The Path of the Aura: Intertwining Crossroads

Chapter XIII (13): A New Goal

Location: My Village

Date: January 2nd, 60 A.D.

Time: 10:21 AM

The succeeding day was spent on repairing the village to its former stateliness. Costas, Ian, all of the able-bodied villagers, and I—in my dragon form—spent our time mending what Mars's Roman battalion wounded.

I proved to be the strong (lizard?) man in this neighborhood task, doing almost all of the heavy-lifting with relative ease, as well as holding material in place while the other villagers seal it to their homes. In doing so, I saved the majority of us a monumental amount of time in having to carry around such laborious material.

Both Costas and Ian were in charged with finding the remains of the deceased villagers. Much to their pain, more and more bodies turned up as the village was gradually restored.

By sunset, the village was fully repaired, in a fraction of the time that it would normally take if I wasn't around to lend a scaled hand.

By the next day, the funeral was held for those whose lives were lost two days ago. It was in my best interests to speak for those who've perished, albeit both Costas and Ian felt as if I wouldn't be appropriate for the task—especially with a tone of voice that sounded as if it was custom made for hellish damnation.

Instead, I was tasked with cremating the bodies, something that most of the villagers agreed on, and all of them eventually settled on—the ones that were still mourning over the loss of their loved ones.

The broken wood that remained from the destruction by the Roman legion was utilized as platforms for the deceased. Once the time was right, I set this platform ablaze, utilizing my Red (Fire) Aura alongside my fire-breathing to do so.

As the bodies and wooden platforms burned away into ash, we gathered around them, hands clasped together and heads down with closed eyes, paying our respects to those who've departed from this world.

What I didn't notice while I was doing this was that some people bothered looking at me temporarily. Some of them found it naturally abnormal for me to be paying respects for them, not because I show no interest in them, but because of my current disposition—being a freakishly-large, winged dragon and all.

After the funeral, the bulk of my time was spent in experimenting ways to revert back to normal—if at all that was possible. I conducted small-scale experiments utilizing cells harvested from my scales that I separated from my being, and attempted various Berry emulsions in reverting them back to human flesh through trial and error. In doing so, I quickly discovered that two Berries of different traits work much better than one solitary Berry, and their effects are vastly improved.

Now if only I could find the right combination of these two said Berries…

As I experimented on doing so, Costas and Ian—many times over—attempted to tell me about the visitor that came over here on the first of December of last year.

"I've told you two before," I said this repeatedly whenever they brought up the topic. "After I've reverted back to normal, I'll hear about it! I want it to be something that I've earned as a reward."

The more I told them off, the more they pondered to themselves if I truly cared or not about the visitor. However, they knew well enough that I was more focused on more pressing matters, because it deeply mattered to me if I was able to revert back to normal from this monstrous state of body.

19.1: The Beast Slumbers within Me Again

Location: My Laboratory (Testing Room)

Date: January 9th, 60 A.D.

Time: 5:37 PM

Through sufficient trial and error, I've finally formulated a concoction of two Berries that successfully reverted one of my dragon scales back into a strip of human skin. With success in hand, I was ready to take this experiment large-scale, and revert myself to normality.

I invited Costas, Ian, and all of the villagers over to the Testing Room—the very same room where complex science gave birth to the first of my current three "S-Rank" inventions, the S1-GS device—once I developed a healing tank to incorporate my mass, as well as the thousands of gallons necessary to revert my draconic body to normal.

All of the audience noticed a glass dome suspended above a metallic platform, and controls and sensors relating to it on a monitor connected to it. They noticed my being standing between this healing tank and them.

Deciding not to explain the elaborate science of what I succeeded in doing, I spoke what this machine is for, and what it will do to me. To put it simply, the healing tank will purge me of this draconic body and revert myself back to my normal human body, as I originally once was.

Before stepping into the healing tank, I removed all three "S-Rank" devices that I had strapped onto my scaly being and handed them over to my brothers for safekeeping. Next, I placed myself within the healing tank, only needing to coil my wings into my body and wrap my tail around one of my legs in order to fit properly into the container.

