he started to pay heed to the collective number
    of kids in his age that were around him. How many of them did he know? Do
    conversations, laughing together and playing at recess makes them close to him
    like Serah, Dane and the few others who were by his side since early childhood?
    With whom he would rather walk back from school? Did Many were truly good as or
    better than the Few?

    Every question that popped up in his mind, after some
    thinking, provided a solution and clarity.

    Most and foremost, friends were a good thing that one should
    not limit. The downside was, many friends usually mean “a lot of people that
    you get along with”, and that is how Zax began to realize the place in his
    heart of the new kids he befriended. There were two kinds of people he
    categorized as “Friends” and that was only because of lack of better term. In
    reality, those who had an effect on him were the ones which he actually never
    pondered about, and those were the valuable true friends his heart acknowledged
    and sought their approval.

    The mock fights with Clergyman as came to an end. The professional
    fighter expressed his desire to get some rest before the real fights and with
    Mr. Majid subtle nod he sent Masela to her father.

    “You, too, should get off the ring”. Clergyman told Zax with
    an indifferent tone. If it was not for the boy, the fight, which he considered
    to be only with Masela Majid, would have ended much smoothly.

    “I thank my teacher in life and Martial law”. Zax unexpectedly
    bowed toward Clergyman, the only one who respectfully did and who treated the
    fights as personal lessons.

    Clergyman blinked in surprise, but before a moment had
    passed he nodded his head in acceptance to Zax’s gesture, and saw the boy
    getting down from the ring.

    “Here…” Serah offered Zax the bottle of grape juice that she
    bought.

    Meeting up with his friends, the burden of excessive consumption of
    soul energy began to affect his state of mind. If Masela’s body received the
    feedback of her bursting Qi, than in Zax’s case it was his mind that suffered.

    Zax drank the grape juice while leaning back on his assigned
    seat and
    fell asleep without saying a word to his consoling friends. In Zax current
    state even if he wanted to he could not perform Somnolence Meditation. He was too
    weakened and had a throbbing headache; therefore he let his consciousness to
    drifts freely while his soul slowly recuperated.

    “Get up, punk”, a voice penetrated Zax’s sound sleep. “I said, GET
    UP!” After the second time the voice screamed a hit to his face followed.

    “Who?” Zax awakened hazy and confused. He blinked couple of time,
    the headache has passed, but his cheek was burning.

    “Move! Don’t touch him!”

    “Fucking jerks! There to hit someone while he is asleep!”

    “These seats are ours; we have been saving them in the fifth floor
    for hours!”

    The first to speak was Serah, her voice was full of anger
    and she may have spit while talking. Dane was the second voice Zax’s
    recognized. When his temper got the better of him, which happened rarely, He
    tended to succumb to cursing those who offended him or his friends. The third
    one was Anet, from her voice Zax could tell that she was crying. The three
    expressed different behaviors. Serah and Dane seemed to address the same person
    while Anet spoke to another, a bit farther away.

    Zax rubbed his cheek and saw a kid in green and silver school
    uniforms grabbing his shoulder with a smug on his face.

    “Don’t blame me, kid. I tried to wake you up, but you slept like
    the dead”. The blond blue eyes kid structure was bigger than Zax’s and with one
    hand not only did he cover all of his neck and half of his left cheek, he also continuously
    tapped them. “What? Still sleepy?” The blond kid frowned and raised his right
    hand for another slapping wake up call.

    “Their uniforms…” Zax’s scanned the group of seven kids that
    appeared while he was sleeping. “That’s the badge of Molten Core!” He actually
    was taken aback.

    Molten Core, also known as one of the best three Martial schools in
    Kingdom Earth. It was located in Tongguo. The school’s symbol was a melting
    Earth’s Core which emphasized the future prospects of its students, becoming
    Core Breakers. The school’s uniforms consisted from two colors, green and
    silver, in different shades. Much like the changes in the shades of a Mist
    User’s aura, darker shades uniforms meant higher grade students.

    By the look of it, the seven kids were at the same age as Zax and
    his friends. After all, the Young Mist Users Conference was partly intended
    to children who were about to enroll to the first year of a post Core School.

    “Dugo!” The boy Anet was speaking to warned Dugo, the blond
    blue eyes kid, but was too late.

    Turning his attention to the boy who probably was the one
    that struck him when he slept, a furious glint shone from Zax’s eyes. Barely
    twenty minutes had passed since he exited the ring and although he gained
    enough rest for his soul to recover its energy; it still did not completely settle
    down from the shock.

    To Zax’s impression, Dugo’s hand was moving hundred times
    slower than Masela’s and Clergyman’s, and there was not much of a force behind
    it. He grabbed Dugo’s hand, twisted it and kicked him in the stomach from his
    seat.

