"It's been a while... Zyra."
Zyra didn't respond. She walked right in front of Shesmu and slapped him on the cheeks.
"What the hell was that?!" She exclaimed. "What the hell was the deal with you and Cain?!"
Shesmu was still surprised by the slap. Its sting made his eyes watery, however, he didn't lash out at Zyra. He smiled and said, "Let's drink and talk. It's been a while."
"Tch," She clicked her tongue. "You've always been such a wimp. Damnit, if I was you, I would have just burst in their office and pummeled them to death. He is your brother you know? How can you call yourself his when you can't even protect him."
The fire of hell raged within Shesmu's heart, however his face was as calm as the sea.
Seeing him act this way, Zyra clicked her tongue once again before summoning a gourd. She then materialized two big cups before serving her drink. She passed one to Shesmu and said, "Here, spring of the dragon valley, as you like it."
"Thanks." Shesmu took a sip and smiled, "Ah, spirit of the dragons, fruity and sweet. Just as I remember it."
Shesmu took a few more sips with a happy smile on his face before he put down his cup. His face turned serious.
"For Cain, too many things happened. If they did end up pushing their agenda, I would have dissolved the team then and there. But, with this turn of events..."
Shesmu's lips pressed thin. Remembering the dream-no, the nightmare, and the drowning feeling of loss he experienced after, he couldn't help but punch the ground in anger.
"Aghh!" Zyra screamed. "I no longer understand this world you live in. How do people just randomly time travel?!!"
Shesmu looked at Zyra with cold eyes before saying with a low voice, "It wasn't random."
"Huh, you think it was premeditated? The one who sent you the letter maybe?" She asked.
"Maybe... I'm not sure if it's him or her that caused it, but I know for sure that they have more information. I'm going to find them for sure."
Zyra clasped her hands over her head and shouted, "Aghh! I hate this kind of stuff! Just give me stuff to punch, not this brain crap!"
Shesmu chuckled at Zyra's reaction before his eyes darted towards the giant gate. It was made of gold and ornamented with ruby and sapphire. Dragons, titans, and monsters of all kinds were engraved everywhere.
"You want to open it?" Zyra asked.
Shesmu nodded at her.
"Okay then, let's do it."
The two sat up and walked towards the gate. They both rested their hand on top of the door, when a loud creak sounded. Light seeped out from the crack of the open door. The darkness gave way to a new world, a green and beautiful one.
"Okay, let's go activate the crystal," stated zyra. Wings sprouted from her back, and her face turned into that of a lizard. Her clothes tore apart as she transformed into a mighty dragon. A big, powerful red dragon.
"Come, ride on my back," Zyra said with a deep voice.
Shesmu jumped on top of her back before thanking her.
"Hold on tight, you're weak right now so you better not fall off."
Shesmu took Zyra's advice to heart and clinged to her scales. Zyra flexed her back legs and catapulted into the sky. The sudden acceleration almost made Shesmu lose his grip on her neck. The jump upward lasted a few more seconds before Zyra stabilized. She spread her wings and soared above the clouds.
Shesmu couldn't help but smile at the scenery. This kind of view, he probably wouldn't be able to see it anywhere but here-at least for a very long time.
"What do you think of the scene? You probably won't be able to see it anywhere else now that you came back in time," Zyra teased.
"For someone who is so violent, you really have a sharp tongue."
"Hey, who did you say was violent?! You think you can talk shit when we're above the clouds? Wanna see what would happen if I did a 360?"
Zyra's threats worked wonders against Shesmu. "Okay okay, I get it. You're a beautiful and calm lady dragon, we good?���
Zyra had a satisfied smile on her face. "Hahaha, that's right, that's right!"
The two soared for a while before reaching their destination. "Shes, make sure to hold on. I'm gonna nose dive."
Again, Shesmu took hold of Zyra's scales and clenched at them with all his might. Zyra faced downward and folded her wings. She pierced through the clouds with incredible speed.
From the white of the clouds, the scenery changed to green. Valleys, rivers, and plateaux everywhere. The grass was lush and the trees were tall. The only thing missing were the animals.
"It's really deserted down here," Shesmu commented.
"Well, can't be helped. You haven't gathered any ether yet."
Shesmu nodded at her words as they made their way downwards. The dragon landed on a prairie. The gust of wind created by her wings blew the grass away and unrooted it.
Zyra transformed back to her human form, leaving Shesmu to fall from the sky. He rolled on the ground to cushion the impact before finally stabilizing.
"Now that was just unnecessary," He murmured under his breath.
"Did you say something?" Zyra asked with a high voice, her tone daring Shesmu to find something clever to say.
Shesmu didn't respond. He just walked past her and made his way towards the forest. Zyra chuckled before following him.
The two walked for around five minutes when they reached the entrance of a cave.
"It's been a while since we entered this place, hasn't it?"
Shesmu didn't respond. He entered the cave and light illuminated his way. The moment he would take a step, luminous spirits would come and shed light over his way.
"It's a shame though," commented Zyra. "You were this close to making a pact with a primordial last time. So close. And now, you have to do it all over again."
"That doesn't really matter."
Shesmu's response made Zyra raise her eyebrows in surprise.
"The advantage I have over all the other players right now is immeasurable. I wouldn't need a pact with a primordial to protect anyone... At least for a while."
Shesmu's response annoyed Zyra. She rolled her eyes and sighed exasperatedly. "Can you be selfish at least once in a while? It's always protect this, protect that. Can you think of something else for a change? Something like world domination, now wouldn't that be fun?"
"World domination doesn't accomplish anything," Shesmu simply responded.
"Now that's where you're wrong, brainass!" Zyra exclaimed. "If you were to dominate the world, then you can accomplish all your goals. Protecting your friends and family, finding the man of the letter, you could do both!"
Shesmu stayed silent for a while before responding, "Either way, it's not something that I can do right now. I'm so extremely weak."
His eyes darted towards a certain object. They had finally reached the room. The luminous spirits illuminated the chamber. They merged with the walls and transformed into luminous crystals of all colors.
There were ten giant crystals of different colors within the room. Each of them was the size of a boulder, nine of them surrounded the green crystal in a circular formation.
Looking at them, Shesmu clicked his tongue.
"Huh, ten crystals. Just like last time," Zyra commented.
Shesmu stayed silent for a couple of seconds before murmuring, "Not for long."
"So, you're going to change it at the next character creation? That's the only way, no?"
Shesmu couldn't help but bite his lips. In front of his mind was the picture of a six-winged angel, and her traitorous smile.
"Hee, it's Gabriel that you're thinking about, right?" teased Zyra. "Well, it's normal for you to be scared. Outsmarting a super AI is an impossible task for you humans after all."
Shesmu clicked his tongue before responding, "I'll find a way to get the perfect twelve cores. Gabriel can't do anything to me if the only thing she has is suspicions. Plus..."
Shesmu's thought trailed off as he recalled Gabriel's crazy smile. "She enjoys this type of thing."
"Huh, if you say so," Zyra responded. "But forget about that. Activate the crystal already, I can't wait to gather ki again."
Zyra slapped Shesmu's back as she said those words, startling the latter. Shesmu rolled his eyes as Zyra laughed loudly. In the end, he complied with her words and put his hand over the green crystal.
Green light shone with high intensity, forcing Shesmu to cover his eyes. Soon enough, both him and Zyra were engulfed by the light-and the whole Ki realm too.