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  1. #321
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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 42 – One Less Contender





    “Save five hundred and let hundreds of millions die?” Zax’s hand trembled and he strived not to snap.


    “You don’t understand, Zax, and frankly neither do I”. Sheldon groaned. “These are rules of the Immortal world. Only the three Immortals of the Planetary Battalion, Holy Palace and Voltic Star can claim the lives of this planet. They, in a way, own it”.


    Zax dazedly listened to Sheldon. He did not know the rules of the Immortal world and this was a first for him to find out that he was actually someone else… property!


    Sheldon assumed Zax was oblivious to this fact of life that belonged to every living creature in Ercas Mir and New Earth. He divulged it in hope that he will realize the severity of the situation and not refuse him.


    “It’s more complicated than what you might think and it’s pointless to dwell about it before transcending your Evolutionary Ascension. Senior Ohar can guarantee the safety of five hundred of your people because of his prowess. The rules of the Immortal world were legislated by Gods. Some of them Senior Ohar can bend, but to a certain degree”.


    “Then… Then… why the Immortals of the three superpowers worry about other Immortals following them here?” Zax’s mind whirled in search of the answer and before Sheldon could reply he indeed found it. “Because of the Godly Law Template…”


    “It’s a rule changer”. Sheldon concurred. “It’s like a band of thieves breaking into a remote village’s home to steal a precious Pure Core… Will you send your Rising City’s Law Enforcement force to chase them across the planet, post factum? Most probably you won’t, even if they’ll kill the mom, dad, their three children and the dog”.


    Exasperated, Zax snatched several pieces of meat and gobbled them. He then drank his beer, emptying his jug, and gestured for the feline waitress to come back with another.


    “Mm! Mm! Mm! Mm…” His voice sounded muffled as he laughed with lips sealed. “Hahahaha…” He opened for a second handful of the juicy meat, but realized he could not stop laughing. “HAHAHAHA!” His head fell back and he banged the wooden table, breaking it along with the privacy formation.


    “Sir?!” The waitress who returned with a new jug of beer flinched in fear.


    “We don’t want troubles here, sir”. The bartender, a gray skinned beast with an elephant head, who also owned the tavern, quickly pulled away his waitress, worried of what will happen should either of them will interfere.


    Sheldon scrutinized Zax quietly, wait for his outburst to subside.


    Gradually Zax regained his composure. With short bursts of laughter he attracted the new jug of beer from the waitress’s hand to his grip. He drank until, again, he emptied a jug in practically one gulp. A sent the jug back, refilled by a pile of Splinters as compensation for the table, scare and payment for the food and drinks.


    “Where are you going?” Sheldon hurried after him.


    “My family, my friends, my people…” Zax did not turn to look at him. “Can’t the rules change for them?”


    Sheldon was stumped. Should he say that they are not as important as the Godly Law Template? That because of his agreement with General Logan, Senior Ohar already gave his word to the Voltic Star’s Fiend Immortal that he will assist him and due to it cannot concern himself with mortals?


    His silence was all that Zax needed to hear.


    “You are a good, mortal friend”. Zax said, rising to the air and disappearing.





    Kingdom Earth, El-Eden’s Parliament building.


    “New Earth was the safe haven of our two species in the distant past and it can be again!” Zax imposing manner engaged every one of the listeners…


    He assembled them all, those of Kingdom Earth’s high echelon who usually were allocated a place in the seventy eight seats, those sitting in front of them, the Supreme Rulers and those of their caliber; and those who appeared on the side walls’ Screens, the top tribe leaders of Valgarel with one exception… their ruler, His Valor Ozeyn.


    Valgarel did not have anymore a Red Rose Beaks tribe. When Horn Kikon sent his troops away from the planet, among them was Ozeyn and his tribe members.


    It was unknown whether he was compelled to leave or done so willingly. The only thing that was certain was that he did not want to depart alone, not because he somehow managed to convince Horn Kikon to receive his entire tribe, regardless of beast type, but because before leaving he apparently met with several tribe leaders and even Grandmaster Kartion.


    First he swore them for secrecy than asked them to come with him. Two tribe leaders agreed to abandon their tribe with their nearest kin, but the rest, like Grandmaster Kartion, declined.


    “Nothing is decided, yet, I just want to make myself clear of the actions I will take with or without your affirmation!”


    He told them about his conversation with Sheldon, about the situation in the Down Ocean, things that he shared with some of them years back and with others just moments ago.


    Digesting the information was what they needed, but what he had no spare time to give them to do.


    “Like it or not… we are weak, so this is our stance”.


    He was not a politician, not even a leader, just the man in and the strongest of them all.