    Dugo caved to the floor while holding his stomach and restrained
    himself from vomiting.

    “You’ll pay for it!” Two of the five kids who blocked Serah
    and Dane yelled and approached Zax.

    “They are using Qi…” Zax saw the air around the fists of the
    two kids distorting almost indiscriminately. “They are weaker than the girl
    from before”. He dodged the two’s strikes by reading their movement. It was
    like taking a walk since the two could only cover and strengthen their fists,
    the rest of their physical capabilities remained as those of a regular nine or
    ten years old.

    “Don’t bully my friends!” Zax was about to hit the two from
    the back when the boy who warned Dugo intervened again.

    “Service people should be more docile”. The red hair black
    eyes boy appeared before Zax in a flash and commented. He threw a concentrated
    Qi punch that Zax could not evade. Zax raised his arms to block and felt his
    bones shaking.

    “Show them, Turan!” A girl from the Molten Core’s group said enthusiastically.

    “Hrr...” Zax uttered in pain, yet he somehow managed to keep
    a tough mien.

    “Bastard! We have event badges just like you- Urr…”

    “Dane!” Serah shouted.

    Dane fell to his knees. In a single moment Turan’s body
    flickered to his side and a punch landed in his stomach.

    Every person on the fifth floor was aware of the quarrel,
    especially the present Mist Users. They easily detected the reason for the
    quarrel. Although most of them were of different status than Zax and his
    friends, they all remembered the lucky boy that ruined the fight between Masela
    and Clergyman and when the fight ended saw were he headed… four good seats
    which he and his friends saved earlier.

    Each of the high status event’s guests identified the unjust
    and provoking act of the Molten Core’s group. It was not like they did not think of
    it themselves. But for people of their status to act that way will be nothing
    but shameful. Even those whom arrived late and suffered the nagging of their
    children for better seats, had to hold in the urge of confronting the, too
    obviously, low status four kids.

    Now that someone did confront Zax and his friends, no one
    sought to interfere and help them, even those who felt sorry for them for
    mainly one reason. If the group of kids with the uniforms of Molten Core had
    someone powerful behind them, then harassing them could result in disastrous
    consequences.


  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 18 – Crossing To The Advanced Phase Of Level G

     

    “Don’t look at me like this”. Turan smiled disdainfully at
    Serah and rightfully so. Who was he? What kind of statues and background did he
    have? Does a simple girl have the right to utter a word of objection against
    him?

    Without a doubt he, and right next to him, his band of
    little friends, was a self observed little brat. Being at the top ten of his grade
    last year and receiving the conformation of passing the entire requirements to
    enroll to the post Core program of fourth grade in Molten Core, intensified
    Turan’s arrogant attitude toward anyone he deemed below him, especially kids in
    his age who could not use their Qi.

    “Hmm… I have an idea”, Turan’s eyes shone brightly and as if
    shared a mental message with his friends, the other six, including Dugo who
    just got up, smiled and moved to his side. “My dad says “Good things come to
    better people”, and I always followed and believed in his words. So here is a
    proposal to see which of us is the Better with the right for these Good seats.
    Agree right now and I tell you the proposal or give up the seats, what do you
    say?”

    Serah and Anet helped Dane up quietly and right after seeing
    how formidable Turan is, Zax also remained silence. They were the ones who
    waited bound for hours at the fifth floor, unable leave it just so that they
    will have good seats during the official exhibition fights. Agreeing to Turan’s
    sly offer without knowing what it is, none of them believed that even if their
    side will turn out to be the winner the arrestment from the other side will
    stop.

    “Fine, fine, we agree if it’ll be a fair proposal. You are
    seven while we are just four…” Dane took his friends by surprise. As the one
    who was hurt the most they expected him to not search any more troubles. Little
    did they know how frustrated Dane was. He did not care about being a great Mist
    User or being one at all, so being counted as strong was not his virtue. But he
    could not stand it when someone disrespected him or his friends. At the begging
    he was not more than a foul mouth boy, but after getting punched he wanted to
    shame the group of condescending shit eaters in their own game.

    “It will be fair, don’t concern yourself about this. If you’re
    agreeing does that mean you three also agree?” Turan asked and shifted his devious
    gaze to Zax, Serah and Anet.

    “We should not… Serah he’s scaring me”. Anet softly began to
    shade tears and avert he face from the Molten Core’s group. From her three
    companions, she was closest to Serah. The two were good friends in class and
    outside of it. Her friendship with Zax and Dane was only a recent development
    due to Serah’s encouragement to join and get to know them when she was with
    them. In a state of helplessness, the person she was familiar with the best was
    definitely Serah, and so only in her she could confide growing her fears.

