CHAPTER 71: BEATING THE ODDS

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EARTH TWO

NEW YORK

‘Oppa. Do you want coffee’ Na Eun said as she trails her fingers around Azief hard chest and his abs. Azief only smiles

‘I had enough coffee for one night.’

‘Cuddle?’ She asked

‘Why not?’ Azief surrenders.

She put her head on his chest and just enjoys being near him. The strongest man in the world, Hyperion.

And she is dating him. It’s like dating God. Whenever she called, he could be there in a second.

If her life in a danger, he would come like a prince saving the damsel in distress.

She might not look like a cute girl but that is only because she was strict in her workplace. Maybe none of her employee could think of her acting coy.

With him, she is a woman.

They were about to enjoy their night when suddenly Azief is startled. His hearing picked up something.

The sound of crackling electricity. First thought: Red Speedster.

His body tensed as he tries to contain his aura from leaking out because he knows that Na Eun would be crushed by his pressure alone.

‘Someone is here’ he said in a whispering tone and he got up with his Hyper Speed and instantly in his clothes again.

One moment he was cuddling naked, the other moment he was at the door.

And his body emitted an unapproachable aura like a beast getting up from his sleep, and the beast is angry.

‘Wait here.’ He said to Na Eun and Na Eun just nodded. He was about to just take one step when a voice greeted him.

‘Don’t be alarmed. It’s me.’ Na Eun dress lightly as she also get up from the bed and come to the door and then she could see the shock in Azief face.

Then Na Eun looks at the person who makes Azief shocked. Sitting there on the living rom sofa was the Dark Speedster.

Bleeding almost everywhere, his body discharging sparkling dark blue lightning, his act of breathing seems labored.

Azief quickly in an attosecond appears beside Will and pop a pill inside Will mouth and in matter of seconds the open wound slowly close up and the bleeding also beginning to stop.

‘What happens to you?’ Azief said, clearly his mind already runs through the worst possibility.

But nothing could prepare him for what Will going to say next.

‘Hyperion, you need to help me. Earth Two is under an invasion. They have come here.’

‘Who?’

‘The Seresian.’ Hearing this it was like thunder struck Azief and then he realize something and his hypothesis is finally proved.

The reason why Will could travel through this world.

The reason why Will doesn’t seem to be restricted like other people of Earth Prime to come here.

Using the Universe Orb weakens reality. There is a door. His hypothesis is right. But he’s not happy about it as he smiles bitterly.

There was no door before Azief uses the Universe Orb. Each one of the worlds has great wall of reality…until Azief rips out that wall and created a door.

A door through Otherwolrds. It’s the term Azief created for the other world in the other Universe.

Azief once uses the Orb to enter Earth Two so Red Speedster could use it to Earth Prime with his speed leading Will here.

And he once used it to enter the Seresian world, so Will could use it too. It was the Door. Azief opens the door and Will seems to have the key.

The Speed Source is another way to travel through universes but each time, each time they travelled through universes, they weaken the time continuum barrier and reality itself.

‘It’s my fault.’ Will said with a tone of sorrow.

‘I brought them here. I couldn’t shake them off.’ He said as he buried himself in guilt.

‘No.’ Azief said and he sighed.

‘It’s mine. I guess, Loki was right. There is a price for everything’ Azief said as he looks outside his house and then he sighed again, this time his sigh is long and hard.

Na Eun could see the expression on Azief face and she was worried.

‘Oppa, what are you thinking?’ Azief look at the sorry state of Will and he looks outside and sees the world and sees the people inside it, living their life.

He could see more than any other people, hear more.

He could hear people laughing, crying, telling each other stories…..living.

And then he looks at Na Eun and how he wished that he didn’t have to do what he had to do.

But looking at her, he knew he had to do it. Because he is the only one who could do it and then he sighed as he finally understand Loki words.

There is nothing without a price.

You always have to lose something when you use magic.

Azief thought he got a cheat code by using the Universe Orb but h now knows that everything…is not really as he thinks it is.

A price is needed.

If he is to keep the Universe Orb…the price is every life in Earth Two. He is not a good person, he admits but he is not a world destroying psychopath.

Because the moment, the pieces fit inside his mind he already has the solution. And this solution…he already knows it a long time ago, the moment Will come to this Earth.