    ‘Sheldon can be wrong, those five can be wrong’, he thought to himself as he left the agitated crowed for whomever of the Supreme Rulers who would like to pacify the atmosphere. ‘They may descend sooner than expected, but who says it would be the end of us…?’





    ‘She said it? Are you sure?’ Archbishop Silternjan’s brows furrowed as he asked for the third time. ‘Did you reconfirm with the Grand Abode?’


    Like the others, the church kept a small, Child spacecraft in Ercas Mir for those of them who stayed to leave the planet with and communicate with the Grand Abode Mother spacecraft.


    Right now a very ugly countenance manifested on Archbishop Silternjan’s face and the transmission that caused his stomach to convulse still rang in his ears.


    The message was short and indisputable, delivered by Sister Iaura as the herald of The Almighty, it was… “Cease the pursuit for the Godly Law Template and leave Star Ercas Mir!”


    Archbishop Silternjan waited for the confirmation with Cardinal Northstar and three Bishops. He opened his mouth, but there was nothing to say and it would be blasphemy to refuse.


    Nevertheless, his passion for the cultivation path made his pious self uncomfortable. He spent the better years of what his mortal life had on the search for the Godly Law Template, and unlike his colleagues who ruled with him as the leaders of the five powers, it was too late for him to reach the Mortal Enlightenment state any other way.


    ‘Sister Iaura lost consciousness’. The Bishop in the hidden Child spacecraft notified. “They say the Godly Decree exhausted her”.


    ‘Alright, this is the will of The Almighty!’ Archbishop Silternjan acquiesced and to quench his Martial heart, to not blemish devout faith, he added just for himself. ‘May The Almighty accept me’.


    ‘I understand’. On their return flight to the Child spacecraft Cardinal Northstar sent him intimately, as a fellow geezer with the end of his lifespan in sight. ‘But maintain your belief that your efforts were not in vain. The will of The Almighty is for us to leave this Star, however nothing was said of us needing to return to the Holy Palace’.


    His words of encouragement were akin to recipe for speculation. Neverthless, Archbishop Silternjan tacitly accepted them.


    As an Archbishop it was embarrassing for him to need a reminder… that as a man of the church, he knew not to abandon hope!





    “Silternjan and Northstar dropped from the search…” Horn Kikon and General Logan heard from the Lieutenant General in the Blessed Army’s Star Scavenger at the northern part of the Western Continent that Luminous Church’s Child spacecraft took off.


    Having one less contender for the Godly Law Template would have been joyous news, if it was not for his odd departure that confused and slightly upset the two, as well as General Beking and Admiral Hamumni.


    Getting answers was impossible, though, and the Heavy Water Pools’ formation was not going to decipher itself.


    Evidently, the four felt relief when their subordinates informed them that the church’s Child spacecraft exited the exosphere, in addition to wonder about themselves…


    In Archbishop Silternjan’s shoes, would they have gone so compliantly? Or would they have blasted the Down Ocean in an attempt to break the Heavy Water Pools’ formation?





    He watched them run, helping each other climb, setting camp in night, hunting for food, making friends, having enemies, sometimes beating and sometimes killing.


    He crept in the shadows, saw them from afar and invisibly walked among them.


    ‘Despair…’


    It consumed him for a while, a recurring nemesis that tends to never disappear and whenever he returns the stakes of what can be taken away… destroyed, are higher.


    ‘Regardless of how strong we become, we are still prone to the pernicious impediments of life…’


    There was a trace of remorse breezing between black the sky and sea to dark land. It passed through the nothingness, come by near the bright desire, caressed the patiently awaiting and blew to imprint itself on the source.


    Zax exhaled, yet not a particle of air left his mouth, instead, there were dark grains that gave the impression of old wounds, now dispelled.


    The sky, sea and land of his Inner Panorama were satiated.


    The spark of light, sixth bottleneck of insight raveled in its allure.


    His spirit continued to pretend it is weakened, biding its time.


    On his soul another experience was carved, an overcame obstacle.


    A part of him blamed himself for the imminent calamities, but they were, in every event, unpredictable. To avoid them was impossible and to try was to live in the shell.


    ‘As long as I have inspiration, I will never stop struggling’.


    Otherwise, how can he call himself “Unbound”?

  2. #322
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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 43 – Princess Of Veiher





    His gaze converged on the two boys and instantly softened.


    His initial desire was to protect them, the most fragile part of him, but as Zax considered along the way and was more than gratified to learn that he was right; following Niel and Jingrow’s escapades through the High Rankers' Trials alleviated the tension from his heart.