    “Dane isn’t stupid; he just likes to act goofy”. Serah
    celebrated her tenth birthday at the beginning of the month. She was a ten
    years old trying to support another ten years old in a situation she herself
    was not confident about. She swallowed her anxiety for the sake of her friend
    and trusted Dane and Zax to make the decisions for them. “When he wants to he
    can be very reliable, Zax, also”.

    “But what if it’ll be something indecent?”

    “Anet…” Serah was not sure what to say.

    “It won’t be anything like this. And if it will, we’ll give
    up”. Dane rashly answered and looked and Turan for confirmation, hoping that if
    he looked down on them so much he will not stoop low to hurt them.

    “Oy, I’m giving you a chance here to earn something a poor
    bunch like you should not have from the start. How long are you gonna make me
    wait?” Turan did not care for the other side uneasiness. He was a ten years old
    and they were of the same age. When someone is of the same height as you, it is
    easier to see eye to eye and if the two sides are in conflict, especially in
    the case of children, sympathy is out of sight.

    “I agree. Serah, Anet, me and Dane won’t let them bully
    you”. Zax said firmly.

    “The bastard who took me by surprise thinks that he can take
    on Turan”. Dugo snorted.

    “Shut up!” Turan turned and screamed at his minion. The
    idiot just revealed his intentions.

    “You want us to fight you?” Serah asked, perplexed.

    Turan shrugged. “I’ll be nice and let all four of you fight
    me, if you want. Make me submit and the seats are yours, otherwise scram and
    save yourselves from a beating”.

    “He can use Qi…” Anet was shaking. Everyone knew the
    difference between someone that can control his or her Qi to someone who does
    not. Remerging back to how powerless Zax compared to Masela not so long ago was
    a good indication to how much they can get hurt by fighting with Turan.

    “Zax…?” Both Serah and Dane looked at him at a loss. Their
    friend was tough, tougher than any coreless kid in cave twenty five. But if a
    fight with a capable Qi user such as Turan were to happen, even he, most likely,
    will not stand a chance.

    “I’ll fight you one on one”. Zax stepped forward. He was furious
    at Turan and furious at his minions. He unwillingly recalled the time he was
    first called “Earth’s Core Freak” and a premature thirst of blood gushed from
    his heart to his brain.

    Currently, part of the recoil of pushing it to the realm of
    outer and inner mind left a lingering residue around Zax’s soul, similar to the
    small fragments of the Inner Spirit formation.

    To call Zax “lucky” will be too much of an understatement. Ninety
    percent of the time in which a person goes above his or her limit will cause
    dire repercussions. Masela, for example, was part of the majority. After she
    used her Qi in such a reckless manner she now suffered from a violent withdrawal.
    The remnants of her Qi were beyond her control, they flocked to her lower
    dantian and each channel they went through, painfully, temporarily shrunk. Best
    case scenario she will not be able to utilize her Qi for a week or so and will
    have to receive treatments for pain relief.

    The residues Zax dealt with, on the other hand, were
    blessings in the form of broken shells that gathered around his soul and engulfed
    it time and time again, forming a transparent layer which nurtured his soul
    when he slept and even after.

    Zax was in top shape for a fight and his soul was brimming with
    newfound energy!

    “Haha… Good, you have balls!” Dugo laughed.

    “Don’t be disgusting, Dugo, and there is no need to speak with
    these kids if they already agreed”. One of the three girls from the Molten
    Core’s group commented. “Let Turan Ram show them his amazing strength”. The
    girl referred to Turan with the honorific title “Ram” after his name
    which meaning was “Exalted” and purpose to emphasize her of admiration toward
    him.

    “A one versus one fight. Good”. Turan approved. “We can’t fight
    here, though. Come after me, now”. Receiving compliments from his minions and
    the chance to show off his strength boosted Turan’s ego by several levels.

    “We can’t leave the floor”. Zax stated when Turan led them to the
    door before the building stairwell.

    “You think that I don’t know that or trying to deceive you?” Turan complained.
    “We can’t fight here. They are getting ready to the fights. We’ll fight in the stairwell’s
    corridor. Don’t go down the stairs and you won’t have any problems, besides,
    are you hearing beeping?” Turan opened the large door with a bit of Qi to
    increase his power and closed it when the last person entered the corridor.

    “I give you one minute to prepare and then be ready to feel sorry
    for ever excepting this agreement. Oh, and if you, guys, interfere I will beat
    mercilessly”. Turan’s temperament suddenly conveyed ruthlessness and a real
    intention to cause harm, as if the true nature of Molten Core’s one of the top
    ten of third grade finally revealed itself.

    “Zax, you can still renounce the fight. These kids are from one of
    the three big schools. All of them can use Qi…” Anet tried to sway his mind.
    She had the least confidence in him. She did not want to see a friend getting
    hurt, or do something that will make the other side more hostile.

    “Shh… Anet, let Zax decide”.

    “But I can’t stay here… Let’s just give them our seats!” She burst
    into tears.

