The Path of the Aura: Intertwining Crossroads

Prologue (Part II (2)): The GSS (Grand Storage Sphere)

Three years later…

It has been three painfully-long years since three teenagers—Costas, Ian, and I—lost their parents. The mental and emotional scars of our minds are still mending and healing, but they haven't fully recovered, and for one primary reason: We haven't encountered the Roman General responsible for their deaths.

Mercury remains at large, in the little black book within my erudite mind.

All three of us still mourn for them, albeit in different ways. Costas and Ian still cry on the day that both of them are supposed to arrive in—if they're still alive today.

As for me, I merely think of them, except I can't seem to cry. I am capable of crying mind you, and my tear ducts aren't damaged, removed or shriveled from lack of use. I just don't seem to cry about this matter, and my parent's death does matter to me.

I just can't put my finger on this odd phenomenon of mine.


Date: May 2nd, 49 A.D.

Time: 2:39 AM (Night)

Eduardo's Age: 16 years, 3 months, and 29 days old

Costas's Age: 16 years, 6 months old

Ian's Age: 16 years, 6 months old

I was present within my laboratory tonight, currently working in the middle of developing one of my greatest inventions yet. An invention so complicated, so painstakingly difficult to create that only I was close to capable of manufacturing it.

And in reality, I am close to capable of making it.

What the device that I'm currently creating requires is something I've never attempted to form: a black hole.

I've spent approximately a total of six months, as of today, on the invention. Through trial and considerable error, I attempted to form a black hole. I was having such difficulty forming what was needed to create one—an object of such immense mass that it would collapse onto itself and tear a rift in the air it exists in.

However, after many sleepless nights—and even more failed ideas, concepts, and attempts later—, I believe I've found the solution to this arduous task, and I literally couldn't wait until morning to put it into action.


Location: My Laboratory (Testing Room)

All three of us were in the Testing Room of my laboratory. It was a room similar in dimensions as that of a school auditorium. However, unlike a school auditorium, this room didn't have chairs with an eager audience or a stage where the trained performers entertain. The only thing this room had were the lights on the ceiling, the clear white paint job on all six sides, and the protective testing balcony connected to both the ceiling and a side wall.

However, on this day—May 2nd, 49 A.D.—, all three of us were in that bulwark of a protective cage, staring downward at a peculiar machine. This machine of my creation consisted of three main segments: a center cabinet-like container and two electricity generators on its sides, capable of fully emulating the multi-million-volt charges that a thunderclap possesses and maintaining that charge for as long as necessary. The generators connected to the cabinet-like structure via extremely high-voltage wires.

Within the cabinet-like structure, two hidden storage ports reside above and below the inner structure. A thick pane of bullet-proof glass was the only window on that center segment. Through that window, only a round spherical rock, equal in size to a ping-pong ball, remained suspended in the center via anti-gravitation—an absolute necessity for this experiment.

"Why are we in this cage again?" Ian complained in a groaning, fatigued tone.

"I've already told you, Ian. I think I've got a successful solution this time," I said with hope.

"You've said that 159 times already…" Costas was sitting on the ground, tired and bored. "…And in all of those times, the end result has ended in failure, and it's always been that way for the past six months."

"And as of now, I've said that 160 times." I stared at the machine that was lying there in the center of this room, hoping that it will work today. "But this time, and unlike the other 159 failed attempts, I know for sure that it'll work."

"Uh-huh, sure…" Ian said with cynicism, resisting the urge to close his eyes and shake his head in a slow, dubious manner.

From the left pocket of my blue jeans—I created clothing as well and not just technological devices—I pulled out a remote controller, one which only serves two main purposes: generating a black hole and containing it. I grinned with the feeling that this time, I'll be right and successful…and they'll be wrong.

With one push of the button on the remote control, the machine began to charge power from the electric generators adjacent to it. The crackling of electricity immediately filled the Testing Room. To the relief of my sensitive ears, the balcony that we resided in was somewhat sound resistant.

Costas tapped Ian's shoulder, wanting to attract his attention and his alone.

"What is it?" Ian sat down beside Costas and leaned his head in closer to listen better.

"I'll bet you my short sword replica that his experiment will fail."

"His experiment will unanimously fail, like it has the other 159 times," Ian looked at me, making sure that I wasn't looking back at them. "I'll bet you my bow replica if it fails, and then explodes catastrophically." He extended out his right hand, prepping himself to seal the deal.

"It's a deal," Costas shook his hand with a smile.

I formed a serious countenance on my face, and then faced my adopted brothers. "Have you both forgotten that my sense of hearing is borderline superhuman and I can hear whatever you're whispering?" I said in frustration.

They didn't seem to care that I was pay attention to their conversation.

I received their silence as an insult to my work. My frustration climbed up a bit more, causing me to shout a little. "Okay then! How about this:" I paused for a brief moment before continuing with this cliché: if you can't beat them, join them. "I'll bet my custom spears of mine against your short sword," I pointed at Costas, then to Ian, "and your bow!"

I breathed one full breath and calmed down minutely.

"If my experiment fails (and it won't this time…), then you'll each get one of my custom spears." I concluded by lifting one finger before crossing my arms behind my torso.

Now I had their attention. I could tell because they both turned their heads to face me and nodded in agreement.

I nodded back, still maintaining a serious facial appearance, and then I re-faced the machine. "(They've already lost this bet…)" I thought.

Once the machine had enough electricity charged up, I pressed one button in the center of my remote control. One second passed, and the inside of the cabinet-like structure of the machine flashed brilliantly with the light of millions of volts. The lightning was consistent, and bathed the spherical rock in massive amounts of electricity.

This was the point, because the electricity would continue to multiply the weight of the targeted object to near-infinity. Once the weight exceeded what the surrounding field of space would support, a black hole will form.

Costas and Ian were watching what was occurring, but were becoming bored with the tediousness of waiting.

"What are you trying to do this time?" Ian got up and told me.

"For starters: A new tactic," I said concisely.

"He knows that, you know that, I know that…" Costas got up as well and stretched his fatigued muscles a bit. "We all know that it's something n—"

"If you want me to be less vague, you could've simply said so." I interrupted him, growing tired of their lack of confidence in me.

"…Fine…" He responded back mildly spitefully.

"Anyway…what I'm trying to do this time to form a black hole is to—"

"Zap that rock with electricity?" Ian interrupted me, thinking that he was right with his guess.

"Well…yes. But there's more to it with the electricity," I told him. "What the electricity is actually doing is energizing a specific material that changes weight in terms of power injected within it, thus gradually increasing the rock's atomic mass."

"Which means…?" He attempted to hide the fact that he didn't know what I just said.

"The rock's molecular structure and density is rising."

"…" He took a few seconds to fully understand what I was doing. "So what you're doing is increasing the overall weight of that stone by zapping it with lightning?"

Without looking back, I simply nodded.

"So… How much more do you want that stone to weigh?" Costas began another conversation.

I gave a brief glimpse to my machine, knowing that something is happening, despite the somewhat believable façade that nothing is going on. "It'll take as much as it takes to cause it to collapse under its own weight and materialize a black hole."

"And how much does that rock have to weigh to produce one?"

"Hmm…" I gave one brief glimpse to the LCD screen on my remote control. That screen revealed the weight of the rock to me at this current moment. As of now, that rounded stone weighs hundreds of millions of tons, and it's exponentially gaining weight for every second that goes by.

(To put this into perspective, one spoonful of neutron star material weighs about one billion tons under Earth's gravity.)

"As of now, it's over hundreds of millions of tons. And by my calculations, if I want it to produce a black hole, I need it to weigh about…" I paused to calculate the approximate weight that the rock needs to be at to collapse. "…tens of billions of tons."

"…Wow…" Both of them muttered in disbelief.

"We should be able to see a black hole form within minutes," I said with hope.