My brothers were in charge of operating the controls of the machine. They set the "S-Rank" inventions temporarily aside by the healing tank before they electronically commanded the glass dome to lower, vacuum seal, and close me within my healing tank. Once sealed inside, I mentally congratulated myself on the perfect combination of glass size, one large enough to hold me and small enough to not waste any fluid that will enter.

Next, once Costas and Ian checked that the healing tank was perfectly sealed, they had the entire tank gradually fill to the brim with an eerie green liquid—the mixture of two Berries that I found able to revert me to normal. I could feel the liquid quickly rise from below, climb up the levels of height on my body in a very short amount of time. It reached up to my toes, to my ankles, to my shins, and to my knees in seconds. The sound of it, bouncing off of this glass dome like an echo in a cave, reminded me of the roar of a waterfall. And the temperature of it all reminded me of a cold shower.

As the liquid continued to rise until it filled to the brim, I began to stick onto my chest stamp-sized sensors that I had present within the healing tank. With these on, my brothers were now able to analyze my body temperature, blood-oxygen levels, and heart rate, making sure everything was stable throughout this session.

Before the liquid reached my neck, I attached a modified breathing apparatus over my lizard-like snout—because where else would a breathing apparatus go?—and secured it tightly before the juice overcame my head. I had my ash-black eyes opened within the solution, thankful that the solution I formulated was gentle on the eyes, and watched on at my spectators outside of the glass.

I looked over to my side to notice Costas writing something on the touch screen of my S2-PTSDOv.2 device. After a few seconds, he held the device in front of me, showing me what he wrote.

"HOW ARE YOU DOING IN THERE?" My device had this message present on its screen.

"Just fine," I was able to speak with a restricted snout, and loud enough to be heard through the healing tank. "Activate the electric generators."

My brothers hesitated mildly before turning on the healing tank's internal electric generators. They knew that it was supposed to be set at low—to amplify the effects of the Berry mixture—, but wondered if there was a lower setting so that I would feel no pain. However, my orders were specific, and I do know more about science than they do—than they will ever know.

Also, there's this very well known cliché: no pain, no gain.

As quickly as they activated the generators, my body twitched after feeling an unpleasant electric sensation course through the green fluid. I felt as if I was consistently hit with a steady static shock, and cringed at the pain it inflicted. However, I knew that this electricity was necessary, and I allowed my endurance surplus to keep me stable throughout this uncomfortable jolting.

Before the audience, the healing tank was gradually beginning to fog up from the inside, the electricity causing the fluid to break up into its gaseous properties—the water within into hydrogen and oxygen. I knew that this would happen, and the surplus of fluid would more than cope with that. However, everybody else thought otherwise and wondered what this was all about.

Seconds later, once the fog completely blanketed me from view, a loud roaring and thrashing sound was audible from within the healing tank. In scattered areas of the glass dome, spider-web cracks began to form.

The audience began to grow anxious, but Costas and Ian reassured them by saying that the glass is heavily layered and resilient, and that the cracks came from the failing internal layer.

Once they looked back at the monitor on the machine, they noticed that my heart rate and stress levels were off the charts, maxing out at 400 beats per minute—twice that of any normal human heart ever reaching.

But before they—or the villagers—began to worry any further, my distressing sounds stopped altogether.

…Along with my heart rate…again.

Costas and Ian immediately activated the abort function of the healing tank, which immediately caused the liquid to drain away through the pipes that I had incorporated into the healing tank, having it reduced to a few puddles in the machine. Immediately afterward, the glass dome began to rise—somehow leaving the fog intact—until it couldn't rise upward any further.

Before my brothers jumped into the fog, the monitor alerted them that my heart rate had resumed to normality.

Everyone stood still and watched quietly at the tranquility of the fog, wondering what occurred to me within the machine. They wondered—my brothers especially—if I had succeeded on returning human, or failed and remained draconic, for the rest of my life.

All of a sudden, everybody sees my clawed hand extend outward from the fog, and have their heart rate temporarily elevate at the sudden sight of this.