    “Might be the right thing to do. Okay, for your crying sake here is
    a new offer”, Turan pointed at Anet and then gestured at the stairs. “One of my
    friends will go to your seats and in thirty seconds you will go down a few
    stairs, when your badge will stop beeping my friend will assign your seat and
    return the confirm it to us, and then we’ll allow you to leave without getting
    beaten up. Or, you can stay and be the next victim after your friend”.

    “You said one on one” Dane protested.

    “Yes. First this one, then her, then you and then her”. Turan said
    with the order of Zax first, Anet second, Dane third and Serah fourth. “Loser
    boy, loser girl, loser boy, loser girl. This is the order of one on one”.
    Behind Turan the three girls covered their mouth as they giggled and the four
    boys blatantly laughed.

    “Fine, I’ll give you my seat”. Anet was straightforwardly too
    fragile heart. Even at the ring against Clergyman, in an activity designed
    to be an amusement, she left after the first attempt.

    “Excellent choice. See, am I not a good guy? ”

    “You don’t have to”, up till now Zax thought the Serah’s words were
    enough to calm Anet, at this moment, for the first time, he also tried to
    convince her.

    “I’m sorry…” Anet meekly answered.

    One minute later Turan allowed Anet to leave, after the girl he
    sent came back with a smile on her face, and was ready to start the fight with
    Zax.

    “Stay near the door. If his friends will try to escape beat them
    and forcefully take their seats”. Turan gave his last command before the fight
    and an outburst of Qi was released from beneath his legs.

    “I’ll start with sufficient use of soul energy to see his movement
    in a speed that I can evade”. Zax prepared himself. He could not be the first
    to drain his energy.

    “He is coming!” Zax saw Turan lift himself from the floor with a
    jump. His legs were the only body’s parts his Qi covered.

    Too be precise, Turan’s Qi, much like every other living being, flowed
    all over inside his body at any given time. To better describe how it behaved
    when Turan leapt toward Zax will be sufficed to say that most of it, or a great
    amount, simply accumulated in his legs.

    “Too fast!” Zax promptly determined and prepared himself to receive
    the blow.

    It was either turning his head with the blow to lessen the impact
    or trying to force a standstill by turning his head against it.

    Zax clenched his teeth and chose the latter. Turan punch was
    exposed, that is, was not covered by his Qi and although he came at him in a
    speed that his whole body could not match, moving just the head was quite
    another matter. With the speed of his head turning Zax was no slower than
    Turan, and with the toughness of his jaw he even held a slight advantage over
    the exposed fingers that formed the fist of a kid in his age.

    BANG!

    BANG!

    After the first blow Turan’s left hand moved by a reflex to hit Zax’s
    face. Only when the second blow landed he noticed the pain in his right hand
    fingers, and then the pain in his left hand fingers.

    Since Zax’s perception was higher he saw the second blow coming and
    realized that Turan was not aware of the first encounter’s consequences. He was
    did not waste the opportunity and strained his neck’s muscles to collide with
    Turan’s left hand with greater force than before.

    Feeling both of his hands numb and then a surge of penetrating pain
    in his fingers startled Turan. He retreated while looking at his hand without
    being able to understand what had happened. “How tough is his face?” He
    pondered and looked at Zax. The looser boy who could not use his Qi actually
    stood there with an unyielding expression. “Did he not feel anything?”

    “Why did you stop?” A kid from behind Turan, one of his minions,
    asked.

    Not sure how to answer, Turan shifted most of his Qi to his hands
    and left just enough on his legs to remain slightly faster than Zax.

    With a WUSH sound of his hands shooting, Turan attacked Zax once
    more.

    WUSH!

    WUSH!

    WUSH!

    Zax barely kept up with Turan. He no longer tried to counter. The
    steaming air around Turan’s hands and the drop of his body’s speed indicated
    that he changed his strategy.

    “Did I make him fight me seriously?” The fast fists coming at him
    carried more than increase in speed, they were covered by a layer of Qi and
    moved in an intimidating rhythm. The thought of receiving one blow pushed Zax
    to his physical capabilities, luckily, they were more than decent for a boy of
    his age and by going all out with his soul he was able to assess and keep four steps
    ahead of Turan.

    As one in frustration waved his arms and punched through the air, the other
    started to feel a sense of ecstasy. They were going at it for five minutes,
    five whole minute in which Zax had to execute swift maneuvers relaying on his
    physicality. Sweat poured down on his body like water, but the feeling was not
    that bad. Instead of being distracted by the extreme strain on his body, Zax
    was more immersed with his soul and the strange phenomenon that it went through
    and generated the sensation of euphoria.

    “That’s it!” Zax had a revelation. “The Advanced phase of
    level G!”