Once I said that, both of my brothers gave each other one brief glimpse and formed a worried face, for they were beginning to doubt themselves and thought that they'll lose their bet to me.

As the seconds went by and the LCD screen continued to measure higher and higher increases in weight, I was beginning to tap my feet rhythmically in tedious impetuosity.

A drop of nervous sweat rolled down my right cheek. I was feeling unsure of what'll happen once the rift in space forms. Why? Because from what I've learned about black holes in my dreams, they had this immense gravitational pull that was so powerful that it can even pull in light. Alongside this ominous fact, there were super-massive black holes in the cosmos, one residing within the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

However, from my dreams, I've learned the solution as to how to contain a black hole, the key ingredient in the exterior structure of my new invention.

The LCD screen read "1,000,000,000" in terms of weight and was growing fast.

I knew there was no turning back now. A black hole would form, and I would need to brace myself.

Once the LCD screen on my remote control read over tens of billions of tons, the round rock suspended by an anti gravity device instantly disappeared within itself, leaving nothing of itself behind. An eerie sound of sucking noodles was audible, or perhaps it was merely a figment of my imagination.

Just as I was about to have another thought about how my 160th attempt at creating a black hole failed, the black hole that I wanted to create actually began to form.

A dip in the field of reality that was once that rock formed and began to spin around in a clockwise direction. The lightning within the container began to swirl around the black hole before it became assimilated, the gravitational force being great enough to bend lightning and have it spiral. The black hole appeared to maintain a stable, small appearance that stayed within the confines of its vending machine.

"…" I was rendered absolutely speechless at this extraterrestrial occurrence.

"…I don't believe it…" Ian couldn't take his eyes off of the sight that people wouldn't ever be able to see until the late 20th century—and only though falsifications from computer animations.

"…Neither can I…" Costas's eyes were firmly glued to this celestial sight.

"…I…I can't believe it…" I fought against my speechlessness. "…My 160th attempt…is successful…"

For a moment, the only feeling that I felt across my body was that of accomplishment. I couldn't feel my legs, I couldn't feel my arms, and I couldn't feel anything else physically. All I could hear was my heartbeat in my ears, my breathing, and the creaking of our protective bulwark.

Creaking?

Before I could proceed with my next step for my invention, I heard and saw the reinforced glass on my machine shatter, and then I saw shards of glass swirl around the black hole before being swallowed whole by its overwhelming gravitational pull. The cabinet-like structure and electric generators weren't assimilated however. They simply remained stable, the generators turning off automatically when their electricity was no longer needed.

"Uh-oh… This can't be—"

Before I could finish my sentence, the entire front wall and the entire floor of our constructed bulwark fell apart. Afterwards, it was instantly stretched under the gravitational pull, and then it was devoured whole by the black hole.

As for the three of us, practically out of reflex, we grabbed onto something as an attempt to not get sucked into the rift in this room. Without even realizing it until after a few seconds of near-horizontal "falling", I was holding onto Costas's left ankle with my left hand and holding on to the remote control with my right hand. Costas himself was hanging onto Ian's right ankle with both hands and Ian was hanging onto the handle of the only entrance to the bulwark-like cage: the door.

Fortunately, for all of us, the door's handle was one of those long ones that stretched across the door's surface, and is simple to grip onto with both hands.

"How did we get ourselves into this mess?" Ian shouted rhetorically over the gust of wind that the black hole was creating with its gravity.

"How should I know?" Costas did the same, only in a more frustrated tone, because he knew the answer to his question: me. "Ask the guy who isn't holding onto you for dear life!"

"He doesn't need to!" I shouted to Costas. "The solution to our problems…!" I smirked before lifting the remote control that I still had on my right hand, finding the gravitational pull impressive because I struggled to lift it. "…They are solved with the push of a button on my remote—"

A piece of paneling on the wall peeled off, and then it flew towards the black hole, but not before it collided with the remote control in my hand, and then they were both stretched out and swirled into the black hole.

"…control?" I muttered feebly, no longer holding the only tool in my arsenal that could save us.

Both brothers were beside themselves with a mixture of anger and apprehension, because they think that I've doomed us all.

"You've doomed us all, Eduardo!" Ian shouted and struggled to keep his gradually decreasing grip on the door handle.

"We're dead! We're all freaking dead!" Costas shouted to me and actually attempted to shake me off of his foot in frustration, but I wasn't changed in the least.

"We're too young to die now!" Ian panicked as both of his pinky fingers detached themselves from the door handle.

"We're only sixteen years old!"

I wasn't screaming or doing anything they were doing in anyway whatsoever. It was as if I was acting in the exact opposite manner that my brothers are acting. And instead of wasting my time—or my voice—screaming to the wind, I was staring at the ominous black hole and was quickly thinking of a way to reach the remote control.

"(If I remember perfectly from my dreams, black holes don't destroy objects despite the fact that they make them stretch to seemingly impossible proportions, they only carry them through it and to a new dimension, a place with infinite room for storage. My primary reason in manufacturing this black hole is…)"

I searched through my back pocket for a tool that would help me contain that dangerous and helpful rift.

"(…to have a tool that has no limit in storage space.)"

I found that tool and pulled it out. Upon closer examination, the tool was a hexagonal prism-like wooden stick with an orange coat of paint, "#2" on the side, a sharp front end with a graphite cylindrical core, and a pink, rubber-like substance on the other end that attached to the overall stick via a metal coil.

To put it simply, I was holding a #2 pencil to my notepad on my other back pocket.

"What are you going to do with that pencil?" They both shouted to me when they noticed what I was doing.

I didn't answer to them at all, for I'd rather demonstrate an action than describe it verbally.

I gripped the pencil as if it were a dart, lined it up to the center of the black hole, and with one quick jerk of my arm, I flung the pencil with incredible precision. The pencil flew straight through the center of the black hole, minimizing spiraling via gravitational interference, which would've easily ruined its accuracy.

Once inside, the pencil navigated its way through total darkness and it somehow found its way to the remote control. It was almost as though the lit LCD screen on the remote control lured the #2 pencil towards it. Without fail or a second attempt, the pencil struck the button on the remote control that I wanted it to.

The instant that both hidden hatches on the top and bottom ends of the cabinet-like structure opened, I knew I was successful with my fluke of marksmanship.

I made one small, yet proud smirk on my face. "(Perfect…)" I thought.

Both hatches exposed two five-fingered claws, with each of them gripping onto two hemispheres of a whole sphere. Both halves had internal mirrors, fused with sophisticated circuitry that was designed for one purpose: to contain and preserve the black hole.

The top half of the hemisphere was painted a metallic gold color, possessing the letters 'GS' above a button on its center. The bottom hemisphere was painted a metallic silver color and had a shaved off circular area on its edge for where the button on the top hemisphere goes. As for its composition, both halves were made of the metals that they were painted based on, but they had more to their composition than that, as well as the high-tech circuitry-imbued mirrors inside them.

Far more…

In a matter of seconds, both halves were fused together. I could tell because I saw a flash of light shine off all around the edges of the orb, leaving a black "ring" all around it and around the button on its center. With the final step in the machine's programming complete, both claws retracted back and the compartments that kept them hidden closed so fast that the black-hole-containing orb fell to the closed lower base, the anti-gravitational technology shutting off immediately.

All three of us were in disbelief and rendered speechless. Also we were still hanging horizontally, and so when the black hole was contained…

CRASH!

…we fell fifteen feet down to the floor.

We were shockingly all free of lasting injury, despite the fall. In an instant, I got back up on my feet, ignoring the stiff, bruised, and sore feeling I had after falling from this height and hobbled away from my groaning brothers, towards my orb of black, gold and silver. I picked it up off of its perch and stared at it dead center, right between the 'G' and 'S' letters.

