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‘That much is expected’. Zax thought after hearing that Bin Bin’s destination is the Savage Caves; hence very little emotion was stirred in him, a bit of curiosity to see how Bin Bin intends to handle the obstacles of the second Savage Cave. ‘Perhaps he has a safe way to open the lock…’
“Tour New Earth to your heart’s content, but to the Savage Caves you will enter with me in your presence or not at all”. Zax placed an ultimatum.
“That’s fine with me”. Whether it upset Bin Bin or not, he did not show it. “When can we leave?”
“I’m currently preoccupied with other commitments, so it would have to be in a few months… two and a half to three”.
“Can’t it be sooner?” Bin Bin pressed.
“Out of my control”. Zax dropped to the living room’s sofa and leaned back with his hand raised high, he pointed at Bin Bin. “Till then, I won’t monitor your movement in New Earth, so I hope you won’t do anything to disappoint me”. Or rather, he wanted Bin Bin undermine him... If he will attempt to sneak to the Savage Caves and head directly to the third, then perhaps he possesses external means to cross it, something he would prefer to hide because others can take it…
Bin Bin sighed. “It really saddens me to know how low I am in your priorities… Oh, well, I’ll hang around until I’m bored and if by then you won’t contact me, I’ll find something temporary to do”.
“You can leave”. Zax notified Sister Iaura upon her return, which caught her by surprise.
“But I just got back”. Sister Iaura confusedly uttered.
“Dad, we spent couple of hours taking Iaura sightseeing, eating and playing”. Niel said.
“You can return to Onzengvas is what I say”. Zax clarified.
Actually, she could have left a while ago for all he cared…
After the Godly Retribution in Niel’s Soul was dealt with and he got over her crazy spewing, Zax calmed down and deduced that the association of Sister Iarua and The Almighty’s actions is unrelated. Although the condition of his spirit was static, Sister Iarua was not responsible for it and on the contrary, it was thanks to her that no danger loomed over Niel anymore.
With this conclusion, Zax allowed Sister Iaura to roam New Earth, outside his house from sunrise to sunset. Despite the lass having three personalities and he only met two, while one was rebellious toward him, she quite innocently obeyed him, never attempting to escape. The sole reason Zax did not return her himself was the dent the conflict form in his relationship with Luminous Church. Moreover, letting Archbishop Silternjan and the rest stew in their concerns for her was a sort of wide retaliation.
“Then… Can I go back to His Young Holiness…?”
“Yes, and take him with you!” Zax irately gestured over to Bin Bin, who decided to linger…
Apparently, the uninvited guest reconsidered the snacks offer and with nothing to talk about with Zax, he lay on the sofa, watching the Screen and spilling crumbs after every bite of biscuits and pretzels.
“I’m not harrying anywhere”. With his mouth stuffed, Bin Bin waved for them to disregard him and slurped coffee so the snacks will be easier to swallow.
“Eh, dad, old man Bin Bin came to visit?” Niel dipped his head to the side and excitedly remarked.
“Hey, hey, it’s Old Man Bin Bin!” Jingrow was no less exhilarated.
They ran for him, while Shadow quietly left now that there was no need for him to keep watch on them and Sister Iaura.
“Hahaha, Imp1, Imp2, greet this Old Man properly”. Bin Bin shifted to a sitting positing with his chin up and a grin.
“Imp1 greets Old Man”.
“Imp2 greets Old Man”.
First Jingrow then Niel, they cupped their hands up as if facing a Master or a Tal.
“Good, good. If it wasn’t for you, Imps, about seventy percent of my visits to Rising City would have been unbearably dreary. Your father, Imp2, is pretty terrible host, you know…”
“I know, I know…” Niel sighed dependently. “Fortunately mom always treats Old Man as should be”.
“Right, as should be”. Jingrow nodded.
“As should be”. Bin Bin attested.
The three’s exchange caused Zax internal convulsions. If asked, he would adamantly argue that among all plagues, the infestation known as “Bin Bin” is the most contagious around children.
Before they got to know him, neither Niel nor Jingrow could be accused of having a morsel of mischievousness. Sadly, one day Bin Bin discovered solace to his frustration from the inability to enter New Earth by impressing the pair of boys with all sort of adventurous story, typically with him in the role of some great hero, whilst those companions of his who frequented Zax’s place in Rising City, Liminton, Vals, Enderta, Zenkai, Benni, Nirik Je, Hason and Shila, as the incompetent lackeys always in need of saving.
“Imp2, you breakthrough the second realm”. Bin Bin noted after an inquisitive glance. “For someone at your age… superb! Now you are not too far from Imp1”.
As they continued to chat, Sister Iaura’s juvenile personality took command after being overwhelmed due to the permission to leave.
In a reserved tone she had not used with Zax before, she said. “I can’t take him with me if he refuses. Can I still go alone?”
“Yes, Iaura”. Anet answered. At the beginning she might have keen on the perspective of killing the girl as an expression of mother’s rage, but when Niel was safe and sound and she came to learn about Sister Iaura’s mental state, Anet softened toward that specific personality.