    Somehow, after exhausting himself and surpassing his limits against
    Clergyman, nurturing his soul with the residues and then commencing in a
    much malicious fight against Turan, where he could not afford taking one blow,
    Zax breached the boundaries between the Intermediate phase of level G to the
    Advanced phase.

    “Hahahahaha!” Zax could not stop laughing in his mind. The
    feeling he had was intoxicating, far above what he expected. In comparison to
    before, the limits he crossed to get closer to the realm of outer and inner
    mind were now his basic capabilities and by forcing himself at this point he
    might be able to enter the Top phase of level G and scratch the bottleneck he
    had to cross to reach the anticipated level, the first level of a Mist User,
    the Beginner phase of level F!

    “What’s that?” Zax discovered something strange, or rather incredible.
    As he withdrew the soul energy he no longer needed, the flow of
    energy was smoother than before and a lot easier to handle. Like a stream that
    was set in motion to any direction he willed it and could extend outside of his
    consciousness. The only setback was, the farther he extended the soul energy
    from his consciousness to the rest of his body, the harder it was to control it.
    Similar to a thin stream turning into a tyrannical river.

    “How about you stop dancing and see if your face can block
    my fists again?” Turan provoked Zax. He did not know how come he could not land
    one blow on him even though he clearly was the faster one and it infuriated
    him!

    The rest of the Molten Core’s group were also in a state of disbelief.
    Who was Turan to them? One of the top ten of their grade? Any of them could
    tell if Zax had used Qi to enhance his speed, yet he definitely did not. How
    come, then, he could keep up with someone none of them, Qi users, could?

    “Uwhaa…” Serah and Dane watched in amazement at their
    friend. It has been nearly a year since they last saw him in a fight. “Was he
    then so agile and strong like now?” They were not aware of Zax’s rigorous training;
    therefore they could not have been sure.

    “So weird…” Despite the situation, Zax’s attention was entirely
    concentrated on the streams of soul energy he experimented on. He wondered what
    kind of effect the energy will have on his muscles, but it seemed to be
    pointless. No matter how much he accumulated to one area, it ended up staying
    the same.

    BANG!

    Turan as finally managed to make contact with his right fist,
    hitting Zax’s left shoulder. The pain was excruciating, so much that Zax pulled
    back unsteadily.

    “And here is…” Turan momentarily froze in place, as if he was out
    for a split second. “Ah… Hope it’s broken”. As he came back to and saw Zax’s
    grabbing his left arm, his nasty way of conduct resumed.

    “Do the right, Turan!”

    “Teach him a lesson, Turan Ram”

    Turan’s minions cheered.

    “Got to move, move, move!” Zax pressed his body to evade. A single
    moment in which he stopped to catch his breath and the built up fatigue almost
    brought him to his knees. His first priority was to not get hit again!

    “Something happened to him after he hit me, what was that?” Zax
    felt that he missed something and so replayed in his mind the last seven
    seconds. “Could it be?” An idea came to him and a desire to execute followed.
    “But it will suck…” Failure would cost him the fight, but there was no other
    way for him to win, either.

    Changing the pattern of his movement, Zax attempted to suck the
    overconfidence Turan to his pace. “Now!” Zax evaded a punch and stepped
    forward, centimeters from Turan’s chest.

    “Fool!” Turan smirked and sent a left hook. Zax raised his right
    arm to block and defend his head, while moving his sore left hand like a whip
    toward the right arm of the unsuspicious Turan.

    CRACK!

    A disturbing sound was heard from Zax’s right arm, the sound of
    breaking bone. Ignoring the miserable shape he was in, Zax sent a stream of concentrated
    soul energy from the palm of his left hand, inside Turan’s body, to his consciousness,
    where his soul resided.

  • You can post your own page if you want btw xP
  • Rimge said:

    You can post your own page if you want btw xP

    My page?

  • Book 1 – Earth’s Core



    Chapter 19 – Silver Lining

     

    From smiling to heavily panting. Turan turned pale and his
    body fell on the floor, motionless.

    Zax released a bated breath. He succeeded. His experiment
    was affective! Previously, when Turan punched his left shoulder, he might have
    unintentionally sent the soul energy that dwelled in his arm through Turan’s
    fist. If that was the case, then it was comprehensible that the alien energy
    did not carry a malicious intent and its effect was meager and only stopped
    Turan for a short second without causing any harm.

    This time, however, Zax deliberately aimed his soul energy
    as a form of attack against Turan’ soul. It did not go easy, though, for the
    third time in one day Zax had to reach his limits and that was only to
    manipulate a tiny stream of energy to the palm of his hand. Just when the
    energy left his body and entered Turan’s, Zax could feel a relief. It was then
    carried solely by its objective and, for that reason also, was out of his
    control.