"…My first 'S-Rank' invention…" I smiled and let one tear of joy roll down my left cheek. "…My first…of a new series." I stood still and continued to gaze at the lustrous orb, admiring its beauty, as well as potential. It felt metallically smooth to the touch, and seemed to have a mild gravitational field on it—likely from the black hole contained within it.

After saying those words that came from my mouth and my mouth alone, both brothers of mine weakly, yet willfully got themselves back up on their feet, and then they rubbed the areas on their bodies inflicted with moderate injury in an effort to help diminish the pain.

"(*Groan*) I think I landed on my arm…" Ian groaned and clutched his left arm as if he had a gunshot wound on it. He was lucky to find out that it wasn't broken, but terribly sore.

"You have it lucky, Ian…" Costas moaned and clutched his head. "I landed on my head…again!" He rubbed the crown of his head, considering himself lucky that his head hit the floor only after the rest of his body had taken most of the force.

They both turned their heads over to face me once they noticed where I was. They both were somewhat discombobulated at how statue-like still I was. Ian was the first to break free of his confused state of mind and spoke to me. "How about you, did you suffer anything from falling so high?"

"…" I was stuck in a trance by the roundness of the gold/silver sphere.

"Eduardo?" Ian attempted to obtain my attention once more.

"Huh? What?" I heard a voice from somewhere, which broke me from my trance, and then I scanned all around me, and found the source of the voices. "Oh, uh… Well…I only suffered a few bruises on my knees and arms. It's only minor." I said, revealing the resilient nature of my personality. I then showed them my newest invention and tossed it in the air a few times, getting a feel for its unusual lack of weight, despite the heavy items that it had assimilated earlier.

"I see…" Ian said concisely, but had a different say in his thoughts. "(Eduardo was always so resilient and steadfast.)"

"Why don't you give that new invention of yours a test? You should make sure that it works properly." Costas gave me a suggestion.

"You don't have to tell me twice," I told him with a smirk.

I turned the button on the orb's center upside down, aimed it away from us all, and pressed the button on it once to open it, exposing the black hole. Only, there was a difference with it. For starters, because I turned the button on the orb upside down, the black hole's polarity swapped. Its clockwise rotation became counter-clockwise. It became a white hole—a rift in space that expels matter.

In a few seconds, everything that the black hole devoured was instantly expelled with a forceful outward gale. I saw the wall paneling come out, glass shards from the black hole machine, my remote control, the remains of the balcony bulwark, and the expertly-tossed pencil used to contain the black hole. Once all of that was done, I closed the orb and set the button on its center back to how it once was, then I turned around to face my brothers.

Just as I thought, both of my brothers had their jaws agape in disbelief, and they couldn't close them. I walked over to them and closed their jaws myself as a selfless act of supporting others.

"Thanks," they said simultaneously.

"You're welcome," I said back.

Suddenly, Ian spoke upon realization of something about the orb and the machinery used to form the black hole. "Hey, how come when the black hole was assimilating everything around it, why couldn't it suck up that shell you put over it and the machinery used to create it?"

"…" I stared at the lights on the ceiling and thought of the words I should use to explain to them. "The machinery that was used to create the black hole," I gave a brief glimpse to my new invention, "as well as the shell on this storage device was built with a material that you get when you fuse all of the elements into one substance." I paused briefly to picture how the substance looks like normally. "For some reason, the substance's normal structure resembles that of metal with the smoothness of a diamond, but it easily exceeds a diamond's structure. It will not break, shatter, dent, collapse or even scratch. It won't be succumbed to heavy gravitational pull. It won't ever melt, freeze, decay, or rust to obliteration. It's everlasting." I finished describing it and held in the proud accomplishment feeling of creating something superior.

"Wow…" They both said in unison once more.

"Did you give that stuff a name?" Costas curiously inquired.

"Unfortunately, no," I admitted. "I just can't seem to find the proper name for it, at the moment."

"What about your new toy? Did you give a name to that?" Ian wondered.

"As a matter of fact, I did. Because it's the first of my 'S-Rank' inventions, I find it appropriate to christen it this: the S1-GS."

"…" Ian was a bit confused by my choice of name. "…And what does that mean?"

"Well, the 'S1' stands for the first of many 'S-Rank' inventions, and the 'GS' is an abbreviation for 'Grand Storage'."

"Can't you give your new toy a better-sounding name? Or at least can't you give it a nickname to use instead of its actual name?" Costas came in with words.

"You mean a nickname like…Grand Storage Sphere…or something?" I made it up off of the top of my head.

"…" He was processing the nickname I said and formed a grin. "That'll work."

"I agree," Ian said. "That nickname is perfect."

"Okay then. So as of today, this device will be identifiable by two names and two names only: S1-GS and Grand Storage Sphere," I said. "Agreed?"

"Agreed," They both said in unison.

Costas and Ian yawned with fatigue, because it's still a few hours after midnight.

"(*Yawn*) I'd better go get some sleep." Costas yawned and talked simultaneously.

Ian nodded as well, yawning soon after.

"I'm not," I said against their sayings. "I'm going to further improve this new toy of mine."

"Such as…?" Ian said.

"I had a few ideas prior to manufacturing it. I was planning on inserting a search feature, an inventory feature, and a holster to carry this Grand Storage Sphere in."

Ian understood what I wanted to do and said "Okay then, I'll see you in the morning" before walking to the Testing Room's exit.

"Likewise," Costas only said one word before following Ian out of this room.

However, before they left, I stopped them, because I remembered something important, and purposely held it at bay, seeing if they would remember or not.

"Hey, wait!"

They continued to walk despite my shout, and delayed their stop because they knew the reason that I wanted to stop them for: our bet.

"Yes?" They said in a stifled manner.

"I hope you two haven't forgotten about our bet now."

I heard them both groan, probably because they really didn't want to lose their weapon replicas. However, what they didn't know is that I never wanted them from the start, because I only made the bet to prove that I'll be successful, regardless of what was at stake.

"Because I've won the bet, you each get to…" I paused for a moment to raise their tension levels. "…keep one of my spears."

"Oh crap—what?" Costas said with confusion as to why I decided to let them each keep a spear replica of mine.

"…Why?" Ian said concisely and with his left eyebrow raised.

"You both have eternally showed interest in those custom spears I made because of how detailed they were in quality, as well as unique in terms of appearance. So I figured that I should give them to the both of you because you two have always been such good brothers of mine…despite your lack of faith in me over these last six months." I looked at the Grand Storage Sphere in hand. "Besides, because of this phenomenal piece of equipment, I'm feeling rather generous." I then looked back at both of my brothers, whom were clearly touched by my kindness. "Also, I can always make more of them anyway, but what would be the point? I never have the opportunity to use them."

"Thank you," they both said before leaving the Testing Room.

And just like that, I was left alone in my laboratory, with only my inventions around me, and that brought back a case of Déjà vu. "(Hmm, just like old times,)" I thought with a smile, and then that smile flipped upside-down, because I remembered how lonely working alone all day within the solitude of my laboratory was. "(Just like old times…)"


Location: My Laboratory (Tech Room)

Time: 7:32 AM (Morning)

The Tech Room resembled a classroom, only with a heavy amount of complicated technology within. There's nothing more to it.

After a few hours of non-stop work on improving the Grand Storage Sphere for my convenience, I completed all that I mentioned I would make. I added a voice-activated search feature—the Voice Command Program, or VCP for short—that'll only give access to Costas, Ian, and I. I can add more people to access it, but as of now, there aren't. To use it, you simply ask for the item desired, press the button on the center, and the requested item come out the instant the GSS is opened—if the GSS possesses the item, that is.

For the second of the three upgrades, I added an inventory feature so that I can view every item I have within the GSS—named the Inventory Program. To access it, you press the 'GS' letters in the center of the device, and then an interactive hologram emerges from the pressed button and illustrates the items in stock. The size of the hologram is adjustable.