From their points of view, they see a bloody, decayed, deteriorating, and putrid hand. They see various parts of its flesh fall off of me and onto the floor, leaving puddles of squalid blood in the process, all of which was no longer acidic.

From this dripping mess of shedding scales, the core of my arm was gradually becoming visible. To those who were closest around my point of being, they noticed human flesh underneath dragon flesh, between which a layer of blood was present, one that wasn't within my body and putting me at risk of severe anemia, just present there when my dragon flesh began to decay away.

"…Costas? Ian?" I speak through the fog, in my normal voice.

Holding in their emotions, they say "Yes?" in unison.

"May I get a towel, please? I would prefer not to step out indecent in front of the audience." I flick my hand a couple of times, having more pieces of flesh fall off in the process.

I suddenly felt my hand drop slightly when a cotton towel was thrown onto it. My peeling external flesh no longer registered touch, so I only assumed that the towel was in my possession when my hand feebly wobbled up and down—and I could feel a soft material through the internal human flesh that was gradually unearthing. Once I retracted my hand back into the fog, I knew for certain that it was a towel that was now in my possession.

About a minute later, I emerge from the fog, feet first and then the remainder of my body—the towel wrapped around my waistline and stopping just above my knees. Sure enough, I appeared before everybody as a cross between both of my bodies, divided 50-50 amongst my being. I still retained my tail and wings, along with the horns on my head and bony protrusions beside my mouth.

Before any speculation aroused as to how morbidly mar I've become, the remainder of my flesh fell off of my body in large chunks once it was loose enough, exposing a bloody coat that my old body now was wearing. And all of those pieces of my draconic body that were falling off of me dissolved upon hitting the floor, shrinking in size until nothing remained but a pool of blood and fragments of flesh.

Thankfully, I was now back to normal and all that I would require is a simple shower to remove the blood that collected underneath the shedding skin. My brothers could take care of the mopping of the floor, worry free of acidic blood.

Before I knew it, euphoric applause was audible throughout the Testing Room of my laboratory. I saw people in front of me absolutely astounded at what I've done, as if I had just performed a magic trick of epic proportions. And if I didn't know any better, they saw me as something similar to a god, or at least something close to that title, such as a deity or demigod.

Both Costas and Ian approached me, amazed at how I was successfully able to return to normality, and refraining from backslapping me in admiration because of my blood.

Costas quickly notices my left eye amongst all of my sanguine coating. "Why is your left eye all white?" He told me, almost pointing his finger into that eye.

Upon hearing that remark, I quickly waved my hand across each eye. Much to my awareness, I had reverted back to normal, in every sense of the word. Not generically normal, as in two working eyes and scar-free skin that I once possessed, but personally normal as in scars riddling mostly my backside, useless left eye, and second network of blood vessels that were present on my body's extremities alongside my core.

"(I guess I truly am back to normal…)" I thought solemnly.

"What was in that liquid that you used?" Ian asked, curious of my methods.

I set aside the return to this normality that I had reacquired and faced Ian. "The liquid that I used was a concoction of Apicot and Petaya Berries, two from those sixty-four fruit that I successfully gene-spliced."

"Why did you use those two?"

"They hold very special properties. The Apicot Berry responds to unusual situations, while the Petaya Berry responds to living things. A combination of them fitted with my predicament and reacted to my condition."

"I can't imagine how many of those Berries you had to use to fill up that healing tank," Costas interrupted. "How many did you have to extract until their juices sufficed your needs?"

"Not as many as you would think," I looked at him now. "Only one percent of the fluid was Berry juice extract. The remaining ninety-nine percent of it was water mixed into the overall solution."

19.2: Contact with the Unwelcomed Shadow

Location: My Laboratory (Lavatory)

Time: 6:06 PM

Once all of the commotion ended between my brothers and the audience, I decided to remove the blood that clung onto my skin by taking a shower.

As the shower head sprayed hot water over the crown of my head and travelled down the remainder of my naked body, I pondered to myself about my transmogrification from dragon to human.

"(My blood is no longer acidic,)" I thought when I saw the blood run down the drain, not eating away at anything it was contacting. "(That must be a specific characteristic of that state of body.)"