It was his indecision, his reluctance that now sends this world to this particular doom.

‘What are you thinking?’ Na Eun said again this time her tone is nervous.

‘It’s time I show the world my hidden card.’ He said as he smiles bitterly.

‘Will, you take your time here. Get some water. Rest. You’ve ben through a lot. Let me….settle the rest.’ His eyes is now full of determination.

‘Al’ Will said as he look at Azief and Azief nodded.

‘I understand. You know what he is, I presume?’

‘I’ve had my suspicions.’

‘I guess you’ve learned something in your time at the Seresian world.’ Azief said smiling a bit

‘They’re merciless.’ Will reply, while chuckling weakly.

‘I know’ Azief replies as he look down.

Then looking back at Will he just shows an expression of guilt and said

‘Rest.’ And then Azief was trying to leave but before he got through the door, Na Eun grabbed his hand

‘Where are you going?’ She asked, her eyes were already welling up with tears. Azief chuckles a bit looking at it and then his face turns solemn. They both could feel it.

That this could be it. No…this…is it.

‘You know what I’m going to do.’ He said his voice is a little stuck.

‘Leaving me?’ Those are the words she couldn’t say.

She held up her tears, held up her feeling and just nodded.

And Azief nodded too. It was an atmosphere where nothing else needs to be said. Their eyes told them everything they need to know.

Their midsummer night dream is over.

It’s time.

Then Azief exit his home, flying in the night sky, not as Azief the billionaire but Hyperion, the protector of Earth.

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WHITE HOUSE

It was quiet in the White House tonight. Guards could be seen walking around the perimeter.

The safety of White House in this new world is almost as strict as the security at the Pentagon.

Not anyone can go inside it and there is no visit to the White House unless for official reason.

So different from Earth Prime White House where it was very easy to break into. Well, this world history of presidents dying in the White House is larger than the Earth Prime world history killing in White House.

President Luis Marco was reading some documents in the Oval office like usual as he is trying to wrap around his head on the new reports about General Hardwick insistence in using the Iron Legion that was recently built to invade Russia.

Crazy old general.

Luis is the second Latino American that served as President after the disastrous presidency of Rubio. There is a lot to cover, a lot of expectations.

After the Iron Legion and Iron Soldiers were deployed, it seems that America is going down the path of warfare…..eternal warfare.

Either America rise to rule all or die trying…and if he as to make a bet, America will fall if they keep going down this path….fall from the inside.

Nobody wants to war forever. Even if they won, the only thing America would rule was corpses.

Young kids sent to die in a foreign land just to satisfy the greed of the people in the Hill.  If America goes down this path, they would no longer be a democratic nation.

Because a democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic.

No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy

And that was not his policy and it will not be his legacy.

He has had half a mind of dismissing the General but the General political friends on the Hill is not a few.

Suddenly the electricity gave up.

They are commotion outside his office.

He was startled but he was not panicked. Even though it rarely happens, it does happen.

He just waits for the electricity to go back up.

But it did not.

After a minute, he began feeling something is wrong.

Then he heard noises.

First, the steps….and Luis swears it was like the sound of the footsteps of a giant, bringing fear to his heart as his heart beats faster.

Then the gunshot. Then the yelling.

And then silence.

You might think that all of these happen in minutes…but no. It’s not even under a minute. All of this happens in 15 seconds.

From the sound of the gigantic step that invites fear into the hearts of men, to the barrage of gunshots, to the fear induced yelling and the silence that came after, it only took 15 seconds.

The President didn’t even have time to freak out.

Then the Oval Office door was open and in front of the President was the brave appearance of Hyperion, clad in black like an avenger from Hell, emitting a pressure that could crush a mountain and a gaze that seems to view everything beneath him.

Hyperion looks at the president and come forward. Each step is like a giant stomping on earth.

Behind him was like an aura of an ancient beast, looking down at him. It was suffocating, terrifying and out of the world pressure that is pressing Luis right now.

Hyperion held out his hand and he said.

‘It’s the first time we meet face to face Mr. President’ Hyperion said and the pressure from before disappeared.

The pressure disappeared almost like it never existed.

Luis gathered himself and then shakes his hand.

‘To what do I owe the pleasure?’ he said while his heart is palpitating with anxiousness and at the same time trying to maintain his dignity.

