Hearing this name that had been referred to in front of him multiple times already, Aaron's eyes lit up as he was looking forward to finding out more about all the mysteries of the world.
All of this still seemed…ethereal. As if he was in a waking dream that he wished wouldn't end.
Many times, especially in situations where it had looked like that was it for the two of them, Aaron used to wonder whether this was all there was to life. Hunting, running, sleeping. Years of his life had gone by doing just those three things, and it would have been surprising if it hadn't gotten monotonous.
Still, he had always been grateful for Woof, who stood by him no matter what danger threatened to end their lives. On multiple occasions, Woof could have run away to save its own life, but it had stayed back to help protect him. These fights were mostly the reasons behind the many scars on its body, which were hidden underneath its snowy-white fur.
It wasn't just him: the eyes of the rest of the children also started to shine when the woman mentioned that name.
Seeing this, Jenny chuckled and continued.
"Yes, Teras. I know all of you have been hearing that word since you were born, but I bet most of you don't know about how it came to be. Well, it's time for you to find out."
Saying so, Jenny first led the group to the second rectangular plaque on the wall, on which there was a picture of a globe that was very different from the one they had seen before.
There were two images of it: one showing each side, and it looked as if the entire landmass had shifted into just three regions, unlike before when there had been many.
"Before that, let's see what the Earth changed into after the core quieted down. The tectonic movements and the heat of the core which reached the surface caused much of the oceans to evaporate, resulting in a planet with much more land than before. In essence, the figures shifted: where before there had been 70% water and 30% landmass, after the apocalypse, the ratios shifted to more than 70% landmass and 30% water. Some say that the size of the Earth, itself, changed."
The way the woman phrased each sentence allowed the children and Aaron to imagine and understand just how much of a drastic change this was.
Many gasped with shock, while others 'aaaw'd and 'ooo'd.
"What you see before you is the final form of the Earth. Yes, each landmass is in the shape of an orange peel. In technical terms, the shape is called an 'ellipse' with the top and bottom end being pointy. Three such ellipses lie side by side across the Earth, with oceans between them. These 3 oceans meet at their top and bottom at the two massive, round arctic areas which retained their names from the pre-apocalyptic times: the North Pole and the South Pole."
Hearing so many details, confused expressions appeared on the children's faces.
Some even started to enter a daze as they tried to understand everything the woman had said.
Laughing out loud on noticing this, Jenny said, "Leave all of that. I get a bit carried away because it's so fascinating. You just need to know that there are three major continents which are separated by oceans. Got it?"
The children all chimed the answer, feeling happy that they didn't need to study what these 'ellipses' were.
Aaron, on the other hand, just nodded and followed along.
He had understood what an ellipse was the moment the woman uttered the word. A few facts about the north and south pole even started to surface in his mind, such as the fact that the conditions there, which had been hostile even before the apocalypse, were even more extreme now. No human could step foot there normally and not freeze to death, no matter how many layers of clothes they wore for protection.
Initially, Aaron had only been excited about finding out more about the world, but now, as he saw that what he was learning was triggering more memories to leak from the 'wall', he truly felt that that fluke accident that had led them in this direction had truly been a stroke of fortune for him.
With his eyes wide open, he followed along with the group as they were led to the next mosaic.
This one was of someone from his species, a human, using a spear to keep a large monster at bay.
This monster was more unique than any Aaron had ever seen. At its base, it had 6 legs, three on each side, while it's upper body had a scaled torso followed by numerous grotesque tentacles sprouting from where its head was supposed to be.
In other words, it seemed to be something straight out of nightmares.
Seeing this terrifying being, a few children covered their eyes with their hands, but many actually showed courageous expressions, as if they weren't afraid of it.
"Yes, yes, I know some of you saw this beast many times when you sneaked in here. These…were the first Teras. The leftover radiation from whatever had caused the apocalypse was at a very high level at that time, resulting in extreme mutations of existing species that even gave these beings intelligence that could be comparable to us. That was also when this name was given to them. Originally, they were just going to be called monsters, but the leaders of humanity then, who had risen up to take charge when no one else was willing to, decided that a specific name was needed to differentiate these special. They derived the name from an ancient language called 'Greek', in which the word 'Teras' meant 'monster'. Adapting it, these intelligent monsters started to be called 'Tera's. All of you must understand something. In this world, Teras exist, but so do beasts. Beasts are those which have deranged minds that only give them the urge to ingest food and procreate. They are not capable of higher level thought. Teras are those beasts which are capable of thinking beyond that level. Believe me, this distinction is very simple. A beast would try to eat you even if it saw that you were capable of killing it. A Tera, on the other hand, would stalk you and wait for you to let up your defenses before striking and ending your life in one go."
This finally caused the courageous expressions to crack.
Right now, that tentacled monster looked much more terrifying, causing the children to slink back.
Meanwhile, Aaron turned to look toward Woof, who looked back at him lazily.
Yes, there were definitely differences.
In the forest, there had been many instances where they encountered intelligent beings, like Woof, who would wait for an opportunity to guarantee a kill. But there were also other beings which would charge without any thought. Against these beings, traps would work, as they had no intelligence whatsoever. Often, these beings ended up being the major food source for the other ones.
So…Woof was a Tera?
"The main threat that humanity faced after the natural disasters died down was these Teras, who came to rule the Earth. They were capable of commanding the other beasts, and they used these beasts to rain down attack after attack on the last havens in which humanity was holed up."
The next picture showed that same tentacled beast…No, Tera standing behind a horde of creatures of various types while groups of humans were trying to fight back using simple weapons.
"Miss, I heard that humans had so many weapons that could have easily killed all of those creatures? Why didn't we use them?"
"I'm glad you asked that, little girl. The answer is simple. The apocalypse had caused far more changes than anyone could ever have imagined. The elements that we were familiar with were all gone. In their place, new ones had appeared, with different molecular makeups. The iron we used in the industrial age no longer had the properties of strength. Gunpowder was no longer capable of explosively releasing energy. Uranium couldn't be used to make nuclear bombs anywhere. I know all of these terms sound strange, but bear with me. You'll be learning about them later, in history classes. To sum it up, humanity had once again returned to the stone age, where we only knew that stone was hard and could be used as a weapon, and that burning wood gave fire. Yet, we didn't perish. Because we obtained different weapons."
Saying so, Jenny raised her hand into the air.
Aaron, whose back had been slouched till now suddenly straightened himself up on seeing the similarity between this pose and what the Chief had done earlier.
Yes! He had been right!
Again, a shining, white gem appeared out of nowhere between the knuckles on her right hand before flashing like a star.
A large butterfly the size of a human's head appeared in the air, and as it flapped its wings, a gust of wind blew back the hair on Aaron's head.
Support "Age of Teras: Monster Evolution"
I'm an aspiring author who fell in love with writing the moment I wrote my first story.
Most Notable Work: World Domination System, an 800,000 word ongoing fantasy novel which can be found at https://www.webnovel.com/book/11413811606356705/World-Domination-System