The third upgrade is more of an accessory. As I stated earlier, it was a holster to carry the Grand Storage Sphere in, but it's different than other holsters—let's say, for example, a firearm holster—in the way that the area that holds the GSS in is perfectly round on the lower half, with a highly resilient net for cradling the device from its lower hemisphere and a flap that holds the upper half in place. The holster had an upside-down "Y" shape, surrounded by netting, with a hole in the center for the button on the GSS to not be pressed.

The sash that accompanies the holster is utilized to carry the device without the use of your hands or pockets. How I'd personally wear this holster is with the sash stretching from my left shoulder to the right side of my right hip, with the GSS to my right side there and with quick access to it with my right hand.

To conclude, there are two extra, built-in, magnet-utilizing straps—made of an extremely stretchy and resilient synthetic material, containing traces of the same everlasting material—that, when exposed and utilized, can allow you to add both a belt and a thigh strap that go along with the shoulder strap, for further security. Overall, the color of this accessory—the sash-like shoulder strap and holster combo—is black and white, for simplicity.

Both tech-related upgrades were uploaded onto the complicated circuitry that houses and maintains the black hole. They were currently being fine-tuned, so as to make sure that they were working well and exactly as I want them to.

And while I was examining them, I thought up of two more programs that I need to add to the GSS. Those two programs are programs that'll allow plants and animals to survive in the Grand Storage Sphere.

Once I was done calibrating the upgrades that I uploaded, I began the conception of two programs that'll ensure the survival of plant and animal organisms. The Animal's Survival Program and Plant's Survival Program—ASP and PSP for short. I knew for sure that the PSP would be easier for me to work on and manufacture because of how much more simple plants are in terms of genetics and cellular structure, compared to that of most animals. Also, because of the Berries that I experimented with, I could use an efficient method of housing and/or transporting them.

As for the ASP, that program I knew for sure will require more time and complexity in order to work perfectly, due to the different necessities of varying animals and separate species.

To start, I went to work with the Plant's Survival Program. I used the DNA of one of the sixty-four Berries that I created—the Starf Berry—and ran multiple simulations to see how it would suffice within the device, tweaking it when needed. Within a few hours, I made excellent progress.

I chose to stop working on the program for one reason and one reason only.

I was hungry. I haven't eaten anything since the afternoon of yesterday.

I checked the time from a nearby clock. It read "9:38 AM".

Deciding that now was the time to have breakfast, I made one long yawn, left the Grand Storage Sphere on the table with the holster/shoulder strap it was cradled in, the PSP program prototype, and removed my presence from the room, staggering slowly up and out of my underground laboratory.


Location: My House (Kitchen)

Time: 9:40 AM

The instant that I came out of the hidden door of my laboratory, I walked towards the kitchen of my house, and was instantly greeted by Costas and Ian there.

"You've finally decided to come out of your laboratory, right?" Ian said with a content tone of voice. He was currently cooking breakfast for all three of us.

"I guess so." I said with a mild yawn and uncooperative eyes.

"You look tired," Costas said, noticing the shadowed areas below my eyes. He was sitting on a chair next to the table, waiting for his breakfast as if he was a customer at a diner. "Did you spend the remainder of the night working on that Grand Storage Sphere of yours?"

"(*Yawn*) Uh-huh…" I said during the middle of my yawn.

"Maybe a little breakfast will help you wake up," Ian finished cooking the breakfast and placed three plates of food on the table before sitting down on another chair.

The plates had two eggs made in sunny-side-up fashion, a few slices of bacon, and a unique type of bite-size bread—Poffin, as I began to call it—that incorporates whichever of the sixty-four Berries I created as ingredients.

As for the beverage of choice: fresh-squeezed, pulp-free juice, made from Lum Berries and Watmel Berries—for immense nutrition and sweet flavor. This concoction of juice was a favorite of my brothers, and was of my liking.

I could hear my stomach talk to me, saying "Plant your ass on a chair and eat already! Don't let me starve!" in the form of a growl.

"Well, I haven't eaten anything since yesterday afternoon." I said before tugging the third chair away from the table before sitting down on it. "Alright then," I said as I picked up a fork and began to devour pieces of the eggs somewhat automatically, partially tasting it.

We all began to eat amongst ourselves for about two minutes, until Costas broke the silence with a conversation.

"Eduardo. That Grand Storage Sphere of yours…" Costas had finished eating his eggs and grabbed a piece of bacon. "…Were you successful with adding those upgrades you talked about?"

"Yeah, I was." I had already finished eating both of the eggs and all three strips of bacon, rather quickly. Now, I grabbed the Poffin, but I decided to not eat it because of the color of the bread, as well as the burning sensation that my fingertips had upon holding it.

This sensation, I knew for sure, came from that of a Spelon Berry, an oddity of a Berry that's extremely spicy to the taste and scorching to the touch. Whosoever is daring or unfortunate enough to eat it will literally make like a dragon and spew fire from their mouth.

Ian must've made this ludicrously spicy Poffin on purpose to awaken me through shock. I suspected this when he made a face of disappointment when I chose not to eat it. So, instead of eating it, I just decided to place it back on the plate. "If one of you decides to use the GSS—and I strongly suspect that you'll both want to—, you'll notice a large, bright and palpable hologram display that gives you full access to its inventory, if you press onto the 'GS' buttons. You'll also be able to command it verbally to give you the item of your choosing. Only the three of us have this type of access." I told them what the new programs could do.

"What about that 'holster' for it? Did you make that too?" Ian wondered and then grabbed the glass of Lum and Watmel Berry juice, but decided to not drink it yet. He had also already finished half of all three types of foods on his plate.

"The strap for it was already there, so the only thing I had to make was the custom round bag that has a durable metal skeleton in it for rigidity. And the metal that I used was from a slightly larger shell duplicate that I intended to use to contain the black hole, but decided to use a slightly smaller size."

"Interesting…" Ian said only one word before taking a sip from the cup.

"If you think that's interesting, wait until you hear this:" I drank about a third of the juice from the cup, taking a feel for the deliciously healthy flavor that I was consuming. "I'm working on a program that'll allow any kind of plant to survive and thrive inside the Grand Storage Sphere." I gave a significantly long look at the Poffin I was rolling around on my plate, which helped me remember that the Berry that gave this bread flavor grew from a plant. "Once I upload the program into the hardware of the GSS, I'll be able to store perfectly thriving and growing Berry plants and always have a fresh supply of fruit as often as we want and wherever we decide to go."

Costas gave a light whistle of astonishment and then devoured the last piece of bacon in one bite.

"And I'm also working on another program that'll allow animals to thrive in it."

I then stopped playing with my Poffin because of one reason.

"However…," I made a very serious tone and face, and I was staring at the Spelon Berry Poffin. "…I'll seldom use that program, because I'd rather avoid storing live animals, especially if it's against their will."

My odd choice of action left both of my brothers somewhat confused.

Still staring at the Spelon Berry Poffin, I continued. "…Then again, depending on the conditions, I might use the GSS on animal life for whatever assistance that I can provide."

They continued to finish their meal completely…and in verbal silence. I continued to finish my meal alongside them.

"(And I thought that black hole was deep…)" Ian gave my decision a mental compliment before finishing the rest of his food and juice.

"(Hmm…)" Costas thought about my choice of decision and whether it was a good choice to make or not. "(Meh… It's your GSS. Use it wisely.)" He respected the decision I made and finished the remainder of his breakfast, drink and all.

"(I'll still create the program, just in case.)" I drank the remainder of the juice, and held the Poffin in my hand, not being sure what to decide to do with it.

