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Earth's Core

Chapter 288 - Plain Refusal


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“Pray with you? Save me?” Zax glared at Sister Iaura as if she was a fanatic madwoman.
 
“In this remote, undeveloped Star it is expected for misunderstandings to manifest. Per my duty, allow me to serve you my little share of insight”. Sister Iaura’s smile grew charming and her eyes almost crescent. From a rather young lady with childish qualities to a pious devotee, the overall transformation made it seems as though she was possessed.
 
Before Zax’s eyes her demeanor again changed to that of a teacher with an air of patience.
 
‘What’s with her?’ The more Sister Iaura expressed her inner self, the more confused Zax became. It dawned on him that although he initially evaluated her as a spoiled, probably greater prodigy than Stelero Mars; despite her looks and general conduct, she in fact was at the very least as old as him. And as he continuously was exposed to her shifting personality, he bit by bit grasped a minor comprehension of this weird woman. ’Two, no… she has three personalities’.
 
“Unlike Nature, Gods are different”. Sister Iaura opened. ‘When offended, do you really think a God would bother to invest in punishment? Mortals who never strode upon or attained much on the Martial path are frequent. For the voice of one to reach the ear of God is impossible, only through congregation can it be heard’.
 
Zax already knew this long ago from Bishop Nunsup, but he still listened in mild interest for Sister Iaura’s point.
 
“You are a Mortal and a spectacular cultivator. Too often the likes of you mishandle the name of a God. Common outcome is a swift death, as soon as feasible post uttering blasphemy. To be smitten by a Godly Retribution?” Sister Iaura shook her head and halted at eye contact. “His Holiness preaches: ‘The bane of a Godly Retribution is like a rebuke and the period of it is like timeout. How can a God display such parental sentiment for a Mortal if it is not out of benevolence and love? How many Gods do you think are so magnanimous?’” The quote ended and Sister Iaura provided her own answers, both to His Holiness and Zax’s inquiries. “The Almighty loves, so of course he will listen”. The first reply was of acknowledgment. “Have but one faith, in the compassionate, The Almighty”. The second reply was a confession of a believer and demonstration of conviction.
 
‘She is not asking me to join the church, just pray. Will it truly be enough to exonerate Niel from my mistake, if not the two of us?’ Zax heart palpitated. Sister Iaura should be aware of the consequences of leading him on. ‘Be it one or three, none of her personalities must be that careless’.
 
“Your prayer, can it solve the Godly Retribution for both me and Niel?”
 
“As you said, the boy is innocent. As his father, as long as your prayer is heartfelt, it is in my belief that The Almighty will show mercy”. Sister Iaura asserted, confidently. “For you, my apologizes, I cannot promise a full pardon. But, I’m sure The Almighty will treat you with leniency”.
 
Gradually, after weighting Sister Iaura’s words, Zax felt inclined to agree. ‘If there is a way to get rid of the Godly Retribution, directly by The Almighty, it will be much safer than tinkering on my own, to Niel and myself, even if I can find use to the light elemental energy in her.
 
‘Should I coincide, and she speaks truth, at bare minimum Niel would be free and I won’t have to subjugate myself to no one.
 
‘Lastly, all I’m being asked to do is pray… Inducing the Godly Retribution was my act of insolence against a mighty senior. Since then to this very date I never once thought to apologize’.
 
As Zax saw it, no matter how indignant he was toward The Almighty for involving Niel, whether it was accidental or intentional; to lower his head and ask for forgiveness was not a question of pride, but proper ethics.
 
“Tell me what to say”. A strong part of him wanted to warn her not to fail to keep up with her words, which he took as a guarantee. Nevertheless, he chose to subdue his distrust until it is warranted.
 
Overjoyed, Sister Iaura offered her hand. “Hold your son’s hand and mine and repeat after me…”
 
Her voice was subtle as she articulated her words from the ordinary to the unordinary. By the commencement of the first verse, they sounded to Zax like an obvious string of invocation, reference, admission of guilt, regret and apology. Then, in the revolution of the second verse, they turned to coherent lyrics of once a well known song, but now completely forgotten. Next in the third verse, cords began to play in his mind, which at the fourth verse became a tune with a liberating tempo. In the fifth verse, despite still being in a stupor, Niel’s lips parted and a sweet hum rung out of his throat.
 
The prayer was ongoing, for minutes, to a quarter of an hour, half hour and so on…
 
‘What’s happening?’ Within his sea of consciousness, Zax felt himself drowning in the psalm, his self awareness drifting on the melody.
 
It was behind his imagination. Although he did not resist, echoing after Sister Iaura dedicatedly so as to not disrupt the prayer and for it to work, he was not prepared for its effect to actually influence him by this much; perhaps a sort of weakness, the same of as when he made the oath to The Almighty; maybe a feedback by one of his three aspects, but definitely not being swayed to the point of desiring to submerge.
 
