So long as whatever his family did had not crossed the line of social norms, he would be able to deal with just about anything. As such, within one of their estates at the core regions of EarlingStar, Norman's mood was a sullen one.
Moments ago, he was forced to leave a crucial council meeting, one which was discussing the appearance of what was classified as the Planet Devouring Entity. After leaving in an embarrassing manner and verbally battling with the Chief of the Public Security Sector, Norman was now furious.
His eyes glared at both Michael and Nadia, whom he had only barely managed to bring back from the police headquarters. The stifling silence in the room capable of filling anyone with a weak mind with dread, as an air of coldness, could be felt despite the daytime hours.
Tap. Tap. Eventually, the sound of Norman's finger tapping the table resounded as Michael and Nadia swallowed hard while lowering their heads. Shortly after, Norman's finger made a final tap before he spoke in an icy, but unusually calm voice, "Who can explain to me what just happened? Who is this Evan? Why did you frame him?"
"...." Nadia remained silent as she started to tremble.
Michael, on the other hand, clenched his fist and lifted his head to stare at his father.
From a glance, one would see that he was a slim short-haired individual with a square-shaped head, an aquiline nose and thin eyebrows, and similar-looking eyes to Michael. A few vague crease marks were visible underneath his eyes, as his neatly combed white hair, trimmed mustache, and faded beard gave him a refined edge in his white business suit.
Michael then spoke, "Father, it was my fault. I only wanted to solve a grudge with him..."
Norman narrowed his eyes and asked, "I thought that the only person you have a grudge with was the child of the Goldsmith family. Since when did you form a new one, and why did you not speak of the details to me?"
Michael hesitated for a while before he replied, "Father... I, I didn't want to burden you with such matters, this grudge between us had also formed because of that Joe Goldsmith. I... I wanted to suppress Joe in high school, but Evan didn't seem to like this, he boldly put his nose in our business and even hindered me when I went to try and use Joe's sister against him..."
Norman made an odd face as he slammed the table and shouted, "Use his sister against him? Explain what you mean by this right now!"
Michael hesitated for a bit before he gritted his teeth and spoke, "F-Father, you've always said that to strike at your competitors, you must use any means necessary, and as an upper-class, I have entitlement to anything I want. I wanted not only to break Joe's spirit but satiate my desire by taking his sist---"
Michael was about to say something, but Norman's face turned dark, his veins shook across his neck and forehead as he rose to his feet and struck his palm towards Michael.
Slap! With a loud sound, Michael was forced to the ground as the side of his face now had an ugly palm mark. He trembled as he looked at his father in shock, never had his father hit him like this in his life.
Norman, whose face was covered in anger, looked at Michael as he yelled, "You foolish boy! How could you do something so stupid? I said that in business to compete against your competitors, one must at times use unfairness rather than straightforward deals. I did not say to kidnap or even to try and **** their family's children, do you even understand what entitlement means? Although you are born superior, that doesn't imply that you should act as you please..."
Michael trembled as he tried to speak, "F-Father... I-I only wanted to please y..."
"Silence!" Norman yelled as eyes turned red, his arm that slapped Michaels's face shook. He looked out the window and spoke again, "Do you know what you have done? Do you know what I had to deal with to get you out from that damn headquarters? Especially at such a critical time, my position in the council could easily be jeopardized at this time! You didn't only randomly frame a brat for attempting to **** your sister, but also did something even more foolish as attempting it yourself! I can't have a foolish son like you ruin everything I've worked so hard to achieve!"
As Norman said this, his eyes flashed as they became firm, Nadia seeing this felt that something was wrong she bit her lips and spoke, "Father, wait! Please don't do it. Brother was only..."
Norman glanced her and yelled, "Nadia, be quiet!"
Nadia trembled as she heard this, she looked at her father with a fearful look as she sat down in silence. Michael had only now got back to his feet; one of his hands was even placed on the side of his face as he stared at his father in silence.
Norman then closed his eyes before opening them and looking at him in coldness as he motioned his finger towards the door and shouted, "Get out! Pack all your things and leave right now! It's time for you to become an adult, time for you to see the world for yourself. Maybe this is the way you can learn and mature to a man of true standing..."
Michael trembled for a bit as he opened his mouth and spoke, "But... father,"
As Norman saw that Michael didn't leave, his face grew livid, he raised his hand to hit him but saw Nadia looking at him in fear, he hesitated before gripping his fist and grabbing at Michael's bag that rested on the table.
