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“…I’m begging you!” Rufer pleaded.
‘What a sorrowful situation…’ Zax inwardly could not help by sympathize. He recalled how much he had been through to fulfill the terms of his own inheritance and yet still had a seemingly bottomless chasm to cross.
“The Star Scavenger’s missions are for the benefits of all Kingdom Earth and even our brethren from Valgarel. I can’t trade it to satisfy the whim of a single person”. He harshly stated.
A glint of hope instantly lit in Rufer’s pupils as he perceived the clear meaning in Zax’s response. “Of course, it’s not all for me! Just a tiny bit, less than a gram, definitely! As an heir to the Senior Zizamber I can estimate the direction and distance to the bone marrow portion. It’s far, extremely far and to get there will probably take longer than the length of all previous missions combined. But the road isn’t devoid of extraordinary things that can be salvaged on the way. The Scorching Stellar Fumes portion I absorbed traversed immense distance. Everywhere it passed and sensed something peculiar was imprinted in it, to assist its futuristic heir, me!”
“If this is the truth, be aware that I have the means to verify it”. Zax warned, thought Rufer took it as an indication that he is closer to agree.
“I can swear to a God or an Oath Parchment, if you want”. Rufer unhesitatingly offered, making it the first time since they entered the break room that Zax smiled, although it was a smirk.
“Should I make you swear, it won’t be for treasure, but that you’ll return. I don’t know you well enough to trust your patriotism and people on promising path could turn fickle. Anyways, this is one condition you’ll have to abide by. The second is to accept more people to this inner circle you established between us. I obtained the Star Scavenger through my own efforts, but I’m not looking to be a dictator and regardless of strength I put great faith in my seniors. Thus, you will have to trust those I’ll choose to bring in on this arrangement you want”.
“Who do you have in mind?” Rufer asked, a tad apprehensive. There is no shortage of experts that can suppress him, should they decide to join the fray for the inheritance.
“I won’t bother to cite the names. Since trust is the key issue, you will have to prove yours in me to gain mine. Besides, you’ll have the opportunity to know when we all meet”.
“…Okay”. Rufer grudgingly complied. “When do you want me to meet them?”
“I’ll inform you in a few days of the time and location. Till then”, Zax turned to leave. “This was quite an interesting encounter”.
After exiting the Department Of Space building, Zax contacted all those he deemed necessary to assess Rufer’s request. The list contained mainly humans and overall consisted of seven figures. He sent a concise message asking the seven to convene at his home in a two weeks’ time, in case one or more of them is in seclusion and has to make preparation before an abrupt cessation.
‘Oh? They let someone enter the pathway?’ He ignored the transmission during his conversation with Rufer, so the other party contacted Anet who then left him a vocal message. ‘Humph, that rascal doesn’t know when to quit’.
“He should return by the time you’ll finish the mug, if you’ll drink it in one mouthful”. Anet courteously served Bin Bin a mug of coffee, a beverage of his choosing after she asked.
“I won’t finish it so fast”. Bin Bin chuckled, satisfaction plastered on his face. “By the way, do you have something tasty to complement the coffee? Preferably something both salty and sweet, thanks a bunch in advance!”
“I have biscuits”. Anet sighed inwardly. It was not her first meeting with Bin Bin. Zax introduced to her the willful fellow years ago, when he came to Rising City with a group of people claiming to be companions of her husband for a time. They stayed for couple of months and through the passage of time Bin Bin almost regularly visited, pestering Zax in vain for permission to enter New Earth.
“Biscuits are sweet, mmm… can you check to see if you also have pretzels?”
“We do”. A voice sounded from the villa’s entrance.
“How are you, my good friend Zax?” Bin Bin got up holding the mug. “Scratch that, Anet, no need biscuits or pretzels”. He drank the coffee in one gulp and placed the mug back on the living room table.
“Bin Bin”, Zax said impatiently. “Denizens of Ercas Mir are banned from New Earth, it’s the sole decree of mine that nobody is allowed to undermine, yet you somehow succeeded to get access to this place... Tell me, face to face, since you refrained from notifying me yourself or let my wife do so in her message, where do you get your courage from?”
“Courage?” Bin Bin raised his arms in defense. “Maybe I do have a little, but not in the copious amounts needed to antagonize the strongest man both above and beneath the earth!” Despite his words, he placed his hands at the back of his head in a laidback fashion. “That being said, you are right. There is a source to my present confidence, such given to the messenger of an Immortal”.
“Immortal? Which one?” Zax instantly asked, inferring why Bin Bin did not elaborate via a transmission and how he convinced Anet.
Interception was not an easy thing and once detected nearly impossible to accomplish a second time, but for the five powers perhaps the risk in this occasion would have been worth it. If their gadgets are programed to act on specific keywords, then there was little doubt “Immortal” was not among them.