After thoroughly scrubbing myself down with soap, I switched the water off once I was rinsed clean and took one look at my wet body. In doing so, I noticed that my body fully remained as it once was before my transmogrification. That includes the extensive scars that I've sustained—most of which were collected on my back—, the second network of blood vessels—that exist on my arms, legs, stomach, around my ineffective left eye, and not around my active right eye. I originally expected that my human body would return me into perfect condition, but that was obviously not the case.

"(What a shame,)" I thought hollowly.

As I stepped out of the shower, dried off with the towel that I had, and eventually dressed myself in my basic attire—black eye patch over left eye, blue jeans, monochrome shoes, white shirt—, I pondered to myself how exciting it was to transmogrify. Once I looked past the intense pain of doing so—as well as the fatigue that resulted—, I realized that the options that it would grant me in battle far outweighed the consequences, especially if I could master this ability.

"(Perhaps if I had more practice with this ability, my body can gradually adapt to it, possibly to the point where swapping forms is instantaneous and not painful.)" I pondered before finishing putting on my basic wardrobe, then retrieving my technological devices, all of which I had brought with me earlier.

As I strapped on my sheathed "S-Rank" inventions onto my torso, I continued to think about this new ability of mine.

"(Is this an ability that lay dormant within me and activated under urgent circumstances, much like my Elemental Aura abilities over a decade ago? Or was it one that was given to me?)" I finished strapping on my "S-Rank" devices and crossed my arms to contemplate, with my head tilted down and my right hand holding my chin. "(If this power was given to me, then who was the donor? Was it that dragon that I clashed with over ten years ago? Was it that hooded figure that transported me back here, to the village of my birth? If they didn't, then perhaps it simply resurfaced from within my unconscious. But how can I know for certain?)"

I simply summarized this to the list of questions that I searched the answers to:

Who truly killed my parents?

Why do I have these phenomenal Elemental Aura abilities, and a superior intellect to compliment it?

Whatever happened to the dragon that I (allegedly) killed?

What is this "It" that that dragon is referring to?

The beast that I saw in a dream, prior to gaining my Elemental Aura abilities and leaving my home village… What in the world did I see?

And, since when am I able to transmogrify into a dragon?

Location: My Laboratory (Tech Room)

Time: 6:26 PM

Eventually, I made my way back to my brothers, fully dressed and blood-free after my shower. The two of them awaited me in the Tech Room of my laboratory, finished mopping the bloody mess that I left behind earlier.

And sure enough, during my absence, they had time to ponder some new questions about my alternate form.

"Hey Eduardo, what was it like to become a dragon?" Costas asked.

"How did it feel like to reside in a dragon's body?" Ian asked.

"(We're still in this topic?)" I thought momentarily after hearing their questions, and then responded with an answer. "To be honest, it felt vaguely…familiar."

Both of by brothers gave me odd looks because of my unorthodox response to their questions.

"And I know I've stated earlier that I've never become that before."

"If you've never become a dragon before," Ian continued. "Then how can you say that you feel 'familiar' with that form?"

I had to ponder this question in detail for a moment before speaking. "Even though adaptability is one of my strongest attributes, I know that it's virtually impossible to adapt to a new body and how it works on the first try. And now that I look back on this—on what I've done when combating Mars's Roman legion—, I can't help but wonder how I was able to not only control myself flawlessly, but also decimate Mars and his Roman legion, all without so much as losing control of myself."

"Is this going to be one of those topics in your life that you'll want answers to?" Costas suspected.

"It's actually the sixth question on my growing list, right after that bipedal creature that I saw in my dream."

"A thought just occurred to me," Ian said. "If becoming a dragon feels vaguely familiar to you, then doesn't that mean that you're able to transmogrify into it at will?"

I formed my thinking stance and pondered for a moment. "Hmm…Well, familiarity is linked to plurality, and I strongly support that possibility."

"Won't it hurt you if you transform again?"

I thought back to the exact moment that I transmogrified, back with the fight against Mars.

