Upon a long stump sat an old man in a robe. His short white beard was trimmed to perfection. Even the spectacles that sat on the bridge of his nose was perfectly cleaned and the lens were spotless.
On his lap was a large book. From the outside, the book looked like a large ancient tome. The pale yellow pages crinkled as he flipped them. The book gave one the feeling that it was an ancient artifact.
In front of the old man sat half a dozen teenagers. From the look of their equipment, they were adventurers. Some placed their weapon down beside them as they sat down to listen.
The old man was narrating a story.
It was a story about a hero.
A tale of true love, a tale of friendship, a tale of victory.
It was the tale that everyone loved, where happy endings are guaranteed.
The old man finished his story and slowly closed the book.
He looked up at his audience and smiled.
One of the teenagers raised their hand.
The old man nodded.
[Teen1]: Hey gramps, what’s with the crappy plot? The hero really has a stupidly thick plot armor huh? It seemed everything just fell right into his lap from the start!
The old man nearly vomited blood. Yes, this old man was indeed, the Sage of time.
[Sage]: You kids these days don’t get fantasies anymore!
[Teen1]: Well duh, we are almost living in one. We have been slashing and stabbing wolfs all morning. Lots of good loot and exp!
[Sage]: Back in my day we didn’t have adventuring! All we had was a dead end 9-5 job with responsibilities!
[Teen1]: Times change old man, why bother with light heroes when the dark ones are so much cooler.
[Sage]: You dam kids and your chuunbi illnesses!
The teens took turn stabbing at the sage’s story.
After having their fill of laughter, they left the sage enraged and saltier than a life time supply of canned sardines.
One of the younger teen stayed behind.
The kid looked no older than 13.
[Kid]: Hey old man, why do all the good things happen to the heroes no matter what?
The Sage calmed and coughed.
[Sage]: Let me tell you this, it is not because of the story that the hero always wins, but rather because the hero always wins that there can be a story in the first place.
[Sage]: Think about it kid.
The confused young teen wandered away to join his group.
From behind a tree Maximus stepped out with a smug smirk.
[Maximus]: Thick plot armor huh?
[Sage]: Shut it you…
The two have continued their travels deep into the Wild.
They are still within the borders due to the sheer size of the Wild and their lack of vehicle. The number of people have not lessen at all since the opening. In fact more and more people flood from the seven continents into the Wild to enjoy the thrill of an adventure.
[Maximus]: How far away are we from the closest seal?
[Sage]: About two weeks by foot.
[Maximus]: Which seal is it?
Maximus rubbed his chin and nodded.
[Maximus]: Never thought I would have to go back there…
[Sage]: None of us did.
The two solemnly look at the ground.
Their journey went smoothly for the next two weeks. Nothing could really threaten them as they are currently at the pinnacle of the human race.
Upon reaching their destination, camp was set and the two stared at the monument, reminiscing about the past.
The monument was a two meter tall slab of white limestone. On it were carvings similar to that of a tomb stone.
A melancholy Maximus stood in front of it and gentle brushed the monument.
[Maximus]: I’m back honey. Sorry I didn’t visit…
The Sage also walked up to the monument.
[Sage]: Hey, Lauren. Long time no chat. It’s been several hundred years huh?
He took out a gourd of alcohol and poured a third onto the ground in front of the monument.
[Sage]: Let’s drink, for old times’ sake.
He hands Maximus the alcohol and taking a chug.
Maximus drank deeply and handed the gourd back to the Sage.
The two men sat on the ground in front of the monument and chatted.
Days go by. The weather always clear. Not a single cloud could disturb their reunion.
Finally, after a week of talking, they have finally caught up.
[Maximus]: Lauren…wait for me. I’m coming soon.
The Sage wide eyed, turned to Maximus.
[Sage]: How long?
[Maximus]: A year, at best two.
[Sage]: So its time huh? What about your pupil?
[Maximus]: She already received my training from her timeline. I don’t have any more to teach her.
[Sage]: Ascension huh?
[Maximus]: Yep. When someone of our caliber finally break that mortal bottleneck, we ascend.
[Sage]: Oh how few of us remain…
[Maximus]: Only five…and Chaos.
[Sage]: *sighs* so few…I worry about who will guard the human race when we all have left.
[Maximus]: Isn’t that why we take disciples?
[Sage]: Hmm. True. But I worry about mine. It took me quite a long time to actually find someone who had a hint of time attribute. I worry that by my time of ascension, she won’t be ready to take on my position.
[Maximus]: But wait, can’t you just make one of those pocket dimension of yours and teach her there?
[Sage]: At the current saturation level I can only speed time up to make a day equal ten years. To fully train her in her abilities may take centuries…
[Maximus]: Looks like no matter what we must break the seals huh?
[Sage]: That’s right. Once a seal have been broken or ‘tempered’ with, the energy saturation in the atmosphere will rise significantly. Although it represents that the monsters will grow stronger, it also means humans will too.
[Maximus]: Yea…we had to seal the violent ocean of energy the planet was emitting onto its surface…just so our group could even have a fighting chance of surviving as a space colony.
[Sage]: Don’t remind me of those nightmarish days…The death toll was far too high. When we first arrived, other than the original group, all the other civilians couldn’t even stand up without vomiting. The energy was so thick, that it created a miasma that causes some people to literally explode. Thankfully now that humanity has gotten use to the energy, we can open the seals.
[Maximus]: Hahaha, maybe because I ascend I might finally be able to use my full power in a fight.
[Sage]: Just don’t aim straight down….The crust of the planet isn’t thicker than before…
[Maximus]: Don’t worry, I’ll aim up.
The two finally stood up from the ground. They took one last look at the white limestone monument and bowed.
Maximus waved his hands and a large array of lights flashed to life in front of the monument.
Like tinkering with electrical circuitry, he severed some connection and part of the formation dimmed.
Slowly, the seal changed. It went from being a solid plug, into a faucet.
Rich dense energy poured from the seal. It was so dense it took on a gaseous form.
Maximus and the Sage took a deep breath and their complexion seem to brighten. The Sage even seem to have gotten younger.
All over the continent, the dense energy flowed.
All the way over the other side of the Wild, on top of a rickety wagon, Crule and Ming basked in the sun.
A sudden wave of energy hit the two and they turned their heads toward the direction it came from.
[Crule]: This feeling…looks like the old man got one before we did…
[Ming]; He must have gotten help…
[Crule]: Well, it looks like we lost the race this time…But with two seals now opened, we can finally use more of our powers.
[Ming]: I’m itching to try them out.
They two laughed quietly to themselves.
Meanwhile, Turf was just sitting in front of them.
[Turf]: God dammit what are they laughing about this time?