    To pass this year’s High Rankers' Trials the participating mercenaries had to accomplish one of three objectives. The first one was to capture a very elusive two scales Deformed Being. The second was to capture, dead or alive, a fugitive from a preselected list of persons. The third was to traverse one of five preselected paths that stretched across the Western Continent.


    Niel and Jingrow began with the goal in mind to capture the requested Deformed Being.


    The target was a Footloose Squeaker, a Deformed Being the size of an adult man’s hand. It has five thin tails, a chipmunk’s head and a jerboa’s body. Overall it looks like a cute azure little thing.


    Many participants chose to go after it, mainly because it seemed like an easy target and the Mercenary Association disclosed its most frequent whereabouts. Subsequently, almost twenty percent of the participants who went after the Footloose Squeaker ended up losing their lives to its lethal speed, which could effortlessly pierce the defensive means of most Core Masters and even some first level Marital Mortals.


    Niel and Jingrow were lucky to be among the eighty percent who escaped with heavy to minor injuries. Afterwards, the twelve and fifteen years old decided to change their pick for the third objective and headed to the closest path to them, at the time, of the given five.


    ‘They will be fine’. Zax decided to withdraw. Besides, he was starting to feel bad for Shadow for tailing him as he also followed the two boys in secrecy.


    ‘Silternjan departure a week ago did not stir trouble, yet’. The church Child spacecraft’s take off was not exactly inconspicuous. ‘Senior Gid thinks it’s an ominous sign and convinced others the same thing, which ultimately is good. The tribe leaders, patriarchs and matriarchs are now working almost enthusiastically to reseal New Earth when the time will come’. He flew to New Earth, contemplating.


    ‘The stride and a half my spirit has left to reach the sixth bottleneck of insight… I need to prepare for it, so if it won’t happen naturally, and it probably won’t because of the lingering Godly Retribution, I’ll be able to force it in a moment of life and death’.





    Valgarel, Grandmaster Kartion’s cave and the Martial family’s home.


    “Master”, Zax found Kartius in the Essence Cave, spending time with Laivien.


    Even after so many years she had yet to give birth, was could still not transform from her her animalistic White Doe form, confined to her pavilion with a big violet stone beside her and in reliance of her caretakers Krikitories.


    “Little Zax!” Pleasantly surprised, Laivien gestured for him with her giant doe head to approach her. “Why is that the only times I see you are when there things to celebrate or when you look melancholy?” She nudged and bit his thick head, unafraid of harming him. She could not even if she wanted to…


    “If I’ll say that I’ll come more often, will you forgive me?” Zax rubbed her muzzle.


    “Will you lie again?” Laivien released him, uninterested in his answer she asked. “What do you need your Master for?”


    “Come here, Martial son”. Kartius instructed in his giant animalistic form of a Black Stag.


    Sitting crossed legged on the ground; Zax pulled his head back to view his Master’s face. “I wish to prepare, but I don’t know how, Master. My mind is settled, my heart is clear and my spirit abiding. It’s only right that I should feel at peace with myself, be in top condition… Yet, perhaps recent event made me overthink the repercussions of failure that I can’t seem to bring myself to decide on my own… or maybe I just need your blessings? I’m not sure, so I came. Please guide me, Master”.


    “Martial son”, Kartius opened after a deep contemplation, his tone suggesting of mixed emotions. “I can’t help you”.


    “You can’t?!” Zax repeated, flabbergasted.


    Kartius shook his head, spreading gales of wind. “You surpassed me, surpassed big brother, His Valor Ozeyn, as well as the heroes of your Kingdom Earth. It’s time for you to recognize it... Your Martial father cannot outthink you, suppress you, fathom your insights…”


    “Master…” Zax uttered in disarray.


    “Big brother…” Laivien saddened.


    “Indeed”, Kartius ignored them. “I’m still your Master. I nurtured you, taught you, reprimanded you… These are my accomplishments that will forever stay true to both you and me, Martial son”.


    Tears streamed in two smooth lines down Zax’s face. His Master’s refusal was also a form of revelation that he received in this, final lesson. “Martial father”. He did as he was told not to since their first meeting and kneeled.


    “Frivolous child”. Kartius, too, shed two trails of tears that made his black fur shine.


    Laivien could not look. She turned her neck and grazed her stomach, tenderly listening to the tiny heartbeat of her and Grandmaster Kartion’s child… a pregnancy that lasted far, far too long for all but herself and loved one to hold on hope for.


    Suddenly a hand gently pressed her abdomen.


    “Zax?” She did not notice his approach.


    “For this child, too!” He murmured in resolution.


    He could not have his Master prepare him. Instead, he found causes to proceed in wishing for others’ future before his own; a simple conclusion to his dithering and an easy solution to his setback, which was good enough to incite his resolve.