(Eduardo's Flashback)

Once the flame surrounded me entirely, the pain suddenly mollified to virtual nothingness when my heart stopped beating. "(What's going on with me?)" Was what I was trying to think, but was unable to.

The next thing I notice, my body begins to swell.

With what little nerve activity I had active for me, I could feel my bones and muscles changing shape. My tendons were growing with them as well. The agony of burning flesh mollified, almost as if I was losing skin to burn. Before I could make sense of this phenomenon, I felt a sharp sensation between both of my scapulas (shoulders) and my coccyx (tailbone). I could only tell from my shadow what was occurring behind me.

To my surprise, I notice two large wings and a fifteen-foot-long tail spontaneously emerge from my body. Their appearance struck a chord of nostalgia within me, one which wasn't damaged yet by the bodily inferno I was undergoing. The two wings and tail however, were on fire, but not burning, like my skin, simply because they had some acidic blood residue on them. My wings flop in front of my face, and I notice that they were scaled.

"(Oh…shit…)" I thought, with what little ability I had to at the moment, and with whatever willpower I could muster to do so.

I knew what I was becoming as I endured this. I'm undergoing a metamorphosis, into a dragon.

Below my eyes, I could see my face elongating and widening, right in front of me. My teeth sharpen and stick out externally and in an outward angle from my lengthened mouth. The back of my jaw grows several bone spikes as my neck elongates five times its normal length. Spines stick out of the back of my stretching neck, across the back of my spine, and stop two feet from the tip of my new tail. My fingernails and toenails grow thicker and longer, in conjunction with my enlarging hands and feet, which gradually grew more lizard-like, yet somewhat retaining a shred of their human-like shape.

Everyone whose eyes are locked on to my transmogrification watch on with assorted emotions and scattered thoughts.

Costas and Ian, showing the most concern over my well-being, wonder when my metamorphosis will end for me. After all, they see me now at more than twice my normal height, coiled up yet still upright, and dripping with burning acidic blood. They wonder why I'm not screaming my vocal chords into submission.

Or at least, they used to think that.

When my heart resumed beating, my head tilted to the sky and I finally let out a scream, a sharp scream of misery and pain, one that itself transmogrifies from a human wail into an ear-piercing, earth-rattling roar of a dragon. The scream triggered a powerful shockwave that originated from my position. The shockwave instantly knocks everyone back and douses all fires, my own and the house's fires, sparing either of us from further damage.

(End of Eduardo's Flashback)

"If I do transform again," I said. "I hope that my body adapts to it eventually, because nothing that I've endured before hurt as miserably as that."

"It probably will in time," Ian assured me.

"If it's anything like your Elemental Aura abilities, then your body will adjust and you'll grow more experienced in them." Costas entered the conversation.

"And if it's anything like your second network of blood vessels for your Elemental Aura abilities, then you'll likely sprout wings, horns, and a tail from your dragon form that'll stay on your regular body."

I smiled and chuckled mildly at the thought of that, at being a human/dragon hybrid. "I'm glad then that I don't care about my appearance."

My brothers seemed to chuckle at the idea as well, and we continued for a few seconds until I had a thought arise within my mind.

"I wonder if I had this new ability since birth, or if it was given to me recently."

Before we have time to discuss, we all hear a voice from behind us, one that is all too familiar with me.

"Your power was never bestowed by anyone on this world. It was simply dormant within you, more so than your…'Elemental Aura', was it?"

All three of us about-face quickly and see a human-like figure stand before us, clad in a shrouding dark cloak that bulwarked any hint of identification. The figure stood fifteen feet away from us, facing us for no known reason.

Both of my brothers asked me of this being.

"Hey Eduardo…" Costas began.

"…Who is that?" Ian ended.

Immediately, I startle my brothers by standing in front of them, in a defensive stance. "The hooded figure who sent me here," I said, biting my tongue somewhat before I could add "against my will" out of reflex.

I quickly draw out my S1-GS device from its respective holster and hold it out towards him, having its center button pointed directly at him in the process. With a spiteful look in my eyes, I say "What are you doing here?"