“The Immortal behind my uncle Sheldon, you can call him Senior Ohar”.
“The leader of the Mercenary Association is backed by an Immortal?!” Anet paled. “Zax…”
“I know…” He shared the same unsightly expression.
He stole Luminous Church’s Galactic Communicator for the explicit reason that it possessed the joint frequency the five powers used to commune with the extraterrestrial forces they belonged to. With it, Sinister Chain can monitor their transmissions and if need be disrupt their connectivity. Nevertheless, now there seems to be another with the ability to reach beyond the blue sky and contact the Immortal powerhouses residing somewhere outer space.
“What’s his message?” Zax prudently inquired.
“Friendship”. Bin Bin said straight away to ease the tension. “Senior Ohar appreciate the aboriginal of this planet. My uncle Sheldon was the first to catch his attention and you are the second. I personally think that you are even more noteworthy than my uncle, than numerous others I’ve seen or heard of, but Senior Ohar did not make the comparison in the content of his message”.
“Then what did he say? To what aim does he desire friendship with me? Can you prove his, an Immortal, attachment?”
“For proof you can seek my uncle Sheldon. Actually, the message wasn’t extensive, so I can’t satiate all of your uncertainties. Senior Ohar wishes that in the spirit of a newfound friendship you could do something for him. Of course, if in your opinion it will be too much to ask, you can decline and it won’t bear effect on his will to befriend you”.
‘Zax, assuming that there really is “Immortal Senior Ohar”, we don’t know anything about him. He might just be like the three Immortals controlling the five powers’. Anet sent him.
‘Bin Bin would not make such a lie… I’ll believe him and later confirm it with Sheldon just because it’s not a trivial matter’. Zax assured. ‘Do you think I need to accept his extemporaneous friendship and decline in case his request is really excessive?’ He probed for his wife’s outlook as he formulated his own.
‘On one hand, I don’t think we should fear him. It’s questionable if he is in the Milky Way Plain, otherwise, as an Immortal, he can reach this planet unbeknownst to anyone and achieve what he wants directly. On another hand, this Senior Ohar seems to care more of your friendship than the favor he wants from you. This implies that his offer isn’t as sudden as presented… perhaps it’s genuine, perhaps a part of a greater scheme’.
‘To figure that out…’
‘It’s best you won’t decline’.
The discussion was swift and did not interrupt the natural flow of Zax and Bin Bin’s conversation.
“How can I help Senior Ohar?” Zax asked.
“Release Sister Iaura”. Bin Bin hurried to add. “Uncle Sheldon told Senior Ohar about the friction between you and Luminous Church, which is why he only made the request in a passing. Do or don’t ultimately it makes no difference to him”.
“I’ll release her”. Zax stopped Bin Bin’s jabber.
“Really? That simply?” Bin Bin exclaimed, eyes popping out. “She is not some nobody like Archbishop Silternjan, Cardinal Northstar or even Stelero Mars. If I were in your shoes-”
“Are you trying to sway my mind?” Zax disliked the headache inducing Bin Bin’s self indulgent outbursts.
“No, no, no! Right now I’m too weak and puny to mess with Senior Ohar’s business”. Bin Bin nervously retreated a step. “Let’s not mention what I said”. He smiled a half plea. “By the way, where is Sister Iaura? Is she locked somewhere in your house?” He changed the subject.
“Is she?” Zax turned to Anet.
“She is out with Niel, Jingrow and Shadow”.
“You don’t keep her in confinement?” Bin Bin was shocked, more so from discontent than how lenient Zax is with his prisoner.
They are in New Earth, a forbidden land to outsiders such as him, yet Sister Iaura, who shared the same position and supposedly was on bad terms with Zax, received free rein?!
“Am I even your friend?” Bin Bin snapped despondently.
“Just as much as you’re a troublemaker”. Zax shot back.
“Enough bantering”. Anet amiably separated the two. “Bin Bin, you can sit and wait for Iaura’s return”.
“There is no need. She is a big girl and I did not come to babysit her safe journey to Onzengvas”. Bin Bin promptly rejected. “My dear friend Zax, do you admit that my visit was auspicious?”
“Speak frankly”. Zax was no fool. Since his eyes first landed on the uninvited guest he knew delivering back to Ercas Mir, now that he finally got to New Earth, would be cumbersome.
“Okay, but you must promise not to get mad. It’s only fair that I, too, should enjoy a bit benefits for toiling so you could make friends with a high caliber Immortal like Senior Ohar. My desire is that you will let me wonder uninhibited in New Earth, of course I don’t intend to cause problems”.
“Any specific destination?” Not once did Bin Bin ever sincerely tell him why he wants to enter New Earth. In his tone Zax made it explicitly clear that this was his last chance.
“Alright, you did not expel me, so I won’t lie… I want to go to the Savage Caves”.
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