What the hell is the Secret Service is doing!! He wanted to yell in his heart. Here, in front of him is Hyperion. An enemy of the state

He might be the President of the United States but if Hyperion decides to end him, it would be as easy as killing a chicken.

He was mortal. Hyperion is a God.

Luis has seen what Hyperion is capable of doing.

How many times has the American Government sent assassin and monsters and even the Iron Legion to finish him only to return disappointed?

He, out of everyone understand how powerful this being in front of him. One blow and he might turns into dust

Hyperion then said like he couldn’t see the wariness in the President eyes.

‘The world is in great danger, Mr. President’ he said seriously.

‘I know me and the United States have our differences but in for the sake of this world, let us put aside our differences. And please listen to what I’m about to tell you.’

Luis looking at the sincere face of Hyperion and his seriousness is also slightly persuaded.

And even though he is afraid that Hyperion would kill him, thinking about it if he wanted to kill him, why would he have waited this long.

And Hyperion treats him with respect and did not threaten him or anything. Hyperion still calls him Mr. President.

That shows he is respectful enough.

‘Oh, and I put your Secret Service people to sleep for a while. I have no time to explain my appearance and I like to avoid creating too much chaos. Sorry about that’ Hyperion said.

Luis doesn’t know what to say. Then gathering his courage, his eyes shows no fear Luis said

‘Speak’ he said.

Then for about an hour Hyperion talked with the President before the President in matter of hours convene the largest meeting between world leaders that have even convened in the history of mankind.

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IN EARTH PRIME

IN THE BOTTOM OF THE MARIANA TRENCH

A red lightning suddenly appeared from a portal before diving straight inside the ocean in matter of seconds.

The target of this red lightning seems to be an Orb shining with the luminosity of the sun and store the energy of ever power source in existence.

He found it! He rejoice in his heart. All of his sacrifice is worth it. He found the All Source. It was so close to him.

He could revive back his world. He could become the strongest existence in the whole universe if he got his hand on the All Source.

He has sacrificed so much to find the location, tapped the Speed Source to his pinnacle, traversing though Universes to find Earth Prime, the source of all the multiverse.

The Earth that becomes the access points though all Earths. It is now in front of him. His hopes. His dreams. His aspirations. He could almost taste it.

Victory is in front of his eyes. He starched out his hand to touch the All Source. The Orb is merely an outer shell. The All Source is more than that.

The moment his hand touches the orb, without warning, his existence was erased, his dreams, aspirations, hopes disappeared in almost matter of an instant, his energy disperse and erased.

He was pulverized by the energy. He was not worth it. The Red Speedster is puny and insignificant as ants in front of the All Source.

The Orb remains there, floating under the sea like nothing has changed when suddenly it turned red like it was angry and a blinding explosion happens from the bottom of the sea enveloping all of Earth prime.

********************************************************************
UNITED STATES

ARIZONA

GRAND CANYON

A FEW HOURS BEFORE THE LIGHT EXPLOSION IN MARIANA TRENCH

The night sky was clear tonight. Sina look at the stars and humming a tune, her feet dangles around the edge of the canyon.

The place used to be the Grand Canyon. It was brown. At least that’s how Sina always views it inside the television.

The Grand Canyon.

Sina who was born in Malaysia never thought she would be here. But now she’s here on a brand new Grand Canyon.

There was grass everywhere. Plants wildly growing here and there, trees as tall as buildings and monsters roaming around the place.

In this new world, rivers were somewhat easier to cross, but mountains were very difficult to climb, since there were normally very powerful beasts there.

As for forests, they were pretty much impossible to pass through alone. If one entered without any others, they’d be devoured until even their bones no longer remained.

Of course that is if you don’t have an Energy Disperse Stage expert.

She smiles a bit as she lets the wind caresses her cheeks. She smells the night air and feels refreshed.

‘Alone?’ a voice startled her when and she stop her humming. She turned back and looks at a teenage boy with jet black hair and blue eyes.

His face was childish and evokes a motherly feeling and a face that seems to symbolize innocence but it was the smile, that rotten smile that negates all the innocence on that face.

Sina smiles a bit. Loki, it seems, no matter how he changes his appearance could not hide that part of himself.