The hooded figure casually says "What, you returned to liking and protecting this dump of a place that you earlier wanted no part of anymore?" before chuckling to himself.

I took this as a sign that he doesn't see what kind of a situation he's placed himself in. Also, I disliked his smug remark, and immediately had my S1-GS device open, exposing the black hole within before him.

The S1-GS device immediately begins to siphon the air in front of me with its immense gravitational pull, causing the walls to bend somewhat, and the paneling to peel off before entering my handheld device. The hooded figure, much to my surprise, evaded this device entirely. He simply dove into his shadow in an instant, escaping the gravitational pull entirely.

"Tch, (clever…)" I thought briefly before closing the device and tucking it away, ceasing all disturbances in gravity within the Tech Room.

The hooded figure resurfaced from his shadow as quickly as he descended within it, appearing none the worse in appearance. "Cute toy," he began again, "but ineffective on me."

"What are you here for?" I ask solemnly.

"I'm here to explain to you what you've been deliberately postponing for over a week now," The hooded figure pointed a finger at both of my brothers behind me. "What both of your brothers were wishing to tell you: about the visitor that came here over one month ago."

I hear sharp gasps from my brothers behind my back, but I never look back at them and keep my eyes firmly locked on the hooded figure. I don't trust the hooded figure before me, mainly because he's just as unpredictable as I am in terms of supernatural abilities, and I would much prefer to not be caught off guard by him again.

"I know that you know this much: what the visitor did here, from what Mars told you."

Mentally, I travel back in time to the point where Mars told me what he knew about the visitor.

(Eduardo's Flashback)

"That bitch of a visitor came here one month ago and decided to spare me out of mercy!" Mars began to describe what he had to say. "I came here one month ago, with a legion of 500 soldiers, waiting to burn this place into the ground. We were tipped of your banishment and came here as fast as we could move. Without you in sight, my victory over here was guaranteed!"

"(This is what Costas and Ian meant to tell me?)" I thought, listening attentively, yet not dissipating my aura technique.

"However, it decided to protect this village, out of some…" Mars lifted his hands in front of his chest and twitched his first two fingers, "…'I'll-scratch-your-back-and-you'll-scratch-mine' crap. It showed abilities similar to those of your own. It was fully capable of speech, but didn't open its mouth! Its appearance…it was and was not human! And in the end, that alien of nature spared me and decided to wash me away north on the Red Sea, giving me its entire name out of pity."

(End of Eduardo's Flashback)

"How do you know that?" I said in astonishment.

"That's not what I'm here for," The hooded figure said before continuing. "I'm only here to tell what the visitor is and where it is now."

As much as I didn't want to, I listened closely to what he had to say, relaxing somewhat—but not completely—in the process.

"To begin with, the visitor is not of this world. It is an extraterrestrial, arriving here from a rift in space. It resided in this laboratory for one week, until it ran off after defeating Mars and his Roman battalion."

"(He even knows how long he stayed here for?)" Ian pondered.

"Its name…is Xeno Lucario. And now it wanders this earth in a feeble attempt to find its way home."

Without looking away, I ask my bothers this. "Costas, Ian…, is all of this true?"

"Every word," Costas affirmed in bewilderment.

"And how do you know that?" I told the hooded figure.

"Like hell I'll tell you," He told me sharply.

"(Such an enigma…)" I thought before saying another question. "What about your name? What is it?"

"My name? I don't have one."

"(No name?)" I thought, hiding my surprise from him. "Well then, what role do you have in this?"

Just as I said this, the shadow of the hooded figure warped into a sable circle that he stood in the center of. Before my eyes, he began to sink into the floor, feet first, slowly and ominously. "You'll know when it matters most in time. But until then, I'm nothing more to you than an enigma."

Once his head disappeared below, the sable circle faded away from existence, as if it never was there to begin with.

After the hooded figure departed from my laboratory, I pondered what he had to tell me—what I've postponed Costas and Ian telling me over the last week. "(So a being by the name of Xeno Lucario arrived from a rift in space and decimated Mars's first battalion, and then left and now wanders this planet, searching for a way home.)"