The more he yielded, the greater his sense of danger urged him to get a grip, whilst his rational thinking argued it as merely a part of a procedure he is not acquainted with and for Niel’s sake, should not interrupt, otherwise, why give Sister Iaura the chance to begin with?
 
It emerged from the ether, a power much more profound than even the little he knew about elemental energy, guided by the prayer he recited and welcomed with an open heart.
 
“Your child bows before you”. Zax saw Sister Iaura lower her head with bliss plastered on her face and mimicked her, not daring to hesitate in fear that his heart will grow rigid.
 
“O, The Almighty Father, please listen to the request of this small postulant who cherish your Way and value your Teachings”. Sister Iaura tightened her grip on Zax and Niel’s hands. “Here, beside me, are two who received your boon of Godly Retribution and now seeking atonement from The Divine. I beseech you, The Almighty, as your lowly servant, please answer to their prayers”. Two streams of tears ran down her rosy cheeks and as she finished talking outloud, she started murmuring.
 
Zax waited. From the moment Sister Iaura began to murmur, he could not understand nor pronounce whatever she said, even though he could hear her.
 
Part of him, a very tiny fragment of his awareness stemming from his outreaching spirit, still held doubts, but for the most part he was captivated by the ethereal event transpiring.
 
The power that could only be labeled as “Godly”, descended on Zax and Niel. Zax followed it as mere observer as it permeated Niel’s soul so casually and waited in anticipation for the salvation of his son.
 
‘It resonates!’
 
The strain of Godly Retribution that was passed on along with Zax’s Inner Panorama responded in reciprocity to the Godly power, rather than flaring the main mass in Zax’s sea of consciousness.
 
The Godly power transformed to a giant hand and pointed on the Inner Panorama replica, commanding the hidden Godly Retribution to show itself in its entirety and coalesce at the tip of its finger.
 
‘Is this The Almighty’s manifestation?’ Zax speculated, mesmerized and at awe. The manifestation of Godly power had yet to act for his Godly Retribution, but he was gratified nonetheless, so long as his son was clear from its threat. ‘Thank you! Thank you, The Almighty!’ he cried humbly, in deep appreciation. ‘I know my mistake… for my insolence back then, please accept my apology!’ He bowed, too.
 
When it was done coalescing, Niel’s Godly Retribution turned to a ball of light. At that time, the Godly power in Zax’s sea of consciousness also formed a giant hand that exuded safety and gentleness.
 
PUC!
 
The hand in Niel’s soul flicked with its pointing finger and sent the light ball of Godly Retribution coursing from his sea of consciousness to Zax’s through their temporary connection.
 
BANG!
 
The ball hit the back of Zax’s spirit as it was in the midst of reaching the sixth bottleneck, causing it to stumble half a step forward at the price of losing its balance.
 
BOOM!
 
The hand that formed in Zax’s sea of consciousness clenched its finger to a fist that knocked down Zax’s spirit a whole step forward but also to its knees.
 
“No! It wasn’t my intentions!” Sister Iaura horrifyingly ceased her murmuring and shouted in bewilderment.
 
Luckily for Zax, she reacted right after the ball struck him and before the full brunt of the fist bashed him. The giant hand in his sea of consciousness was more than eighty percent faded when it hit his spirit. That being the case, a substantial damage already been done.
 
At last, he got to advance a step and a half for the sixth spark of insight, being only a step and a half away, but his spirit was pushed to its knees in a prostrating position, too weakened to get up or catch the sixth spark even if it was over its head.
 
He could not feel anymore the presence of The Almighty in either Niel or himself and he heard Sister Iaura panicking, yet his full attention was preoccupied by the pulsing pain in his spirit.
 
It was sheltered by the membrane of his soul, which shielded him from a portion of the impact, but damage was unavoidable. A large gash ripped in his soul, draining roughly sixty percent of its energy, whilst his spirit was bounded by endless pain that could barely be described as having all bones shattered, all tendons torn, skin peeled and so on and so on…
 
“Wh-y?!” Zax crotched and black cracks appeared from head to toe on his body. He did exactly as Sister Iaura instructed and The Almighty saved his son. Why then did it so brutally refuse him?!
 
“I- I- don’t know!” Sister Iaura was in a state shock. Confused, she hinged back from Zax, eyes wondering across the room, searching for answer rather escape route. “Because you hurt His Young Eminence!” A juvenile tinge suddenly echoed from her voice in a resentful tone. “This child was blameless, but you fiend, got what you deserved! I’m glad! I’m glad The Almighty heard my whispers!”

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