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People often keep themselves hidden within their own bubbles, their circles, their senses of what is and what isn’t. A safe haven from the endless trouble of the outside world. Things that are unknown to them.

It brings them comforts – security over themselves.

Hesitating to step outside because of that one possibility of failing occurred, one that they themselves have experienced, resulting in fear and decrease of confidence to try it again.

‘Even a simple goal can keep us moving.’

‘A desire for an improvement, to reach another level, it’s the thing that has always saved me from falling.’

“Tia!” hugging him from behind.

“S— Nia, you’re going to get wet if you keep snuggling to me like this.”

“Haha, don’t care~”

When she rubbed her cheeks onto his delicate back, he can only sigh.

After finishing the cup he’s cleaning, Sonia hugged him even tighter. It's soft and comfortable, with her face slightly flushed. “When you’re done washing those cups, can we talk for a sec?”

“What’s wrong with now?”

“Can you?”

He sighed once more, “Fine.”

“Hehe, all right then~, be waiting outside, okay?”

Glancing at her, he notices the new expression Sonia is making.

“Okay.”

When she delivers the final smile before walking out, Tia sighed for one last time. Weighted with the new life he has.

‘That was the face of both relief and worries.’

‘I hope everything is okay.’

He chuckles, ‘Hope, huh.’

‘Who am I should pray to in this world? Does the creator of my world be the same as in this world or is there someone else similar to him?’

‘The creator of all, I believed he exists. I still do.’

‘But it seems that this body did not.’

*Cough *Cough

*Cough *Cough *Cough

Narrowing one of his eyes down, staring at the blood in his delicate palm, he washes it.

[We interrupt this channel to bring you breaking news]

Sounded the tv from the other side of the room, Tia glanced at it and saw several large boxes holding something that is familiar to him but shaped differently - guns.

[The mass shooting this time has taken several innocent lives that have been caught in the crossfire. One of them being a civilian suffered from the police brutality in the name of peace and the said police who told the media of “I was just being cautioned” while rightfully knowing that the said civilian was holding a mere replica of the real model of the handgun – he was shot dead last night]

*Pant *Pant

‘Am I still suffering from the backlash? Or is it the illness finally taking effect?’

‘I have to hurry and earn more money. Find and then buy all the gems in this world. Sap all their energies, and live.’

He then decided to take another dosage just in case, and before going out, a glance at the tv, ‘The rat who shot me last night was using one of that small handguns. I was lucky that it wasn’t imbued. Had it been, I wouldn’t be able to redirect it.’

‘Come to think of it. Not only that the bullet was fast, but it also managed to pierce his body like it’s nothing.’

‘If I were to get hit by that… the healing ability that I have might not be enough.’

Clenching his fist as he narrowed his eyes down to a slit, ‘Guess you don’t have to rely on inner power to survive in this world.’

“Good to know.”

He then meets up with Sonia who is waiting for him outside. She’s sitting on the staircase while gazing at the sky past the gate.

“…”

A chuckle with a heavy expression, “You know, I always put my faith in the people that would always help me no matter what the circumstance is, and I just realize how dumb I was.”

“What do you mean by was?” lighting up the mood.

“Heh,” turning her head to him, she then patted the staircase, asking him to sit beside her, and once he did, “Listen um… Last night, if it weren’t for you, I’d—”

Tia hugged her by the shoulder, “What matter is that you’re safe now.”

“No, that wasn’t what I—,” letting out a deep sigh, “Anyway... my boyfriend. I called him before anyone else, even the police, and you know what he said to me?”

“…”

“Pfft, just thinking about it,” impersonating, “Sorry, Nia. I’m still in a family meeting right now, and there’s a really important guest visiting us right now. I can't risk damaging my family's blah blah blah.”

“Like, can you believe that? My mind was… blown!” gesturing in a clenched fist.

Teary eyes, “And the police? Hah, they weren’t even trying to listen at all or at least, faking it. Like, isn't it their job to keep the citizen safe and all? We're in the Earth Sector for godsake, we don't have robots to take care of these things!”

