At this moment, the team which had only recently ended a fierce battle was resting. They sat around an artificial bonfire that burned at the center of a camping platform that floated on the moor's lake.
Looking closely, one would see that this fire had come from an open slot on this metallic structure. Above this flame was a grill with the parts of a familiar-looking creature. A long tail, jaw, tenderloin, and even ribs were shimmering above the flames; the meat turned into a luscious color of brown as the fat dripped down into the fires, wafting a wondrous scent about the air.
With a loud sniffing sound, a blond-haired fat man took a deep whiff as he licked his lips while stirring the fire as and sung, "Barbeque yay! Barbeque all the way! Even if I'm sad, give me barbeque, and I'm okaaaay!"
Breya and Layla looked at Fatty Joe with a hint of surprise on their faces. They didn't know he liked to sing at such times.
Breya teased, "Well, I didn't think you could sing; must be the only good gift of yours comparable to your cooking. No wonder your so... fat."
Fatty Joe smirked at this and slapped his belly as he replied, "A good man knows how to eat, I am his better, I can eat, cook, sing, and I know how to make money. Most times, I wonder, why am I such a perfect man? Sigh... Breya, don't worry, if someday you're lonely and hungry, you can be sure that'll be able to feed you right."
Breya's arm slightly trembled at this as she looked at Fatty Joe with a new look, her large eyes narrowed as they intensely gazed at the fatback as if she wanted to see through his soul. She was no shy girl; as such, this look was no different from the kind that a seasoned predator would give its prey; it's a good thing the target of such sights, however, focused on cooking.
Layla, who noticed Breya's look, couldn't help but think to herself, "I'm afraid that this fellow has provoked the wrong type of female... I fear for his future."
She had moments like these, but she was less of an impulse type and knew how to control her own emotions to a certain extent, or so she believed.
At this time, a slight rumbling sound was heard as Emilia could be seen rubbing her flat belly as she asked, "Brother, is it ready yet? I'm hungry..."
Fatty Joe hearing her turned and replied with a smile, "Emmy, you need to be a little patient for perfection cannot be rushed. Also, this time I'll be taking the tenderloin, you can have the ribs..."
As Emilia heard his words, her face changed as she looked at him thoughtfully and asked in an icy tone, "What was that?"
Fatty Joe had only now realized his mistake in his tone; he trembled as and replied, "Eh? Ah, my cute little Emmy, I was a bit confused just now, what I meant to say was that the tenderloin is for my adorable little sister."
Emilia wrinkled her nose and snorted as she replied, "Hmph!"
It seemed that now she'd grown a bit more comfortable around others, she wasn't wary of her little sister temper being discovered.
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Both Layla and Breya looked at Emilia in surprise, Breya seemed to have found a kindred spirit while Layla stared at Fatty Joe with a pitiful look as she thought, "With two tyrants, his future will be one of many hurdles."
As Layla thought this, a whooshing sound was heard as both Evan and Rick had only now appeared. They had wanted to help them in the battle earlier but decided that it would have been best to let them finish it on their own.
Evan looked at Emilia with a hint of surprise on his face, as he showed a similar look of pity to Fatty Joe, but as for Rick, his face seemed to be one of fascination.
"So cute..." Rick thought to himself as it seemed that he liked this type of Emilia even more.
Breya was the first to notice their arrival, she gave Evan a look and nodded with a smile as if saying mission complete.
Fatty Joe and the others soon after noticed their arrival, as the first one to speak was Layla, who asked, "Evan, where did you and Rick go?"
Emilia also looked over with a curious look on her face, Evan smiled and replied, "There was far more mutated swamp life that we'd initially thought, we had to venture deeper in the swamps to prevent them."
"Oh, I see," Layla replied, she didn't know how strong they were but only knew that they were far more capable than the rest of them.
Evan looked at everyone before he spoke again, "Still, although I was a bit preoccupied, I noticed most of what was happening here. You guys did great, that mutant was only one step away from achieving Level 1. I can tell that you guys are now ready for the rift, if you defeat enough monsters of that standard or a bit weaker, you'll be able to awaken. The classes you'll gain shall also depend on the difficultly of the quests you receive from the rift you are challenging."
Everyone remained silent as they knew Evan was informing them of crucial information, as Fatty Joe listened, he asked, "Evan, what kind of rift is this one? Is it possible to provide a class for so many of us?"
Rick was also a bit puzzled; he knows that the most a rift could give were one class per person who challenge and defeated it alone. Breya also had a similar line of thought as she looked at Evan curiously.