Once we were all done with every single bit of our breakfast, excluding the Spelon Berry Poffin that I was holding on to, I took all three of the plates, leaving the Poffin behind on the table. Costas took all three of the cups to the sink I made, complete with a working pipe and a water tank that runs to my underground laboratory. We gave them a brief, but thorough wash with soap and water, and then we left them on a tray that was nearby a glassless window which was letting in strong sunlight, despite the fact that it was only 9:53 AM. The sunlight was all that was needed to evaporate the water away and leave the plates as dry as the rest of the village around here.

We turned back to our table and we sat back down on our respective seats. However, just as we were about to restart our conversation, we heard knocking on the door.

From what I heard, I was able to pinpoint five knocks, and a very faint sound of metal clanking across each other. Based on the two types of sound that I've heard alone, I could tell that someone whom was wearing metal was knocking on the door. My two friends simply knew the fact that there was knocking on the door.

"I wonder who's at the door," Ian wondered.

"We never get visitors, not even from our neighbors," I said with a worried face. "Whatever this is, it can't be good."

Once again the enigmatic visitor knocked five more times at the door, only with a bit more force, probably due to impatience.

"Who should go and open the door?" Costas said, hoping someone besides him goes.

I remembered the remaining Poffin on the table and retrieved it. As I held the Poffin, I said to my brothers "If events go astray, I'll give us some time with this Poffin." They agreed with me, and stepped aside. I turned back to the door, only with a firm countenance.

As I slowly approached the door due to cautious curiosity and mild fear, knowing for sure that someone with metal was behind, I said without much thought into it "Who is it?" in a curious, yet serious tone.

As a reply, the unknown visitor knocked five more times, and with a greater, more demanding force.

Not letting those demanding knocks on the door cause me to fear anymore than I should, I hid the Poffin behind my back with my left hand and I reached out to the door's handle, grasped it with my right hand, gave it one quarter turn clockwise, and quickly jerked the door open. What I heard earlier was true to my suspicions, but there was more to this. Instead of one person in metal clothing, there were three. Also, they weren't ordinary visitors; they three were armed Roman soldiers.

Each soldier had on a red wool tunic that appeared to be a combination of a short-sleeve shirt that stretched to their elbows, a scarf that covered the neck, and a skirt that stopped just below the knees. They each had on a durable metal helmet that wrapped across their cheeks and was strapped to their chins, and they had on body armor that covered and bulwarked their entire torso, shoulders, and groin; all silver in color. They had on brown, well-made sandals that wrapped above their ankles and were heavily surrounding their feet.

However, I didn't pay attention to their clothing. I was paying much more attention to the weaponry they each had. I had a strong suspicion that anyone who carries weapons on them is willing to use it when needed.

All three of them each had three offensive types of weaponry and only one of them had a defensive type of weaponry—that soldier was the one in charge at the moment. They each had on them a short sword with a yellow handle that was strapped to their right side in the same manner as how I would strap the GSS onto me. Strapped to their left side was a dagger with a brown handle. Brandished on their right hands were terrifyingly long javelins that were longer than they were tall. Wielded in the left hand of only one of the Roman soldiers was a rectangular and curved, gigantic red shield with a decorative pattern on its surface.

I was a bit anxious after seeing their weaponry. "Can I help you three?" I said in a somewhat feeble tone, hoping that I'll get some sort of answer to their purpose in being here.

They were silent and immediately stepped inside of my home, shoving me away, completely ignoring my presence.

"What the hell is your problem?" I barked at them, disliking their rudeness. I completely forgot that they had weapons to use on me to silence me.

Still, they didn't say a word. All they were doing was staring at the entire home and checking every square inch of it, as if they were looking for someone.

…Or looking for something specific.

"(What do these degenerates want here?)" I thought with much disrespect over their kind. I was still concealing the Spelon Berry Poffin behind my back.

Remember this: A Roman General by the name of Mercury killed my parents and bragged about doing so in a letter that I received a few years ago.

"(What are they doing?)" Costas pondered while watching the Roman soldiers search my home for something.

"(Are they…looking for something?)" Ian thought while watching their every action. "(And if so, what are they looking for?)"

"What are you Roman degenerates doing in my house?" I boomed because I couldn't stand their presence.

Finally, I got their leader's attention because he stopped searching and approached me. As he was doing so, I was feeling more hate and fury than fear and regret over my choice of action. I had a brief, but feeble thought of him impaling me with his sword, but I wasn't afraid enough to submit to intimidation and wipe off the rage-filled expression on my face. I was ready to fight if I had to, and I do have the technology to defend myself and my brothers with.

The soldier with the shield stopped five feet within my field of existence and stared at me continuously, with no abnormal facial expression. I felt as if he was saying "Don't mess with me kid, because I can impale you mercilessly" merely with body language.

"(What a strange kid…,)" He thought. "(His clothing, his attitude, his modicum of common sense and fear to my appearance and my potential… What an oddity…)"

"I will say this only once more," I lifted my right arm and pointed one single finger to his face. "And your ears had better be tuned to what I have to say next:" I gulped in one full breath of air, preparing to assert myself with a loud voice. "Why are you in my house?"

"Where is it?" He completely ignored my speech once more, as if he was acting in a frivolous manner to me.

I could've sworn an anger-filled vein protruded from my right temple, but I remained strong and had my emotions under enough control, but not completely. I brought my right arm down and my hand coiled into a fist. "Are you changing the—" I was silenced instantly when that soldier with the shield unsheathed his dagger with great speed and had the point of it aimed at the Adam's apple on my neck.

Both Costas and Ian raised their guard. They didn't like these people either, albeit not as much as I.

"Where is it?" He was too focused on his goal, whatever it may be.

I wasn't fully afraid of his weapon against my neck. I was too enraged at them to cringe. "What are you talking about?" I said with only one moment of looking at the weapon ominously held towards my neck.

"Where is it?" he shouted with an unusually stable tone.

"(God damn it! Just say what you're looking for!) Where's what!" I expected an answer this time, and that's exactly what I got.

"Where is that storage device of yours?"

All of us (Costas, Ian and I) could've sworn a warning alarm went off inside of our heads. My heart seemed to skip a beat and felt temporarily out of place from its normal location. How could these three Romans know about my S1-GS device, when only Costas, Ian, and I know of its existence?

"…" I was abruptly silenced in both speech and thought and I could have sworn my palms were drenched with stress. If they were, I held the Spelon Berry Poffin with the tips of two of my digits, so as to not soil it with sweat.

"…" Costas and Ian were just as shocked as I was.

"Where is it?" That same soldier shouted once more and gave me a surprisingly gentle poke to the throat, which only poked at the thin layer of upper skin. "We received Intel that the device is under your possession, kid. You would be wise to cooperate, if you value your life."

I felt like I was bleeding mildly on my neck. I placed my left hand on my neck to see if it would stain with blood. When I retracted my left hand from my neck and looked at my palm, there was a very small amount of blood on it, but nothing major. That modicum of blood was enough to bring me back to my senses, and because I was back to my senses, I instantly remembered the method of defense that I was going to use. "Fine, I'll cooperate. But let me finish my food first." I said, and then I took the Spelon Berry Poffin in my left hand and ate it whole—because they're bite-sized—not feeling the full effects of it yet because there's a small delay with it.

"What the hell is that?" He was very confused with my choice of action, but a whole lot more with the kind of food that I had, because Poffin just as exclusive to the three of us as the S1-GS device.

I was smiling because I mentally pictured these soldiers burning alive. "This food…" I began to feel the burning feeling in my mouth and actual smoke began to fume its way out of my nose. My face also began to glow red with heat as well.

This made the soldier step back a bit, sheath his weapon, and grip his oversized shield instinctively. "(What in the…?)"

"…is your cue…" I stepped back a bit as well, making sure all of the conditions for the act of incineration are perfect.

Costas and Ian stepped back as well to avoid backfire, they knew as well as I do how volatile a Spelon Berry is once it's eaten.