    The stream of energy struck the defenseless blur that was
    Turan’s soul and a shockwave spread across his consciousness. The pain was
    beyond what a ten years old boy could comprehend. One moment he had a clear
    sight on his opponent, the other a veil of nothingness engulfed his very
    existence.

    In terms of soul’s power, Turan was inferior to Zax without
    a doubt. His Qi level was approximately at the Advance phase of level H, which
    meant that his soul was at least at that level, as well, but since it was due
    to Qi training and not soul training it would have been too absurd if he could
    match Zax who specifically and almost relentlessly indulged only in the latter.

    “Turan Ram!” Before any of the juvenile spectators could
    fully express their confusion and disbelief a hasty voice burst through the
    door that lead to the fifth floor from the stairwell and a middle age man with brown
    short air and in a purple suit suddenly appeared next to Turan.

    The man was in a frenzied frame of mind. He touched Turan’s head
    and for a few seconds did nothing but being by his side.

    “Sir, Em Ram, yes, the stairwell of the fifth floor. Yes, little
    Turan Ram’s condition has stabilized”. The man talked to a hidden Caller and
    stood up with Turan lying in his arms. “Stay where you are”. His stern voice
    resonated as far as the last kid from the Molten Core’s group and where Serah
    and Dane stood at. It possessed a binding pressure which none of them could
    refute, a force that forbade them to move to save their lives.

    Zax, who was the closest to the man in the purple suit, suffered
    the most. After the fight concluded he could not disregard the physical and
    mental fatigue anymore. Even the seats were no longer on his mind. In spite of
    this, the pressure from the strange man was too overwhelming, too much
    to even forget the pain in his arms, as if the man knew how strong Zax’s soul
    was and so consumed a little bit more force to compel him to the command.

    Less than two minutes had passed before another, red hair
    black eyes, man entered the stairwell.

    “Em Ram…” The man in the purple suit approached Em and
    presented Turan to him.

    Em examined the unconscious boy. His finger tapped in nervousness
    against his leg as he stood stiffly. “Mishe, take him back and let him properly
    rest. Don’t leave his side again”. Em clenched his hand and moved aside for
    Mishe to leave.

    “Turan’s schoolmates, I’ve heard from my son’s guard. He
    allowed you to play around and my son ended up gravely wounded. Tell me in
    detail how did it happen?”

    No more bound by the pressure that Mishe gave off, the six
    kids of the Molten Core’s group and Zax, Serah and Dane all felt like a great
    weight was lifted off their shoulders. The two groups were now gathered on
    different sides of the stairwell in silence until Em permitted his son’s friends
    the right to speak.

    “Mr. Martinez”, one of the boys stepped forward and spoke in
    a trembling tone.

    Em Martinez, father of Turan Martinez, was the only reason
    the rest of them could stumble upon the chance of coming to the Young Mist
    Users Conference. To say that he was an influential man would serve as an
    understatement.

    “It all started when we arrived to the fifth floor and searched
    for proper seats to watch the exhibition fights…” The boy opened and did not
    dare to miss a single thing. He told it exactly how it was, not even daring to
    contemplate the thought of lying or misleading Mr. Martinez.

    “Is that so. All for a second row seats…” Mr. Martinez’s
    gaze turned to Zax’s group, packed with disdain and the veins on his forehead
    became visible. “Why O why did such an accursed thing had to happen to my boy?”
    He spoke aloud but to himself with reddish eyes.

    Mr. Martinez surveyed Serah and Dane and then focused on
    Zax. The three did not know how to conduct themselves in front of Mr. Martinez.
    The boy from the Molten Core’s group spoke the whole truth, what else could be
    said to prove that the fault was not on their side?

    “You are standing too far”. Mr. Martinez gritted his teeth as he
    spoke to Zax, in other words commanding him to come closer. As one could have
    seen, Mr. Martinez restrained himself with all his might, in any other place
    his voice would have echoed hundreds of meters, but in the Young Mist Users
    Conference he had the common sense to subdue the urge and not cause a scene.

    Sensing the ominous aura that Mr. Martinez straggled to keep
    inside, Zax realized that he must obey the red hair man just as much as Serah
    and Dane were paralyzed and unable protest.

    Mr. Martinez stared at Zax as if he was some kind of a prey that he
    was supposed to tear apart before devouring.

    “Great great uncle”, Mr. Martinez uttered. In less than the time it
    takes to blink, a black eyes old man in a red robe and completely bald appeared
    between Mr. Martinez and Zax.

    “What’s the matter, Em?” The old man, reading the atmosphere in the
    stairwell, inquired his great great nephew.

    “A few minutes ago Turan and this boy here had a fight”. Mr.
    Martinez spoke to the man in the red robe as if he was the boy from his son’s
    group when he explained what happened to him.