“Hey hey, come on,” slightly pondering to himself, 'I don't know what those are but,' Tia hugged her head tightly, “You’re fine now. Okay? Nothing can hurt you as long as you have me.”

*Hic*

Hugging him, “Tia, you were the only one… the only one… who came for me.”

“And I’d do it again.”

Nia’s eyes widened and her tears continue to flow. Warmth slowly enveloped her as time pass and the sky rotates.

Inside a somewhat empty café with only a few individuals within.

*Sip*

The energy that comes from the bitterness of his drink enlightened him greatly.

After putting his coffee down, Tia laid his hand on the newspaper at the top of the table with the main headline saying “The Condition of the President of the Black Phoenix Group Has Gotten Worse!”

“… Thanks, no sugar would ya,” taking a seat in front of Tia, he rubbed his hands after a few chuckles, “Well, well, well, miss O’ Niels. Do you have something for me?”

It was the man who offered her a job, Christopher Han.

Tia slides both the item and the microSD card before taking another sip of his aromatic black coffee. Han chuckles once again. Handing the card to his assistance, they waited until the old man is finished, and a moment later, he nodded at Han.

Immensely excited, “Haha! Excellent, miss O’ Niels. Now we can talk real business.”

His assistance pulled out two letters from his suit and slide them to Tia’s side of the table. He took both of them, and the first he opened contained a plane ticket and a passport.

“Recently, a good friend of mine started to dabble on the art of,” whispering, “Illegality,” talking normally, “Putting his hands on all sorts of things in all around the world, and not too long ago, he said that he got something for me.”

“You – along with my trustworthy assistance over here – will go there, find out what it is, and bring it home if it has any value. Real value, miss O’ Niels.”

He opened the other letter, and it was an invitation to a certain Auction House.

“In two weeks' time, one of the biggest giants in this country is hosting of what most probably be the secures trades of all time. I want you to be there with yours truly to see what’s going on, see what they got, and do us some little shopping if they’re any good.”

“Expect BIG money for the both of them.”

Glancing up eerily, “How BIG is it, Mr. Han?”

With a grin, “Big enough to last you and your entire family for generations…” bowing his head slightly with the tip of his fedora, “Miss O’ Niels.”

The waiter came and slide down the coffee that the old man Han ordered.

Tia stares at the two letters on the table and wonders if he will be able to accomplish the new task he was offered.

A new day comes, and school starts again.

Upon opening his locker, he was hit by the ridiculous act of someone that decided to mess with his personal belonging.

Unsightly drawing on the paper taken from her torn books, photos of Glen and Hannah being intimate with each other, it got pinned on the center part of his locker, and there are even markings scratches all over the place.

“Bwahahaha~”

“Aww, poor girl.”

“Someone actually did that to her?”

The comments from the people around him, none of them seems to be on her side.

This annoyance cycled throughout the day where he “accidentally” bumped into someone who was holding some drawing materials and thus, splattered all over him.

Another scene happens when she got into the classroom and notices that his desk and the chair was artfully "decorated". There was even gum on the center part of his chair – and he only notices it after many people were laughing at him as he walked down the stairs.

Once the school was over, Sonia met him by the gate and was stunned by the sight of her friend having such a terrible and despicable day. She can only clench her fists as she walked him home.

*Cough *Cough *Cough

Vomited straight into the sink in the bathroom at his home.

*Wooooosh*

Panting as he looked up in the mirror, he notices that the veins in his hand are moving as if they are in shaking in pain. It became obvious to him that this is definitely not because of the backlash he did two nights ago.

‘Not good.’

“My time is running thin.”

Clenching his fist tight, ‘Hang in there.’

‘You’ve survived an even worst situation than this – how come you are unable to solve just a single rotten disease where you have cleansed an unstoppable plague before?’

*Pant *Pant

‘Just a little bit more,’ his eyes brightened in a cold fire, “I can do this.”

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ChioAnabe

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