7th Ring, Sector 12, Baker Street, 3rd Residential Complex; Hancent had returned home an hour ago, looking exhausted. He was down in the dumps after consuming a Cleansement Fruit. This meant that he could no longer grow stronger in the future; his cultivation had come to a stop. Moreover, he had almost lost control, endangering the citizens.
If a Wave Controller like him were to lose control and turn into a monster that craves flesh and blood, just the amount of lives that he could kill in a second numbered in the hundreds. After all, the regular populace only ranged between Tier 1 and Tier 2 in strength. As a result, he had to submit a written apology to the military, paying a fine and also losing most of the contribution points he had accumulated over the past decade.
'A Wave Controller is my limit; that too, one of the weaker Wave Controllers. If only I could hold out for another year; then, I might have stood a chance to become a Ground Controller, becoming an elite of the society.' Hancent sighed, slumping on the sofa in the living room, intending to sleep.
A ringtone buzzed as the TV in the living room flashed to life, displaying the affiliation of the Medical Corps. Curious about the caller, Hancent accepted the call. The visage of a middle-aged lady came into view, donned in a nurse outfit. Her hair was tied into a bun, making her look a tad younger.
"Are you the parent of Jyorta Bone? Your son has been admitted at the Lotus Stalk Hospital, after having suffered an injury from a teacher who lost control. He's currently being treated by the best doctor in Ring 7, so no worries. We still have some formalities to consider, so, it's for the best if you hurry to the location right now."
"S-Sure, I'll be there right away." Hancent gaped at the lady in shock, his confusion making him unable to react for a couple of seconds. He hurriedly wore his overcoat, picked up his Id card, and rushed to the hospital, his expression warped.
'Today is such a calamitous day, dammit.' Hancent passed a message to old man Bone on the way, his patience stretched thin as he waited for a metro train heading to Sector 1 to arrive.
Sector 1, Hancent alighted at the appropriate station, dashing towards the hospital after having learnt of its location in advance. Lotus Stalk Hospital was a hospital governed by the Medicine Corps, filled with Espers possessing the unranked skill 'Regen'. They typically took care of healing the injured soldiers that returned from war and citizens that were injured during disasters. The incident with the language teacher also fell under the category of disasters.
The Hospital stood tall, looking similar to the skyscrapers surrounding it, the only difference being the large '+' sign in red, situated in the middle. The words 'Lotus Stalk Hospital' were placed below it, made from banners that fluttered with the wind, creating an odd, but unique feature. Hancent rushed into its entrance, making an enquiry at the reception.
After getting a confirmation, Hancent boarded a lift, tapping his fingers on his arms, displaying his nervousness and impatience. After what felt like an hour, the lift reached the designated floor, making Hancent take quick steps. It was forbidden to run in the hospital, irrespective of the reason. So, he could only grit his teeth, making use of the fastest walking pace available to him, proceeding at the limits of speed allowed by the hospital.
Reaching the special ward, Hancent yanked the door open in a hurry, barging in to see a nurse reading the vitals in a machine. Next to her lay an unconscious Jyorta, looking perfectly healthy. Noticing his appearance, the nurse looked into a register, confirming his relationship with the patient.
"As you can see, his body is in perfect condition thanks to Madam Mary who arrived at the scene on time. But, as for his mind, we cannot predict future developments as of yet. He is currently in a vegetative state."
"How…did this happen?" Hancent placed his hand over Jyorta's head, brushing aside a couple of strands of his hair, feeling the vitality coursing through his body. For some reason, Hancent felt the strength in his body ebbing away, making his legs lose their balance. The nurse came to his help, propping him up without much effort, seating him in a chair, and pushing it next to the bed.
"Apparently, his teacher lost control during class hours, injuring the students. Thankfully, your son was lucky. In a class of thirty students, there were only 3 survivors in total. Even their survival was thanks to the efforts of the Principal and the Vice-Principal who subdued the creature and rescued the survivors, ensuring they didn't bleed to death until Madam Mary arrived at the scene."
"When will…Jyorta wake up?" Hancent inquired, having restored some of his calm after noticing Jyorta's perfectly intact body. As a matter of fact, it was healthier than a day before.
"We have no idea as of present. The doctors are trying their best to treat him." The nurse replied, proceeding with her work, leaving some time alone for Hancent to be with his son.
"The news of your Bone family gaining Aristocratic status will be made official tomorrow. You would have to make a trip to Central Command and receive the deed personally from Rhachis Ancestor Light. In light of your contribution, the Ancestor will also reward you accordingly. Please make preparations to present yourself with care." Wunris Marble said. He was the only one present at the Bone family mansion among the five Administrators.
"That would be my honour," Old man Bone bowed, expressing his heartfelt emotions. After making note of several points, and having exchanged pleasantries, old man Bone bade farewell to Wunris Marble, heaving a sigh filled exhaustion after the man had disappeared from view.
"I might have a nervous breakdown at this rate. I should present myself at my very best in front of Rhachis Ancestor Light tomorrow. This is a pivotal point in history; I should ensure that it is perfectly executed." Old man Bone muttered. His monologue was then interrupted by a servant who passed Hancent's message to him.