"…to stop, drop and roll!"

Immediately, I emulated a dragon and fired a powerful continuous flamethrower at the hostile soldier. However, his shield was just brought up in time to bulwark himself against the powerful fire attack. The fire bounced off of the shield and coincidentally kept the other two soldiers at bay. The fire proved useless in catching the house on fire, especially because it was made of stone.

After about five seconds of continuous fire, which seemed incapable at burning my mouth from the inside, I finally stopped, completely exhausted of firepower. "…Now's our chance!" I shouted, with clouds of smoke puffing out with each word that I said.

As if we were on steroids, all three of us ran to our room and down the secret hatch to my laboratory, completely abandoning the three soldiers in our wake.

The victim of the fire escaped with only the hair on his left arm singed off. However, his shield wasn't so lucky—which was painfully obvious since it received the full heat of the Spelon Berry fire. The shield was still on fire and was burning away into ash, despite the fact that it was metallic.

With a frustrated grunt, the soldier tossed the shield out of the door, before it burned away into nothingness. "(Son of a bitch! He burned my shield!)" He then unsheathed his sword and his two other soldiers did the same. "Get that little bastard and his infinite storage device!" He shouted and they all went to our room.

To their surprise, we weren't there when they arrived. Unfortunately, they weren't the kind of people to just give up and accept defeat. After all they were soldiers, expected to be persistent and martially potent. They suspected that we three took a secret entrance, and they were looking for that very same secret entrance.

After a few minutes of anger-fueled searching, the soldier whose shield is now ash found a small metal gap in the sand below and put his free hand in it and pulled the gap towards his direction, almost falling over when he discovered how easily the door opened. "There in here!" he alerted the other two soldiers to the entrance. "You two go after his friends. I'll deal with that boy myself."

Without a complaint, both soldiers unsheathed their swords and did as he commanded. They went on ahead, while the commanding soldier paused for a moment to think.

"I'm going to enjoy rending that kid to a bloody carcass."

He followed close behind the others.


Location: My Laboratory (Armory Room)

Time: 10:02 AM

All three of us caught our breath once we ran to our preferred destination: the Armory Room. Within this room's walls, there resides dozens of bladed weaponry, unique weaponry, explosive weaponry, and ranged weaponry. All of these weapons ranged from a time period of a thousand years before today to the 21st century.

As much as I wanted to use the guns to successfully end those three's lives with ease, I couldn't do that for three reasons. Disappointingly, the machine that creates bullets and gunpowder is currently out of service and requires about an hour's work to repair. Currently, there aren't any bullets to utilize. And when using a gun, there's a huge lack of overall skill that makes killing someone somewhat unsatisfying.

I wanted to kill them with greater satisfaction in myself.

"Ian (*Pant*) (*Pant*)…" I managed to speak while catching my breath.

"(*Pant*) Yeah...?"

"Thank you for (*Pant*)… baking that Spelon Berry Poffin." I put my right hand on his left shoulder as a congratulatory form of body language. "It gave us a chance (*Pant*)… to escape."

"(*Pant*)… Don't mention it," He smiled.

We caught our breath after a minute of simultaneous hyperventilating. Then, we heard very faint, but noticeable approaching footsteps.

"They're here!" Costas said in a dreaded sing-song voice.

"Then we have no choice but to fight!" Ian instantly went for the four-foot-long bow and quiver that came with it. He loaded thirty barbed arrows inside it.

The bow that he chose was easily different than other bows. For starters, this bow was an extremely high-tech, modified bow that was capable of separating from each other from the center. The firing string on it is actually hyper-condensed electricity, capable of appearing and disappearing whether the bow was connected or separated. The bow has two modes: bow mode and twin-sword mode, the blades of which are bent in a thirty degree angle, so as to form the proper shape of the bow. It is also capable of firing two arrows simultaneously, or in tandem, from each side with ease. This is a sophisticated bow for the proficient archer.

"I've wanted to use this in an actual fight for so long," he muttered to himself when strapping the quiver on his back, but we could hear him anyway.

"If we have to fight, then…" Costas searched the weapon options around him and had his eyes eventually set on the two five-foot-long tridents that both had a sharp back end and a barbed spearhead that is shaped like the letter E on its back. "…then I call those two spears." He went and grabbed them, one on each hand, then twirled them around himself with great skill.

"(*Sigh*)…" I gave a sigh because my martial reluctance in combat was always higher than both Costas and Ian. And the reason was this: I disliked fighting anyone I would consider or I have considered being a loved one. However, my abilities in combat were extraordinarily proficient and my abilities with the weaponry around me were equally dexterous and I would be stalwart with whatever I chose, because my trademark assets are versatility and considerable unpredictability.

To make things bend in my favor, I wasn't fighting someone that I would consider being a loved one. I was fighting an enemy, an enemy that is part of a civilization that I heavily loathed for killing my parents. With this in mind, I went to get the custom spear and dual-bladed broadsword that I manufactured.

The seven-foot-long custom spear that I obtained had a five-pointed prong head on it that was bent towards the center point, and it had a three-point prong end on it that also was drawn to the center point, similar to Costas's spearhead, but more to the center, and heavily barbed. The sword was like an ordinary sword, but with the center line on it removed, so that it has the appearance of two closely-connected, halved weapons, allowing for two impalements instead of one, for double the infiltration with each thrust of the sword.

"(Thank God I'll be fighting Romans,)" I thought while quickly twirling the custom spear—the Penta-dent, as I've named it—on my right hand before strapping the sword's sheath, with the exotic sword in it, onto my right side simultaneously, and then I forcefully planted the spear on the ground, piercing the floor on the ground a good inch when doing so.

"To defeat them quickly, do you think it would be best if we divide and conquer?" Ian suggested while loading his bow-blade with two arrows from the quiver on his back.

"I wouldn't ask for it in any other way," Costas grinned.

"I'll fight the soldier who used to have that shield," I said, and was instantly given nods from my brothers. "(For the protection of our secret…)"

We left the room with the instincts of fighting now active within each of us. Costas and Ian left first and went to find the two other Roman soldiers. I stayed behind and locked the door of the Armory Room with an encrypted numerical password that all three of us knew and agreed with. That password is 12-31-45, with the '12' standing for months, the '31' stands for days and the '45' stands for years.

This date for a password was the day that the Roman General Mercury assassinated my parents: December 31st, 45 A.D.

"(I will avenge you both…)" I thought.

I then dashed towards the Tech Room of the laboratory because the S1-GS device currently resided there. I knew for a fact that those soldiers shouldn't get their hands on one of my greatest invention yet, at all costs. If they succeed, I can assume that they'll use it to store their weaponry and equipment in, so that each of the soldiers doesn't have to carry half their weight in needed items everywhere they go and reach their intended destinations faster.

Of course, they could also use it to assimilate all of the enemies in their way, guaranteeing victory.

Once I reached the Tech Room, the S1-GS device was still there, and thankfully, no one else.

Without giving my next action any more thought, I grabbed my device, as well as all of its accessories, and placed it within a security tube—a glass tube with multiple laser guns that'll strike anyone that it doesn't recognize as either Costas, Ian or I—that was also inside of the Tech Room, letting all of it float nonchalantly due to the anti-gravity technology within it.

Once that was done, I placed myself perfectly between the security tube and the only door that this room had. Then I faced the door, stepped back to the security tube, unsheathed my double-bladed sword with my left hand and formed my own battle stance.

I stood there 99% motionless, trying to stay as quiescent as physically possible. The only parts of my body that was unable to stay still were my eyes, but that was because the human eye moves at about eighty times a second, even when they appear to be still.

"(This asshole better come over to me…)" I thought, anticipating his arrival.


Location: My Laboratory

Time: 10:08 AM

The Roman soldier ran across the laboratory with incredible speed, even with the heavy armor on him. "(Where is that boy?)" he thought as he passed by the locked Armory Room.