“Wonderful!” Sister Iaura clapped in a gleeful manner only Stelero Mars on this planet was familiar with. “It would be much more pleasant to see New Earth as a welcome visitor than a prisoner. Can I still stay here?”
“Do you take my house for an inn, girl?” Zax scowled. ‘Where is that other personality of hers? Is it purposely not coming out to fulfil the whims of this one?’ An idea suddenly flashed through his mind. ‘Or…’ He discreetly glimpsed at Bin Bin.
“She is practically homeless in New Earth, Zax”. Anet retorted before Sister Iaura could reply. “We have the space and the room already prepared and in use by her. Have Bin Bin contact Archbishop Silternjan so the altercation will come to an end. If possible, I want to exit the cycle of anger and vengeance”. A hint of fatigue stuck to her voice.
“As should be…” In an attempt to relieve his wife, Zax joked and they smiled.
The appointed day of the meeting regarding Rufer and his request has arrived.
The villa had sufficient amount of rooms, so designating one for conferences was done without a hitch of discomfort to its residences.
Around an ellipse shaped table sat Zax and his guests. Apart from the man of the hour, Rufer, there were Supreme Rulers Ariel, Trey and Ar Yen, as well as Raroma, one of the two Silverhorned tribe’s leaders. Another humanoid creature that joined them was Ormuro, a Zhihui type beast from the poultry family called a Slick Tail Goose Climber, a member of Sinister Chain and also the Director of the Department Of Space. The remaining two were Noel Maxim of the Foreign Materials Analysis and Star Captain Emel Eg Sorm.
“So you are the one who brought us all together, Rufer, young talent of the Lavruer great family”. Supreme Ruler Trey remarked as well as introduced the man to those less aware of his background.
“All through the generous assistance of Mr. Zel”. Rufer bowed.
He was initially apprehensive of expanding the inner circle of those knowing his secret, but as time trickled in the room, before anyone began to speak, the ambiance was set, coherent and firm, sufficient to determine it was a safe space to speak and vigilance was unwarranted.
Noticing the gazes of more than one pair of eyes, Rufer stood up and opened. “Mr. Zel, may I?”
“Go ahead. I’ll add only if necessary”. Zax cautioned him to provide nothing less than full transparency.
Nodding, Rufer turned to seven. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t mind I’ll commence with a short but more in depth introduction of myself and proceed to share with you the exact words of mine and Mr. Zel’s conversation…”
As it was a narration of events and personal story, Rufer encountered no interruptions, including when he finished.
A prolonged silence resided in the room as every person contemplated his and her thoughts on the matter, in order to formulate a solid case for opinion.
“Time is not a factor”. Feathery arms crossed, Ormuro took upon himself to bring back sounds to the table. “As any one of us possess more than ten thousand years to spare it all comes down to whether the wait would be worth the reward…”
Martial Mortals could live up to fifteen thousand years. In the span of measly ten, the Star Scavenger had gone to four missions that yielded an astronomical fortune of cultivation resources.
“A century at the most”, Rufer implored as he only vaguely mentioned it will take longer than all previous missions combined. “I’ve read all the reports available to someone in my position. Unless something was omitted, then I assure you, in between here and the bone marrow portion, there are things vastly more precious than in those manifests!”
“How are you able to discern? Your reasoning spawn from self interest. Even if you’ll swear an oath, we still can’t verify the credibility of knowledge given by a… ‘Being’ beyond our comprehension. The risk factor is too high”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen said.
“Emel Eg Sorm, what are your thoughts?” Raroma probed as she was the only one among them to actually lead and experience a Star Scavenger’s mission.
She had brown skin and short dark brown hair, but even in her human form she could not conceal her beastly features entirely. As a Zhihui Ash Bone Hound, her skeletal frame protruded regardless what form she took, making it seem like she is a mannequin. “It won’t work, if we go by the current regulations. For a mission of this scope, everything will have to be rewritten or at least new guidelines should be enforced”.
“I will comply with any demand put forward”. Rufer was worried when Supreme Ruler Ar Yen poured cold water on his hopes, so when Emel Eg Sorm created an opening, he promptly struck the iron while it is hot. “New laws, new rules... And it would be my pleasure if Star Captain Emel Eg Sorm will agree to offer her command for the journey”.
“Will you be okay with leaving the planet for such a long period of time, Star Captain Emel Eg Sorm?” Zax elected to give Rufer a hand.
“My crew and I can conduct a thousand years mission if told”. Emel Eg Sorm said unwaveringly.
“Then, if nobody objects, Director Ormuro, please draft the modus operandi for a hundred years mission, a joint operation of the Department Of Space and the individual Rufer Lavruer”.
Rufer received Zax’s support, which for one reason or another remained undisputed. Soon, the Star Scavenger will embark on its first long term mission, while some wonder in their hearts…
‘Will it be successful?’
When they should ask… Will it be its last?
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