"Dammit! The moment I took my eyes off him, something happened to him." Old man Bone rushed to the hospital, intending to check the status of Jyorta. He still hadn't made sense of the abnormality prevalent in Jyorta, nor could he actually sense it, despite seeing it a couple of times.
'Wouldn't people generally assume the kid to be innately gifted? Theoretically, Jyorta is perfectly healthy.' Old man Bone thought, entering the room, gazing at the child that slept atop the bed, sporting a peaceful expression.
'Theoretically, he is perfectly healthy. Theoretically,' Old man Bone looked into the readings retrieved by the nurse, calculating the numbers and graphs displayed in it. After some time had passed in such a manner, old man Bone retracted his gaze.
He observed Hancent who sat still, like a statue, having not detected his arrival despite it being 10-15 minutes since his appearance. Moreover, he hadn't tried to mask his presence, openly engaging in a conversation with the stationed nurse. Even then, Hancent hadn't noticed him.
'He's lost it,' Just when the thought occurred in his mind, old man Bone noticed the door to the room open as an old woman walked in. Though, the moment she detected him, she stood rooted to the spot, the air around her filled with dense killing intent. The atmosphere within the room changed, looking similar to the mouth of a volcano.
Faced with the brunt of the aura, the nurse and Hancent directly vomited blood, their bodies creaking in response, looking like they might burst any second. Old man Bone stood before them, releasing his aura to counteract the woman's, shielding them from it. The floor cracked, large swathes of concrete fell, and the steel beams that made up the skeletal structure of the hospital building showed signs of cracks, alarming all the doctors.
"Why are you here?" The old woman, Madam Mary questioned, her eyes spewing venomous hatred, looking ready to rip apart the man before her.
"My grandson almost died. I came to check up on him." Old man Bone replied, looking unperturbed under her gaze.
"Ha?" Madam Mary paused in shock for a second before bursting into a fit of laughter, the sounds of which echoed all across the Hospital, reverberating in the air, travelling further across Sector 1. "Since when have you bothered about your descendants? Last time I checked, you cooked them for breakfast."
"You are one to talk. You abandoned your son in pursuit of strength…" Old man Bone retorted.
"Don't you dare!" Madam Mary emitted a blast of energy, pressing down on old man Bone from all sides, intending to crust him. "Don't you dare mention my son. It was you! You murdered him!"
"Hah," Old man Bone flinched his shoulders, extricating himself from the pressure. "You sure have become weaker. I don't even need to use my Unranked Skill for something like this."
"So, you've completed it." Madam Mary nodded in realisation, snickering with disdain. "So what? That doesn't change the fact that you are weak, weak when you are most required. I can crush you like an insect, anytime I desire."
Veins protruded across his forehead, making him lose his cool. "Let me see you try."
The bones in Madam Mary's body produced creaking sounds, grinding into dust. Some parts began to show an overgrowth, forming spikes that pierced into her internal organs. Madam Mary smirked, wrapping herself in a psychic barrier, blocking his influence on her bones. The energy formed blades, severing the spikes and removing them from her body. With a flash of blue light, her body healed back, reverting to its pristine condition.
The severed spikes disappeared, penetrating the body of old man Bone, drilling into his flesh and exploding into numerous pieces. Old man Bone grunted, dissolving the bone fragments, and absorbing them into his skeletal frame. With a flash, he disappeared from his position, slamming a punch at Madam Mary.
His fist paused a foot before her, stopped by a formless force. The resulting shockwave from his punch seared the air, igniting it into flames, blocked by a barrier Madam Mary had erected, covering the duo, and redirecting the heat at old man Bone. The high-temperature flames failed to burn his skin as old man Bone sent another punch her way.
"Now, you're showing your true colours. You never cared about your so-called family. They are just guinea pigs, serving as research material to increase your pitiful strength." Madam Mary mocked, pulling the two away from the Hospital, breaking numerous walls in the process, creating a path to the top.
The two exchanged blows, neither moving an inch from their places, the air surrounding them a sea of flames, shielded from affecting the environment by another barrier. A formless force pulled them to the sky, raising their altitude.
A kilometre from the ground floated a mass of formless force, coagulated in a barrier that shielded the city from the Frenzy Beasts mounting attacks from the air. It also had defensive capabilities capable of attacking the foes, created and maintained by Psychic Ancestor Marble.
As the duo approached the barrier, a voice penetrated the two-layered barrier Madam Mary had erected, echoing around them, "Control yourselves. I'll kill you if you so much as make a scratch on the barrier."
"Yes, Ancestor Marble." Old man Bone bowed, sending a sidekick towards Madam Mary. He controlled himself, directing his kick away from the barrier.
"Screw off! Once I'm done with this creep, you're next." Madam Mary howled, carrying the duo, making a hole in the barrier, and flying towards Wild Zone 1.
"…" Heaving out a forlorn sigh, a formless force coagulated around the region, mending the crack in the wall.