He passed by a few more rooms along the way to find me. He stopped for only a few seconds when he passed by the Berry Greenhouse Room. Within that room were huge Berry trees that were as tall as oak trees, and about as similar. But that wasn't what got his attention; it was what was going on within that room.

A fight between one of the three Roman soldiers and Ian was happening in the Berry Greenhouse Room.

"What's your status quo, soldier?" The commanding soldier asked.

"I've got him under control!" He said without taking his eyes away from Ian, who shot one the first of two arrows that he loaded on his bow from a distance of about forty-five feet. However, that arrow was instantly halted by his dagger and fell to the nutritious soil below. "I'll have this boy defeated in no time!" he smirked, still not averting his eyes.

"Since you're so cocky, prove it!" he said, firing the second loaded arrow towards the soldier's forehead with great accuracy. Unfortunately, it was also blocked by his dagger. Despite the accuracy of the second arrow, it was only an intended diversion, and Ian took that opportunity to dart towards the soldier, detaching both ends of his bow and wielding them like swords in the process.

His opponent had only a small amount of time to do the following: the soldier stabbed the ground with the javelin he was holding on his right hand, not needing it for close-ranged combat. Then, with his free hand, he grabbed his short sword from its sheath and had almost no time to defend and parry against two sword attacks, using his dagger and short sword.

"(This kid's fast! And what kind of bow is he wielding?)" He thought with gritted teeth, and then he pushed Ian back with both blades.

Ian stepped clumsily back for about four feet, but it wasn't anything serious. He charged back to the soldier once more with a look of determination and swung forcefully, yet accurately to the soldier. The soldier used every bit of his reflexes and quick thinking to detect each blow and parry against them with his weaponry.

Deciding that this soldier has everything under control, he went onward across the hallways.

Once again, he stopped once more, right nearby the Long-Range Practice Room. This room is, as titled, what you'd expect. It has circular, colored targets to aim and long-range weapons nearby to use to aim with.

Or at least it would if the ammo was available at that time.

And just like before, there was a fight going on within the room. Costas was fighting the second of the soldiers. The soldier had thrown his javelin, hoping it was fast enough to quickly cover the thirty feet distance and impale without interference from the victim. Against his hopes, Costas not only stopped the javelin in its tracks, but he caught it in the thin gaps of one of his two spears.

Costas smirked at his opponent's dissatisfaction. "Long range attacks? Are you serious?" He said in a highly offensive manner, and then intimidated by slicing the wooden javelin about a dozen times consecutively with stalwart up-and-down motions of his other spear until there was no more wood on it to chop off. To finish, he swung the left spear once, removing the useless javelin, and pointed his left spear to the soldier. "What store did you get that wood from, the Cheap-O-Depot?"

The commanding soldier thought the words "Cheap-O-Depot" a few times in his head, finding the joke somewhat amusing, but recalled pressing matters. "Soldier, what's your status quo?"

The soldier literally formed a vein of anger on his forehead, gritted his teeth to near breaking point, and unsheathed both of the bladed weaponry on his possession. "I'm going to kick this little bastard's ass!" He instantly charged towards Costas with both blades dancing around him.

Costas didn't say a word. All he did was let him come, and once that soldier was close enough, he easily parried every blow given to him without a step taken out of place, utilizing formidable defensive and parrying techniques. Costas was so cocky that he took the time to make a pseudo-yawn, feigning boredom.

"Go and face that kid already!" the attacking soldier shouted to his fellow soldier. "I'll handle this brat!"

The commanding soldier didn't say a word and ran off once more to find me, leaving behind a pissed off soldier and an experienced defender to fight one-on-one.

"(Good luck, the both of you…)" He thought as he was heading over to my location, unaware of my presence over there yet.

Along the way, the commanding soldier pondered what he witnessed.

"(They've got such abnormal weapons on them.)" The commanding soldier thought to himself, confirming current facts. "(However, we have an advantage. All that we have to do is inflict one blow and their opponents lose instantly.)" He made a left turn and continued onward, not feeling any form of fatigue whatsoever due to his rigorous and physically-demanding training at Military School. "(I should find myself fortunate that I was told of this beforehand.)"


Location: My Laboratory (Tech Room)

Time: 10:13 AM

At last, the commanding soldier arrived to where he wanted to: The Tech Room.

"This better be the—" He stopped soliloquizing the instant he saw me and with blinding speed, brought up his javelin and formed a defensive battle stance. He was ready for me.

However, something was wrong with the current situation, and he sensed it.

Just to make sure, he stepped closer to me until he was four feet away from me. He almost laughed out loud at seeing my current situation.

My eyes were closed.

"I don't believe it… He fell asleep?" he tried his hardest to not guffaw loudly at my quiescent being, but was still laughing in the form of stifled chuckles.

He then noticed the S1-GS suspended in mid air in a glass tube. Not caring at all about how it is floating inside it, he went towards it, but then decided to stop in his tracks once he was close enough to fog up the glass with the carbon dioxide in his breath. And what do you think was the reason for his strange choice?

The answer has two letters in it only and it's the opposite of the word "you".

Me.

"Wait a second. I'm rushing myself," He said to himself with reasonable volume on his voice. He then turned around and walked until he was face-to-face with me. "I'll kill this kid for burning my shield with whatever he used, and then I'll take this kid's device."

Using the javelin that he has on his right hand, he slowly stepped back and brought the throwing weapon above his chest and had the weapon's sharp tip pointing to my throat, with only a gap between the tip and the skin on my neck measuring three inches across.

"(If only I can kill you when you're not asleep, so I can hear you scream your last moments in pain.)"

Retracting the javelin back about six feet with the speed of a turtle, he wants to savor the moment, he grinned satisfactorily and then he gave a thrust forward.

CLANG!

Just as the javelin was being thrust towards my Adam's apple, I caught it in the gaps of my spear, and I only suffered a very small puncture wound that was a millimeter deep a little below my Adam's apple. I did realize the sting of pain that he inflicted but I didn't pay attention to it.

As the attacking soldier was still in disbelief, I brought up the double-bladed sword and wedged his javelin between both blades on my sword. And then, with one lightning-fast jerk of my wrist, I instantly snapped the metal one-foot-long point of his javelin off and threw it aside from my sword. I gave one forward thrust with the Penta-dent, and because the soldier was still in disbelief, he fell over onto his rear.

Instead of finishing him off, I removed the javelin point off of my spear and reformed the battle stance of mine perfectly, waiting for him to get up and face me.

"You were still awake?" The commanding soldier got back up to his feet, shaken by my alleged awakening.

I didn't budge at all as I was speaking, nor did my face's countenance turn into something else. "You actually fell for it? You're more of a degenerate than I thought."

As quickly as he was put down on the floor, he calmed himself down quickly. He smirked at me and only gave a brief laugh. "He he heh… Well your little trick will come back to haunt you."

I just began to feel the feeling of a drop of blood run down my neck once he mentioned the wound I sustained from his first attack. However, it was only a miniscule laceration and I paid it little to no mind. I figured he was only bluffing.

The soldier unsheathed both of his blades and formed a battle stance with his sword held on his left hand and stationed above his left shoulder and his dagger held on his right hand and pointed behind his left side. "Do you think you're capable of causing me to pay in blood instead of weapons alone?" He said in a highly insulting tone.

"Against you, greatly," I said with extra emphasis on the last word.

"Likewise…boy."

We stood there motionless for about ten seconds. We were both having this current tactic of waiting for any kind of hint or clue to our opponent's next action. Whether it was a sudden muscle twitch or what we think our opponent's eye is locked on to, we were willing to accept any kind of action that our opponent makes before going all martial on our intended targets.