    “Where are you going, what are you about to do?!” Sensing the change in his apprentice, Kartius shuddered. His intent oozed determination in potency that made one think, he intends to flip the earth and drain the sea.


    “I won’t do anything”. Zax assured with a calm smile, but his gaze said otherwise.


    “Martial son, Zax!” Kartius rebuked. He did not ask because he will not be of help, but now he got a glimpse to the matter that weighed on his apprentice’s heart. “For what are you preparing?” He yelled to his fading silhouette.


    A voice resounded loud from afar, but in fact only Kartius could hear it.


    “To confront a God”.





    “Archbishop!”


    “Archbishop!”


    “Archbishop!”





    One after the other, priests and nuns greeted with smiles of longing and piety.


    The Child spacecraft navigated through space for eight days before boarding the Grand Abode Mother spacecraft.


    Archbishop Silternjan, Cardinal Northstar and the Bishops who stayed behind with them hastened their steps through the upper corridors of the immense spacecraft.


    Back in Ercas Mir the Grand Abode appeared to be built at the summit of Onzengvas city, yet in reality not only it was the nucleus of The Almighty’s belief on the planet, but also the command center of the Mother spacecraft, while the entire city was the rest of its body!


    “Is she awake? Did she recover?” Archbishop Silternjan inquired Sister Beatriz.


    “She woke up two days ago, but her mental state… Only one of her three personalities is actually awake and it’s the Princess Of Veiher…” Sister Beatriz’s unwavering demeanor faltered in the brief instance she named the third personality.


    “It’s fine”. Archbishop Silternjan unworriedly declared. “Right, Cardinal Northstar?”


    “She is a good girl”. Cardinal Northstar asserted.


    Sister Beatriz sighed inwardly and continued to lead the way.


    The passed gardens, climbed elevators and stairs and stopped in seldom to praise the down and the wary who left their birth planet and struggled to adjust to ungrounded life, without real blue sky.


    They arrived to the entrance of shut chamber with a tall metallic door; there they met a familiar figure…


    “Your Young Eminence?!” Archbishop Silternjan sent the Bishops to their respective posts in the Grand Abode, to take care of the responsibilities he temporarily put off, therefore only he, Cardinal Northstar and Sister Beatriz could see the strange marking on the potential next Holiness.


    Stelero Mars looked miserably beaten. From top to bottom he was scratched, bruised and from some wounds still bleeding.


    “This…” Cardinal Northstar said.


    “Happens whenever I try to see her”. The composed and confident, almost radiant Stelero Mars actually exposed a disheartened countenance that was nothing but unbefitting for someone with the exalted status of an Ascended Elite.


    “Will she do this to us, too?” Cardinal Northstar blubbered in shame, but the others did not blame him. If the “Good girl”, Princess Of Veiher, will decided to rip his face, who will dare stop her?


    “She is quite irked at all of us. Well, you, me and Archbishop Silternjan”. Stelero Mars grudgingly admitted. A white light emerged from beneath his skin and in a blink all wounds and blood marks vanished. Once more, his untainted visage dazzled purity.


    “Sister Beatriz”, Archbishop Silternjan smiled at her. “Please show us inside”.


    “Yes, Archbishop”. Sister Beatriz was a tad reluctant to enter what she deemed no different than the lion's den. She walked forward and placed her palm on the door and a red light underneath it indicated the scanning complete and she may enter.


    BANG!


    Just as the door slid up, a broken piece of porcelain hit the floor and shattered into smaller fragments.


    “Your Highness, please have mercy on this nun who came to visit you”. Sister Beatriz hastily beseeched in a pitiful voice.


    “Cowardly Mars has left? Beatriz, you may enter”. A voice that was similar yet not exactly with the same tune as the other two personalities rang upliftingly.


    Sister Beatriz bowed, stepped in and eyeballed the formerly so loveable girl.


    Her attire was still that of Luminous Church, but its condition…


    Of the silver robe, its lower section and the sliver were mercilessly torn, revealing exquisitely pearly thighs and slender arms, while the metal plate embedded with the words “Luminous Church”, an integral part of the dress code, was dumped on the floor with the imprint of a fist.


    Purple hair cascaded down to her hip and discharged electrical currents.


    She floated in the room, around her more broken glass, wood and torn stuff that used to be expensive furniture.


    In her hands a ball of lightning gathered with domineering fluctuations.


    She gazed at Sister Beatriz and then captured a glimpse of the pristine robes of the two men lingering behind the doorstep.


    Her grin made Sister Beatriz gulp.


    “How come not all guests are coming over?”

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