    “Oh… This young fellow?” Expressionless, the old man already deduced
    what were the results. But even if Turan lost, he still pondered why his great
    great nephew seemed to be on the verge of mentally collapsing.

    “These children over there are my son’s friends. According to their
    explanation and Turan’s guard’s, Mishe, report, this boy is not from
    their school and neither a Qi user”.

    “Not a Qi user? Then, how did he defeat little Turan?” The old man bewildered
    and paid a closer attention to Zax. Right then his brows touched each other and
    his mouth tightened as if he bit something sour. “The boy’s soul is extremely
    strong for a coreless child… He did so like that…!”

    “Then you understand?” Mr. Martinez rage slipped out and a little
    blood dripped from the side of his mouth. “He struck Turan’s soul, great great
    uncle, my son’s soul! You understand, do you? In what kind of condition my son
    is in… The setback that it will cause him… He already was accepted for the post
    Core program of his school…” The more he vented the more blood dripped out from
    Mr. Martinez’s mouth. For what Zax did to his boy he hated him from the bottom
    of his heart!

    “I understand, I understand, Em. It is indeed a severe case…” The
    old man tried to ease his great great nephew before his temper rebound against
    him. “Tell me how I can make it right for little Turan and you”.

    “Great great uncle, I would not have asked you if I thought that I
    had self control remained…  Death will be
    too lenient, great geat uncle, I want you to torment this low being”.

    “My, my, Em If that’s what you want I’ll will do this favor, head
    of our family, but you’ll still have to remember that you had me deal with a
    child purely out of your temper and not because of little Turan’s condition”. The
    old man directed his voice in a manner that only Mr. Martinez could hear it. “In
    addition, I’m not sure how much in such a short time you have investigated of
    the boy’s background. Clearly there is an expert behind him, otherwise how
    could the soul of any coreless child reach such a terrifying level at such a
    young age?”

    “Doesn’t matter. If you are worried about it, then that, too, can
    be taken care of by our family resource”.

    “Quite so, quite so, haha…” The old men laughed.

    Seeing the old man laughed, the group of kids on either side had a
    small hope that now the suffocating tension will wear off. On the contrary to
    what they thought, though, some might have called that moment “The calm before
    the storm”.

    “You six may leave”. Mr. Martinez waved his hand at the group of
    kids from the Molten Core’s group and the six, without delay, rushed inside the
    fifth floor.

    “What-” Zax wanted to ask what about him and his friends, but
    before he could get to the second word the old man averted his gazed from the
    fleeting kids to him and a sort of pressure, much like that of the black hair
    man that took Turan, confiscated his ability to move in any way possible.

    “Listen, boy”, the old man opened.

    His manner of speaking and the way he looked at Zax seemed as if is
    he was occupied in doing the most trivial of things. He did not present any
    sort of emotion and therefore his following action was the only pretext for
    deeming him merciless.

    “Very soon you will develop a view on me, on the man beside
    me, on Turan and his friends and even on those two behind you”. As the man went
    on talking the pressure on Zax bit by bit increased. “And when everything here
    will end that view on us will be unpleasant to bear. You will first curse
    yourself for being unable to take back things you said and done. After that you
    will blame yourself for being weak and powerless, you will want to inflict pain
    while knowing that you can’t. Then, you will lash at those two who just stand
    there, stood there, while you went through so much pain”.

    Zax was completely exhausted, both in soul and in body, yet
    even if he was at his peak the force that the old man unleashed on him was
    something he never experienced to this degree. When his body could finally
    move, it was to go down on all four and feel the small fractures, which were
    the consequence of his fight with Turan, worsening, causing excruciating pain throughout
    his arms.

    “Grhaa…” Zax agonized. Nevertheless, no matter in how much
    suffering he was, he could not lose sense nor become unconscious to the voice
    of the old man. It was like he was speaking directly to his soul.

    “I’m not telling you this to divert your attention from
    coping with the pain. I just want you to better realize why I do what I do so
    afterwards you will not seek anyone to blame but yourself”. That sort of
    reasoning was the same as mentally torturing Zax. Then again, the tone of the
    old man still remained indifferent. “Let this incident be a lesson which you
    will never forget and a sole benefit that not many in your position get to receive”.

    Next to the old man, Mr. Martinez was utterly delighted in
    the slow torment his great great uncle inflected on Zax. He wanted to be the
    one who is directly responsible for torturing the boy who hurt his son, but was
    afraid of letting his rage make the punishment too swift, regardless of its end
    result. Therefore it was for the best to leave it in the hands of his composed
    great great uncle.

    “I want to ask but it’s difficult to speak under the restriction
    of a strong aura… You there”, the old man turned to Serah and Dane. “Are you
    from the same cave as this boy?”

    “Ah…” Serah and Dane were dumbfounded when they comprehended
    that their ability to speak returned. They coughed even though their throats
    were not dry.