‘New face, Loki? Tired of the Old Man?’ She greeted him with a smile

‘You don’t like it?’ Loki ask back

‘Well, it’s a good look.’ She complimented.

‘Thanks. I chose it carefully’ he said as he takes a seat besides her dangling his feet. Then bringing something out from his bag of holding was a bottle of wine.

Sina look at him questioningly

‘For special occasion’ he said

And then he brings out a cup. Slowly he poured the wine inside the cup and takes a long satisfying sip.

And then he exhales a breath of relief.

‘Today is a hard day.’ Loki said.

‘Thanks for the assist like always Sina.’

‘It’s my role’ she said as she looked back at the vast expanse of fauna in front of her.

At night like this, with the breeze blowing by, soothing winds that console the hearts, with a peaceful night like this, Sina could enjoy the peace.

Surrounded by people she trust and began to care about.

Loki, who likes to joke around, usually joking about having sex with her which was inappropriate and at the same time flattering.

Loki really is different from what she thought about.

He could be serious but he always diffuse serious situation with his jokes. But his tricking abilities are really divine.

Case in point: the Wei and Yue fiasco.

There is Sofia who by now she treated as her best friends. And of course there is Wang Jian.

That no nonsense man which is very responsible man.

Loki dangles his feet at the edge of the canyon like she did and like she did, he also look towards the place.

‘It’s magnificent isn’t it?’ He said.

Sina nodded. Then as she looks at the vast expanse of land under her, she remembers one of her friends.

Azief.

‘It’s been about five months since Azief is gone’ Sina suddenly said as she turns back to look around the direction of Sofia and Wang Jian practicing swordsmanship.

Sofia has turned into a badass woman. But…also a little weird.

Loki nodded as he takes another sip before shaking his head and then drinking it straight from the bottle.

Clearly he thinks having a cup is to slow and instead drinking it straight from the source.

‘You think they will ever get together?’ Sina ask as she look at Loki

‘Who?’ Loki asks like he doesn’t understand.

Sina rolled her eyes.

‘Azief and Sofia of course.’

Loki stopped gulping and then he look at Sofia direction and then he looked back to the front and smile bitterly.

‘It’s not going to be simple’ he said, almost like he knows what is going to happen.

‘What so hard about it?’ Sina scoffed.

‘Boy meet girl. Boy like girl. Boy and girl get together.’

‘If it were only that easy.’ He said while taking another gulp.

‘Why? Do you think they are not good for each other? I see the look she has been giving Azief during their time together. And I see how he looks at her. There is something there’

Loki chuckles.

‘Yes, back then, it was easy. But do you think the man that will come back from the portal will be the same man that enters that portal?’

‘Why not?’

‘For us it’s only been about four to five months. For him….it will be about four to five years. A lot of thing must have changed. Don’t you remember what I said to you before?’

‘What?’ Sina said as he looks at that teenage face.

‘I said that magic has a price. Always. And the Universe Orb is the highest kind of magic there is. And it demands a price. I don’t think the man that would come out of that portal is the same man we met five months ago. He will be stronger….colder. And whatever relationship they will have…will be complicated’

Because that is how he is before Loki wants to say. He knew the Prince pretty well. He was cunning, manipulative and very merciless in his plans.

That was his cold personality. But he also knew the on and off relationship between the Prince and the Divine Archer.

But no one really knows whether at the end, whether those two were really lovers or only acquaintance after all their bickering and misunderstandings.

Both of them dated other people, love with other people but almost like fate they are always drawn to each other only to find something is missing and breaking up again and then getting back together again.

It’s complicated. Truth be told, Loki doesn’t really know what happens after Sofia break off her wedding with the Earthshaker.

The Prince and the Divine Archer certainly didn’t get back together but at the end, it was Sofia that sends him back.

He sighed. Both of them are certainly a drama king and queens.

‘So, you don’t think they will be together.’ Sina said with a low tone as she sighs in regret. Loki looks back at Sofia and said

‘I didn’t say that. I’m just saying that the odds are against them’

‘What do you mean?’

‘You really wanna know?’ he asked. She nodded

‘You and me for example. We’re not like her. We’re different. Why do you choose the secret class?’ He asked.

‘I need it during the time’ she said as she tries to vaguely answer the question.

‘Even though the price is steep? Your power does not increase easily like a normal class and there are limitations.’ Hearing this Sian becomes incensed.

