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Dyon didn't wait, he leapt from the table and flashed toward the door. Jason had wanted to stop him and go first, but Dyon was too fast. By the time Jason got to the door, he surprisingly found Dyon walking back to him as though nothing had happened.

"Did something happen with Clara?" Jason asked worriedly.

"Nothing much, she just went to the bathroom. Since I can't go in there, I had no choice but to come back. Lecture?" Dyon asked, pointing toward the room.

Hearing that Clara had gone into the bathroom, Jason knew he could only give up too. So, he hung his head, re-entering the classroom. He didn't know what was wrong or what had happened between Dyon and Clara, but he was determined to find out.

What Jason didn't know was that he had spoken to and entered into the class with Dyon's clone. The real Dyon had long since followed Clara to the girl's bathroom, making use of his concealment array.

**

Clara walked at a steady pace into the bathroom, quickly finding a stall and sitting on the toilet's cap. She didn't really need to use the bathroom, but at least here, only Penelope could bother her. But, after a couple years of friendship, Penelope knew that Clara mostly just needed time alone for now.

Taking a deep breath, Clara pulled out her laptop. It was quite an old model, but she had never changed it. In fact, despite it being so old, almost ten years in fact, it still ran just as fast as modern models despite having not had its hardware upgraded in that time.

She smiled thinking back to how much of a hassle it had been for the white house to deal with.

Whenever a new family moved into the White House, they normally had to have all of their devices dealt with – meaning special protections had to be put in place. But, the laptop, despite its appearance, was so advanced that even the White House technicians had problems with it. They had pleaded for Clara to switch to another model, but she had refused, insisting on keeping it.

"You sill have that old thing?"

Clara jumped. Startled by the clearly masculine voice before she saw Dyon leaning against the stall door in front of her.

"What are you doing here? This is the girl's bathroom, what if someone sees you?" Clara's cold eyes flashed.

"You know, there's something in the martial world called array alchemy that would suit you very much. It allows me to put up barriers that block out vision and hearing."

"How does it work?" A curious light sparkled in Clara's usually cold eyes.

"If you can believe it, it uses the soul to power your ability to draw symbols. Each of these symbols shifts the law around the point you draw it on. So, I can distort reality by making it seem like no one is in this stall at all."

"The soul? It exists?" Clara had seemingly forgotten that she wasn't on the best of terms with Dyon. Her curiosity was piqued.

"I think the only reason we haven't found scientific evidence of things like the soul and meridians is because they've been locked away from us."

"Locked away…" Clara

"Here." Dyon lowered his finger to tap on the edge of the laptop screen and a gold light began to flash.

"No wait!"

Dyon froze, tilting his head in confusion.

"Leave it as is. I don't want to change it." Then, in a voice Dyon would have definitely never heard had it not been for his cultivation, she continued. "Newer is not always better…"

"This is my fault." Dyon said, tapping on the cracked bezels of laptop. He remembered back to the day he had dropped Clara's laptop, trying to show off. He had wanted to prove that he could create a better laptop than any in current existence, but Clara had wrestled with him until they dropped it.

Clara had cried because that was the last gift her mother had ever given her before she died, so it was suffice to say that Dyon felt horrible.

He insisted on fixing it, but Clara had said then that she didn't want him to fix the crack. "Only the insides." She had said.

"It was a long time ago," Clara whispered, looking down at the dull light of her laptop screen. "Do you think the martial world could do it?..."

"Save your mother, you mean?" Dyon took a deep breath.

"You know why I showed up to that trial, right?" Clara laughed bitterly, "There was such a stigma around going to those trials. People are still saying that only crazy dreamers hope to leave to go to the martial world."

Dyon silently listened. Clara was right. After hundreds to probably even thousands of years of not a single human being chosen, many had given up on even attending. There were of course still a few hundred who insisted on trying every year, but a few hundred in the population of billions was a drop in the bucket.

So, the year Clara had gone, President Gallagher had taken a huge hit on his presidential campaign. The news outlets berated him for instilling improper values in his daughter and that he somehow made her lose faith in their system, so she wanted to run off to a whole new world.

"In a way, the media was right though." Clara continued. "This world is sick and I have lost faith in it… Something like cancer took my mother's life away, and yet we can build buildings that reach kilometers into the sky, and send man to space, and even have little tiny devices that help us talk to people across the world. And yet, what use is any of those things when we can't even live past 80 years old? What use is those things when even with that short amount of time, your life can be taken away even before then? What use is it all?…"

Clara sighed, "So, I showed up. Hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe, I'd be chosen. Then I could go off to a new world and find a way to bring back cures we just don't have… I've worked so hard… Studied so hard to become a doctor… But what use is any of it when I'm just learning the same things the people who couldn't save my mother knew?..." Clara's voice grew more horse as she continued, it was clear that her cold demeanor was slowly shattering. She had never said these things aloud… At least not when she was old enough to put real thought into them. When she was young, all she had done was fight and wrestle with Dyon. That was how she vented.

But now? Coldness was her shield.

"You know, I have a meeting with my dad everyday." Clara looked up at Dyon. "I would call it a father-daughter date, but it really doesn't feel like a date. And, without fail, it gets cut short everyday… He doesn't think I know, but I know it's because he calls for his secretary to come in early." Clara chuckled bitterly. "I can't blame him. His daughter is practically a mannequin. Or, at least that's what I thought until I found out one day that it's because he can't fake being healthy for too long." Clara looked down, gritting her teeth.

"Clara? What do you mean fake being healthy?" Dyon's brows furrowed, a serious expression flashing.

"My dad has lung cancer. He can't sit for more than ten minutes without going into a fit of coughs. I wouldn't have even known had I not forgotten my phone in his office one day… But then I pretended not to know… I pretended not to know Dyon. I wanted to do everything I could to ignore it." Clara's shoulders trembled, but her eyes remained cold, her teeth clenching tightly against each other.

"And he won't go through chemotherapy. I know he won't. If he does, he wouldn't be able to finish his term and the country would be in chaos. He's literally sacrificing himself for this shit world." Clara looked up, her cold eyes glistening. "So tell me, why shouldn't I give up on this world and look for a new one?"

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Awespec

  • Canada
  • Awespec

Bio: Med school student who loves to write :)

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