    “Zax…” Serah said softly.

    “Simply answer my question”. The old man demanded and with a
    stroke of energy wave he slapped Serah.

    “Kya!”

    Zax did not notice, but Dane, who was next to her, widened
    his eyes in terror and worry as Serah’s cheek turned and a mouthful of blood gushed
    out and dirtied her lips and chin.

    “T.. Twe.. Twenty… Five”. Tears of fear ran down on Dane
    cheeks. He was ashamed of cooperating with the old man but more so afraid that
    he will hurt him, too.

    “Not in our Supreme Ruler’s region… Em, are you familiar
    with cave twenty five?”

    “It is not populated by high class individuals. That is the
    only thing I’m sure of, great great uncle”.

    “Then all the more reason for me to explain the boy his
    grave error…” The old man sighed. He decided to keep the pressure on Zax at its
    current level before he will ultimately break him. “That should be a good
    opportunity to the both of you as well”. He mildly told Serah and Dane.

    “In our great kingdom, Kingdom Earth, society is divided to
    classes. A person’s standing is measured by wealth and Martial power. The primary
    difference between those of the middle and low classes and those of the high
    class lay in how society’s rules apply to them. Really… Do they not teach these
    basics in schools anymore, Em?” The old man asked baffled. “Tsk, tsk…”

    “Never mind, never mind. If they can’t teach that much, then
    it’s better if today incompetent teachers won’t teach at all!” The old man stated.
    “I do hope that when you asked to pour our family’s wealth into that extravagant
    school that you sent little Turan to, you inspected its credibility first”.

    “Great great uncle, Turan goes to the best school in Tongguo.
    It was founded by none other than our Supreme Ruler…”

    “Is that so… It should not matter anyhow, the money was
    spent”. After sighing again the old man averted his attention back to Zax and
    the other two petrified children. “I must confess, in my age it is hard to stay
    on track. There will be no more interruption from this moment on. Though, I
    must compliment your endurance, boy, just now I crossed to the Beginner phase
    of an E level Mist User, that is, in mist energy. I can tell that you never
    trained your Qi and yet you are still not yielding… Shame, shame, shame”…

    “Blah… My blabbering makes Em twitchy. I’ll proceed, I’ll-”

    “Serah!” The door to the stairwell burst open. Jinka, Serah’s
    mom, called, shaken by the sight of her daughter. Behind her was a small
    figure, Anet. Her eyes were red as if she cried nonstop since leaving and when
    she saw the state of her friends, her child heart nearly shattered.

    THUNK!

    The door to the stairwell slammed and the worried mom and
    frightened little girl were thrown on the floor screaming next to Serah and
    Dane.

    “Continue, great great uncle. You two, stay quiet or I’ll
    snap your necks…” Mr. Martinez’s aura revealed that he meant every word.

    Realizing the unfathomable threat before her, the best that
    Jinka could do was to tighten her hold on the three kids and scoop them into
    her lap protectively.

    “Keep them like that, Miss, our business will soon be
    concluded”. The old man affirmed for Jinka’s and the three other kids’ sake. He
    will not mind seeing them suffer, that he already proven, but tormenting the insignificant
    Zax was as low as he could allow himself to get. That sort of activity did not
    befit someone of his stature.

    “It has taken too long, boy, so I’ll just say this… Killing,
    stealing, assaulting, kidnapping and so on and so on… Crimes committed by
    someone of the middle or low class the person will be severely punished as law
    states. However, committed by someone of the high class and a great deal of
    leniency will be presented. Why? Wealth and Martial power. You, boy, have
    offended someone of the high class. It did not have to go as far as hurting
    Turan or denying his will, no. Simply by being an eyesore you have put yourself
    in a position were you justly deserve to be, under the wrath of those Better
    than you”.

    Finished talking, the old man raised the pressure of the
    mist energy to the Advance phase of an E level Mist User. At that time, Zax
    laid on the floor drenched with sweat, panting rapidly almost as much as Turan
    before he lost consciousness. The pressure pressed his body hard against the
    floor like gravity itself doubled and tripled.

    Although in a different manner, Zax’s breaking point was
    closer than it have ever been during the toughest time of his difficult soul
    training. Nevertheless, admitting defeat, accepting what the old man forced him
    to listen to or thinking that he brought it upon himself… Even for the shortest
    time none of these thoughts has crossed his mind.

    Thanks to this resolve, which Zax refused to give up and in
    truth could only preserve due to the high level of his soul, a glint of silver
    lining bared itself and within a place in an unquantifiable distance a spark
    was lit and a thin echo gradually grew stronger.

    “Ha!”

    “Haa!”

    “Haaa!”

    The old man did not calculated earnestly one vital thing,
    the significant foundation of the boy he victimized, Zax’s extraordinary soul!

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