Evan looked at everyone before shifting his eyes onto the distant rift that stood among the swamp waters. His eyes refracted the lights as he replied, "That's correct, in normal Lesser Spaces you can only gain one unique class after clearing it. Even if that space was cleared by someone else, by entering it and training within, you could awaken and unlock a class one step inferior to the person who first cleared it. This space, however, is different; it is what many would term as a Raid Space..."
Rick and Breya showed looks of astonishment, while Fatty Joe, Layla, and Emilia had curious looks. Both Layla and Emilia looked at the portal in the distance with a somewhat hesitant look, but they soon gripped their fists with a determined look.
Evan seeing their looks nodded, he clapped his hand to get their attention as he spoke, "Good, now let's finish up here, we'll be entering that realm once we've finished eating."
"Right!" Everyone agreed as Fatty Joe, who had only now finished cooking, began to share the crocodile meat. Evan's eyes shifted from them, turning back to the rift as he thought with a sly smile on his face, "Eat well, for the next moments is where your hellish training shall begin."
The world grew quiet once more, as he silently looked at the innocent lambs that ate without a care in the world.
Within the City of EarlingStar, inside of the Morning Star Academy.
Currently, the private lab was still quite active; the scientist here didn't seem to need any sleep as they continued to work around the clock, evaluating a myriad of data.
The core room was currently filled with stacks of paper as a giant holographic screen was before Alton, who was at this time speaking with someone over face time. It was a familiar-looking red-haired man dressed in a suit as he sat with both of his legs crossed over.
Alton looked at the man and asked hesitantly, "Chief, are you certain about this?"
The man behind the screen frowned as he spoke coldly, "Are you questioning my decision, Alton?"
Alton trembled as he swallowed his saliva, he replied humbly, "No... I would never,"
The man nodded and spoke, "That's more like it, now then, as I've said before the world briefing will have to be held a little sooner than planned. Since the Ascenders Rift has already been discovered, it's only better to make our appearance at this time. Another thing, I won't be making an appearance, I'll be sending my right arm as well as the newly instated Number Zero to act as our represents. Your task right now is only to do as I've instructed you, find that boy again, and probe his limits. If my aid had not reported of his strangeness, I won't have care about him but I do not want another Alan to rise from the shadows..."
After saying this, the screen went black as now a series of lists had appeared on the screen. At the very top of this list, was a check marked document with a few familiar faces listed.
Looking at them closely, one would see that they were Angeline, Breya, Thomas, Hank, Evan, and a few others. The faces of everyone else were crossed out, leaving only a large red circle around Evan's head.
Alton narrowed his eyes and muttered, "Well, I guess it can't be helped, besides it's only another probe I doubt anything will go wrong. Since we know that the bunch from the MSS had gone to a different Lesser Space, there's no need to worry about them any longer. I hope this Evan is the key person we've been searching for... the only troublesome thing is finding where he's gone."
Alton then rose to his feet and left the room before calling on Marcus and Donna. The trio then left behind a series of instructions before they left the building and vanished in the night.
Not long after Alton and his party left, a slender and beautiful silhouette had appeared within his main room. She glanced over the documents and at the face on the screen as she spoke in a voice only she could hear, "So it was as I've thought, they narrowed it down to that child in the end. Not that he needs any protection, it's still a bit troublesome. Since we've already gathered all that we needed from here, I think it's better to give them a little distraction, for now at least."
As the woman thought to here, she spoke softly, "Hank, Thomas,"
As if they heard her words, two figures appeared out of the blue, the fat Hank and the skinny Thomas. They looked at Angeline and spoke, "You called Ange?"
Angeline nodded while pointing at the documents in the room and speaking, "Thomas, I want you to send these back to Alan... don't send it to the sector just yet."
Thomas made a puzzled face as he spoke, "Hmm? Why not?"
Angeline glanced at him and spoke, "You're not telling me you've forgotten, have you? We don't know if there's any among our sector that's a spy; for now, its best we only send back the necessary details that they've requested. Later we can leak bits of this info, to slowly root out the spies from within our ranks."
"Hmm, fine," Thomas said after thinking for a while.
Angeline then looked at Hank, who was staring at her as she smiled and spoke, "Hank, let's go give them a show."
Hank, hearing this licked his lips as he pulled out three masks and a few weapons from his backpack and answered, "Haha, I couldn't have it any other way."
The air grew slightly cold, as a stunning development was about to occur.