‘But it does give me an edge on alchemical and potion making. My miracles pills. My po-‘

‘This is what I’m talking about’ Loki said smiling.

‘There is always something special about the ones choosing the secret class. Either they’re smart, stupid, or insane enough to think they could complete the mission and get the class. And not everyone survives the first mission. The qualifying mission to be worthy of a secret class. For example, Azief mission was to kill a monster beyond his level. Luck plays a part in his victory but also preparation and bravery. He has that something, something that makes him special. The ability to discard what he doesn’t need. He lost his family…yet he could still remain calm and almost emotionless. He doesn’t cry. He rarely even feels anything. But he has that certain something that makes people follow him. He is cold….but he is loyal. There is exception to his cold heartedness. He has that something…something that makes him stand over the masses.’ Then Loki looks at Sofia in the distance and said

‘She lacks that certain something’

‘What? Bravery? She has a lot of it.’ Sina said as she tries to stand up for her friend.

‘No, not bravery. Insanity. Madness. Foolishness.’ He said as he smiles bitterly.

‘To do what you did, ignoring the fallback, believing in your uncertain path….that is nothing short of insanity when all you have to do is to survive for another day. I bet there is a story why you choose you class and the reason might be as mad as my reason. Sofia on the other hand, she’s a normal girl. With her own scars and worries and…normal. She’s the kind of girl who has pillow talk with her girlfriends, talking about boys, cried about the little things…normal, not that its bad but she is certainly…not like us, right Sina?’

He asks as he looks at Sina eyes and she averts her gaze.

It was almost like Loki stares could see her past, see her scars and her pain. She didn’t like that about Loki.

‘And if I could tell you something….if she can’t be insane in this insane world, she will be left out by us….the insane ones.’

‘I think she is pretty insane. I mean torturing Arno?’ she said. In a way it was her standing up for Sofia.

In other way it could also be seen as criticism on her part about Sofia irrational behavior.

But Loki on the other hand just sighs in regrets.

‘She knows I’m not going to do anything to him. She knows my story. I fought my own leader because he was a pedophile. Don’t you think she knows that I won’t be able to torture a kid?’

‘Then why did she give him to you?’

‘Because she needs to look strong. Looks cold. I know, it silly’ as he chuckles.

‘But, I think she take it upon herself to become the leader of our ragtag bunch, a leader that we could count on to do the hard things. Like we count on Azief. But she can’t. She might try to act like she can….but she can’t. It’s not her. She knows that she could trust me to get the information without the torturing. I was the good cop. She was the bad cop. She is trying to emulate him. And that only broke her more. I could hear her crying at night outside the Grain Palace when she thinks we are sleeping. She is afraid. Scared. And insecure. She’s not him. And she had this idea that Azief is a cold but smart leader and that is what she is trying to do…..Azief was cold and in some kind of ways cruel to people he didn’t know. He’s not without flaws you know? But she shouldn’t emulate Azief. He is in a way…eccentric. But I guess most great men are.’

Loki said as he takes another sip, the wine spills a bit at his cloth.

‘You said like Azief is going to be something someday. I always wonder how you could have so much faith in him. You once said to me that if I follow him, he would lead us and I will be safe.’

‘I’m not wrong am I?’ he said as he looks back at Sina.

She chuckles.

‘No, you’re not. But, I always wonder, how do you know?’

Loki look back to the stars, takes a gulp of the wine before realizing that there is no more wine inside the bottle anymore.

‘A hunch’ he said while smiling mysteriously.

Sina look back at Sofia who has already finished practicing with Wang Jian and then she sighed.

‘I guess it will be hard, huh? For her to be together with Azief? Maybe, she should consider Raymond. I mean, Raymond is clearly smitten with her.’

‘Why? I thought you said Azief and Sofia look good together’ Loki said smiling.

‘I mean…you said the odds weren’t good.’

‘Yes.’ He chuckles.

‘I did say that. But, isn’t that what great love story is all about? Beating the odds?’ He said while smiling peacefully.

Sina looks at Loki and she also smiles then she look at Sofia while smiling, her feet freely dangling as she felt the wind on her feet and said

‘I hope they make it.’

And the wind breeze them by as they just enjoy the night air. It was a peaceful night for the group.

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