My brothers see me lost in thought and interrupt me by having this to say.

"You know, he didn't tell you everything," Ian said.

My eyes temporarily widen and I look behind me to face my brothers. "What didn't he mention?"

"The world that Xeno came from is similar to this world in almost every way, except that it's set about 2000 years into the future," Costas explained.

"It was wearing battle armor upon arrival, and had sustained severe abdominal injuries," Ian added.

"Was it alright?" I said—almost saying "did it survive" out of stupidity.

"It recovered quickly, especially with the knowledge that it had over the Berries that you gene-spliced," Costas mentioned.

"(It knew about the Berries? How's that possible?)" I pondered. "How does it know of the Berries?"

"We don't know," Ian admitted melancholically. "It was mostly a closed book for its week-long settlement here. We only heard of its name before it decided to leave."

We remained silent for a solid minute in time. During that time, I digested what my brothers—and the hooded figure—told me of this being that arrived here, into this dimension—this planet Earth—, and resided here, within my laboratory. I also recalled what Mars told me of it, how it is supposedly parallel to me in terms of abilities.

"(If what Mars said is true about its abilities,)" I pondered during this silence. "(Then maybe…just maybe…it could hold some answers that I'm looking for. It just might hold the key to my Elemental Aura abilities, how and why I possess them.)"

"So Eduardo," Costas said casually. "Seeing you think this much, I believe that you have a new goal in mind."

I nodded at Costas's speculation.

"What is it then?" Ian wondered. "What do you plan on doing?"

"I'm going to find this 'Xeno Lucario' creature," I said. "Mars told me that it was my parallel in terms of abilities, and that alone might hold some answers to the questions that I'm looking for."

Both of my brothers seemed to be in agreement with my choice of action.

"It's funny," Costas began. "We actually told it to find you, because you're easily the most likely person on this planet to help it return home."

"Is that so," I said, almost chucking at the fact that Xeno and I were now looking for each other.

"However," Ian began to warn me. "Xeno doesn't take to kindly to most of humanity. It absolutely despises the type of person that thinks themselves as superior, and that have the ability to enslave lesser species for their own benefit."

"And you're telling me this to see how it'll respond to me when we eventually meet?" I assumed.

Ian nodded, Costas as well.

"Well then, I have absolutely nothing to worry about," I chimed. "You see, I'm not human."

Both of my brothers gave me confused stares.

"What are you talking about?" Costas inquired.

"During my time of banishment, I've spent some time in pondering who I am," I explained. "And after reviewing my key characteristics, I know that I've long abandoned myself as a citizen to humanity. My Elemental Aura abilities, my proficiency in technology, my newly-unearthed draconic capabilities… All of these put me leagues beyond humanity. Everything that I'm capable of, humanity is unable to perform, and most likely never will."

"Okay…" Costas droned at my words, making sense of them.

"What if Lucario sees you as hostile?" Ian inquired me, thinking of branching possibilities that might occur when Lucario and I meet. "What if it chooses to attack you?"

"I'll fight back if I must, but merely out of defense."

"What if it's stronger than you?" Costas speculated. "What if it…kills you?" Costas almost shuddered at the thought of my death.

Once again, I smiled. Only this time, I chuckled to myself briefly. "I should've died already a few times over during my life. I should've been dead when I first manufactured the S1-GS device, when the black hole nearly assimilated the three of us. I should've been dead during that torture session that the Romans put us through, when they whipped away most of the skin off of my back. I should've been dead when I first obtained my Elemental Aura abilities, when I was skewered by an artillery round. I should've been dead when I—"

"Okay! We get it!" Costas shouted out of annoyance. "You're starting to sound like a broken track record."

"How will you find Xeno?" Ian questioned me again. "For all we know, it could be anywhere on this planet."

I smile again and said "I have my ways" before patting my hand on my chest—or to be more precise, my set of twenty-six S3-OSS devices.

"When you have wisdom that another person knows that he needs, you give it freely. But when the other person doesn't yet know that he needs your wisdom, you keep it to yourself." —Orson Scott Card (396) ("Xenocide")

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.