As he did this, he flung it towards the door and yelled, "I said, get out!"
Michael looked at his father with tears flowing from the corner of his eyes, he closed them and balled up his palms into a fist before they opened and stared with a lifeless look as he replied, "Yes father."
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Not wasting any time, Michael walked to the door and glanced at his bag before leaving without even taking it up. Soon, he had left the building in entirety.
Norman looked at the door in silence for a bit, but soon, he shook his head. He turned to the trembling Nadia and spoke coldly, "Che! I have no time to continue cleaning up after children. You are all adults now, so let this be a lesson; if you perform in the same standard as him, I shall give you the same treatment..."
After saying this, Norman soon after left the room, leaving the tear-filled Nadia who stared through the windows as she spoke in a sad tone, "Were we really wrong? Why did it come to this?"
Nadia continued to wallow in self-pity, but no matter what she asked herself, there would be no one to give her answers.
At a distance away from the Keller compound, Michael was traveling towards a random direction with no purpose. His eyes seemed dead as if he'd lost touch with everything. Eventually, he shuffled from the streets into a lonely alley, filled with the stench of garbage. It seemed that even the cities cleaning drones didn't venture to these parts, causing it to accumulate a staggering level of waste.
Michael looked at this indifferently; he wandered deeply inside before halting in front of a dead end. He stared at the wall filled with graffiti as he muttered to himself, "Am I wrong? Are my beliefs nothing more than a childish tantrum? Was it wrong to strive for his attention and praise? Did even my battles against Joe and that blasted Evan had any single meaning?"
Upon thinking here, he couldn't help but recall those memories from two years ago. He lifted his head and laughed like a mad man, "Hahahaha!"
Yet, despite his laughter, one could feel a deep wave of sorrow within, as his eyes were currently running like water. Michael fell to his knees and started to cry like a child that had done something wrong as he spoke.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I didn't mean it; I only wanted praise! I only wanted everyone to accept me and see me as they do you!"
He cried for a while before banging his fists onto the ground. Not long after, he turned himself over and laid down on the dirty ground. His eyes stared at the towering futuristic buildings as he looked at the clear blue skies when he muttered, "Maybe... a failure like me should just vanish in the end..."
At this point, Michael had closed his eyes, not wanting to have anything to do with the world again. He seemed intent on sleeping here till the end of his days, but it was at this moment as the voice sounded.
"Well now, isn't this interesting. Your talent is barely adequate, but it should do just nicely..."
Michael was shocked; he opened his eyes looked around, but to his surprise, the previously bright day had turned as dark as night. The alley in which he rested was now one of pure darkness, as a gloomy aura saturated the air.
"Wha-what's going on? Who's there?" Michael shouted to try and hide his fear.
The voice chuckled before it replied, "Fear is an instinct to all creatures, it's good, this will only make it easier..."
Michael quickly rose to his feet and ran, while he thought, "Oh shit! I don't know what the hell this is, but I have to get away!"
While thinking this, his face was filled with panic, but soon, Michael realized that despite running in one direction for an extended period, he couldn't leave the alley.
"How could this be? You, what do you want from me? Who the hell are you?" Michael, who was now not far away from breaking down mentally, shouted as he looked around madly, trying to find his stalker.
The scene was one of silence as the voice didn't speak for a while. Michael started to tremble due to uncanny silence. However, this soon changed when he heard a series of calm footsteps behind him.
Step! Step! Step!
The sound was so audible it seemed as if it began to sync with his being, causing Michael to become a bit dazed, his consciousness seemed as if it were fading from reality.
"Wh... what's... happening... to me?" Michael questioned in a weak tone as he fell to his knees and placed his palms on the ground, he struggled to keep balanced as he stared at the source of the footsteps.
As if he was waiting for this moment, the person had finally made an appearance. A man that couldn't be identified, garbed in a thick robe, with his face covered by a mask.
Michael struggled to stare at this person and opened his mouth to speak, but he now found it hard even to say a single word.
The masked man chuckled as he spoke again, "Prey should have the consciousness of its kind; it shouldn't question the actions of its predator. For now, let's just say that I, am a predator."
As he spoke, he reached his arm towards Michael, causing the scene before him to change. To Michael, all he saw was a massive palm that stretched from the darkness before it enveloped his vision, the last thing he saw was a set of cold red eyes that shone from behind the masked individual.
Soon, the scene here had returned to normal as the darkness vanished, and the brilliance of day had returned. The previous scene would forever remain unknown to the world.