As twenty more seconds went by, I actually lost interest in finding a pre-warning attack and decided to swap my current tactic to something with a bit more benefit to me. It'll benefit me a lot instead of a little because it involves my battle specialty. Besides being highly skilled in fighting with or without weaponry—what I was almost godly at—, I was proficient in my offensive agility and quick thinking, thanks to my 10,000 I.Q. mind.

Without giving absolutely any warning to the enemy soldier, I immediately dashed towards him with near superhuman speed. Then, I gave a diagonal slash with my Penta-dent spear, which instantly struck and sliced across his breast plate. Next, I twirled 360 degrees to the left and followed up with an attack from my double-bladed sword, giving him a small, but long gash across the same plate of his armor, in the same exact place.

To end my chained attack, I quickly tucked both weapons to their sides and struck him with both of my fists, and with enough force to send him staggering back, but not falling back, about six feet. To get away from him so that I don't receive a retaliated attack, I jumped backwards and then reformed my stance, not realizing that I landed close to exactly the same place that I started before attacking.

The soldier blinked a few times, blind as to what he just saw. "(This kid's a martial blur…)" he thought, and then he remembered the gash I left on his chest.

As quickly as he remembered it, he felt the terrible pain rise from his torso and put his hand on the gaping wound, feeling a significant amount of blood seeping through the plating of the armor and falling onto the floor, the shock causing him to drop both weapons in hand.

I knew that if he wasn't wearing armor, he would've died on the spot. Part of me wished that he lacked armor, so that his death was immediate.

Once he noticed the blood on his hand, armor and floor of my laboratory, he turned his attention back at me and said "What are those weapons of yours made of?" in a somewhat demanding and mildly curious tone.

I felt like he was going to die soon, so I told him anyway. "More than what those silver toothpicks are made of."

He didn't fully understand what I said. Instead, he decided to recover both of his dropped weapons and continue to attack, despite his inflicted injury.

We both began attacking, evading and parrying in tandem and with great speed. I came close to decapitating him when I brought up the blades of both of my weapons up to his neck in a scissor-like motion, but he ducked and then he tried to slice off my legs with both bladed weapons. Unfortunately for him, I back-flipped to avoid the double sweep attack of his, stabbed the ground with my spear when I was upside down and held on to it as I briefly defied gravity—by remaining perfectly horizontal—, then gave him two consecutive kicks close to the sliced zone of his armor.

He staggered back once more and clutched the same wound of his torso again, only with more concern because the sharp ends of the slashed breast plate pierced into the wound.

"(How can anyone attack like that?)" He thought about my gravity-defying attack with clenched teeth of pain. "(His battle style… They're unlike anything that I've ever seen!)"

I remade contact onto the floor with my feet, removed the Penta-dent spear from the floor and once more, I reformed my battle stance. "Your blood is painting my floor red," I said. "You've sustained far greater damage than I, and yet you still choose to fight me?"

The soldier took a few breaths before saying "Yes" confidently.

"Why?"

"Because I've already won this battle," he smirked cockily and then he sheathed his weapons.

Obviously, I knew that he knew that he did something to win the battle, but I have no clue as to what. "What are you talking about?" I said in an incredibly dubious way. "The only wound you've inflicted on me was the small stab wound on my neck!" I pointed to the wound on my neck with one finger.

"Exactly," He said with an eerie grin. "That wound from the start was enough to have you defeated."

"You're bluffing," I said skeptically.

The only action that that soldier did was shaking his head slowly, with irregular nonchalance.

I began to feel that trying to reason with him was pointless. Many thoughts began to swirl in my mind and I attempted to find an answer. "(Why is he so confident with that one wound he inflicted on me?)" I thought without having the caution of the enemy going on the offensive.

I lowered my weaponry, not from feeling a bit safer, but from a different reason. I could've sworn my body was weakening and I was beginning to lose feeling in my arms.

"(Perfect…)" The enemy soldier grinned schizophrenically. "(It's already taking effect…)"

I gazed at the broken javelin on the floor while I still had the strength and ability to see clearly to do so. My vision was beginning to fade out, a sign that I was beginning to drift out of consciousness. From what I saw on it, I noticed the head of the weapon seemed to be a bit more luminous than normal. Instantly, I noticed that it was coated with some sort of transparent liquid. That something was a substance that I instantly recognized as something that belongs to me.

"You used…my liquid anesthetic solution…against me…" I said with a surprised low tone, shocked that he was smart enough to use one of my own experiments—which he must've obtained when coming towards me—against me. The solution's effect was already causing every part of me to become abate. Even my own speech was becoming abated.

"You did lock your armory, but not your medical facilities, which is where my two grunts and I found that…liquid anesthetic was it?" He said, being somewhat unaware of the identity of the substance that he utilized on me.

I felt so numb and weak that I began to slouch against my will and the unusual bladed weaponry on my hands fell of my hands and onto the floor. "(Costas…and Ian… They'll fail as I have… All because…of me…)"

"And now you're paying for your mistake with your life."

"…" I finally lost the ability to say or think anything. However, I still didn't fall over unconscious, because my willpower was the only thing that was keeping me standing, but only just.

Unfortunately, I couldn't retaliate anymore, or defend my invention.

The victor of this battle decided to go to the S1-GS device, wanting to claim it as a victory prize.

"This storage orb…" he said, holding in his excitement. "…It's mine…"

He reached out his hand slowly towards the device, savoring the moment.

"…It's finally m—GAAH!"

He immediately retracted his hand back after coming face-to-face with the security tube's defense mechanism—which is armed with laser guns that are trained to fire on anyone that isn't Costas, Ian, or I. He stared at the instant second-degree burn on the very center of the back of his right hand, hissing in pain.

"You bastard!" he yelled at me, and then he struck the back of my head with the butt of his sword, shattering my balance and having the floor come up to punch me in the face. "You just won't surrender something, even when you've fallen!"

"…" I was officially unconscious on the floor. My weapons existed adjacent of me, growing cold from lack of use and the absence of my grip on them.

A few seconds later, both grunt soldiers came to the same room that the commanding soldier and my unconscious being were in. With them were both Costas and Ian, whom have also fallen victim to the anesthetic that I've created.

Without care, both soldiers threw both of them aside towards me, but not directly on top of me. They were about two feet away from me, narrowly avoiding falling directly on top of my weaponry. Their weapons were left in the rooms from which they lost in.

"So, you succeeded in causing that boy to fall." The first soldier said, staring at my dropped body.

"Yes I have." He said, strangling his hand as if he didn't want the pain it was creating to communicate to his brain.

"Did something happen to your hand?" The second soldier inquired, noticing this.

The commanding soldier growled with anger, and then he showed them the perfectly circular second-degree burn on the center of his hand for a brief amount of time. "This brat that I defeated with his own anesthetic left the orb in a protective shield that strikes anything hostile with a hot…energy of some kind," He described, being completely unsure of the firing weapon used against him.

"So then what about that storage sphere of his?" the second soldier wondered, feeling as if their mission of obtaining the storage device was in jeopardy.

"The rest of the Roman legion, with General Mercury as their leader, they are coming to this location as we speak," The first soldier warned and reminded him. "They're expecting us to have the orb by the time of their arrival."

"What will we do?"

The commanding soldier stared at the unconscious brothers on the floor and remembered the class of torture he took in Military School. He smirked at the fun he'll have at finally using those torture methods. "Once these three boys wake up, I'll begin with one of our many ways of 'negotiation' that I've learned in Military School."

The two soldiers knew what he was talking about and grinned with eagerness.

"We'll get answers from them soon enough," He grinned maliciously. "But until then, let's take them to a room in this place that can best resemble a holding chamber."


"Life is precious. Sentient life is more precious. But when one sentient group threatens the survival of another, then the threatened group has the right to protect themselves." —Orson Scott Card (340) ("Children of the Mind")

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