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Beruta, the Curious: Chapter Two

Chapter Two

Train me up!

Beruta and Iota return to the restaurant and begin talking about their origins.

“So tell me about yourself Iota, I have never seen anyone do what you were capable of doing. I mean, even our weapons weren’t doing what you did.” Beruta said to Iota.

“Well you know, I just come from a place where everyone could basically do what I did. Though, probably not as elegant.” Iota laughed gloating about herself.

“What place is that? Sounds like it would be amazing if it’s full of people like you. I want to go there and visit.” Beruta eagerly said to Iota.

“It’s in the far South. Since the time we are formed we learn to do the things that I demonstrated. Though, I also sought out teachers to continue my training even further beyond the norm.” Iota said with much less enthusiasm than with her prior statement.

“Since you were formed? Your parents must be in a high position then. Must have had plenty of training Parental Renders the, right?.” Beruta asked Iota yet another question.

Iota began to grow tired of the conversation. “Don’t you have a Team that you report to?” Iota asked Beruta.

“Too soon, my guy.” Beruta responded jokingly.

“Your guy?” Iota looked at Beruta, questioning why she suddenly became casual with her.

“Don’t worry about it. I call everyone that.” Beruta quickly responded. “So you came from the South? So like, how far South? Like near Capicalo?” 

“Capicalo is the place with all those Mountains, right?” Iota asked.

“Yes, I’ve had a few missions down there. No big deal really.” Beruta responded to Iota, trying to show that she was not just some ordinary new Officer. “That’s pretty cool, since you all began training since you were born, this must be some extremely advanced military education. I mean, just from your performance I could tell that it isn’t something that any normal person could accidentally train towards.” 

“No, it’s nothing like that. I just sought the education on my own. Everyone around me does. Where I’m from we don’t have a military.” Iota said to Beruta.

“Well that’s dumb. Are you guys like some Peace Loving Hobos?” Beruta responded to Iota with noticeable confusion on her face.

“Not in the slightest. We are just so much more Powerful than everyone else.” Iota then got up from her seat and began walking around the district.

Beruta jogged to catch up to Iota. “But you’re like the strongest one, right?” Beruta asked after catching up with Iota.

“Not even close! There are people where I’m from that would have looked at that thing that attacked your city and it would have vaporized from just the Power Difference. I am at best, in the Lower Middle Percentile of Capability. If I was to give an actual percentage, I would say 60% of everyone is more Capable than I am.” Iota informed Beruta, trying to make the point that she is not an exceptional being.

“That’s honestly unbelievable.” Beruta responded. “I think you should give yourself more credit, you’re probably just under selling yourself.” 

“If you say so, but I guess it doesn’t really matter since you would never be able to get there. So it may as well be a land of imagination.” Iota said to Beruta.

“Why not?! You got there? So that means I can too!” Beruta quickly responded, feeling defeated by Iota’s statement.

“Yes. Technically you could. But no, since you are a Ren Shaole. Even coming close to the lands would cause you to become Irradiated. With no capability of dissipating that radiation, or recovering from the damages it would cause. And even if you managed that, with your current eyes and detection organs you would be able to see anything since they are too primitive.” Iota informed Beruta.

“What are you talking about? You are a Ren Shaole too? And if I am not mistaken, a member of the Shao peoples as well.” Beruta responded.

“It’s funny how incorrect you are.” Iota said. Then she started to lift herself into the air. “Well it’s been fun talking to you. Stay out of trouble, and I know what you are thinking, but don’t try to get to where I’m from, you will quite literally die trying.” Iota said to Beruta before shooting away into the sky.

Beruta watched as that girl performed feats greater than several military weapons.

“Hmph, as if I’m not going to try.” Beruta thought to herself. “But first, I’m going to need to prepare. Seems as though it’s going to be a long venture.” Beruta went into the shop and requested to use their communication device to call her Commander.

Beruta waited inside and watched as other customers, mainly Parental Renders, entered and exited the shop.

An employee of the shop gave Beruta the Communication device. Beruta grabbed it from them and connected it to the base.

“You are in Communication with the 1st DIstrict, 2nd Division, HeadQuarters Company, QRF Commanding Line. You are currently speaking with Master Sergeant Kurian. State your establishing link.” The person who answered the communication request said to Beruta.

“Lt. Beruta of the QRF. 84A2.1B28.5A43. Direct me to the Commanding Officer.” Beruta responded.

A short pause occurred, then the communication was transferred.

“Speak, Lt. Beruta. Why aren’t we able to communicate with Major Yerion.” The Commanding Officer asked Beruta.

“Sir, the incident at Sang Ru City left I, Lt. Beruta as the sole survivor. All other’s have perished in the line of duty. There were zero desertions, and all fought with the utmost bravery. The Creature deployed a Chemical Attack which dissolved all items in the vicinity, including the bodies of my Comrades within range. And those outside the range of the Attack, which included myself, were targeted with long range counter fire. I luckily avoided this fate by accident.” Beruta reported.

“Is the target still at large?” The Commanding Officer asked Beruta.

Beruta paused. “Iota told me to take credit for the elimination of the Creature. So I guess that’s what I will do.” Beruta thought to herself. “No Sir, the Creature was eliminated.”

“Eliminated, now how did you manage that as the sole survivor?” The Commanding Officer asked.

“It truly happened in the blink of an eye. Apparently, there was a single weak point on its body that when shot renders the entire Creature immobile. Then the Chemical that it used to dissolve its environment consumed its corpse.” Beruta responded.

“And you somehow figured all that out mid combat?” The Commanding Officer asked.

“Something like that, Sir.” Beruta responded feeling uneasy about taking credit.

“Interesting, well that’ll be all. Report…” The Commanding Officer then paused. “I suppose there is no longer anyone you could report to other than myself it seems.” The Commanding Officer noted.

“That is correct, SIr.” Breuta replied.

“Then return to base as soon as possible, and submit your detailed report directly to me.Following which you are to take emergency leave.” The Commanding Officer instructed Beruta.

“Consider it done, Sir. I plan on traveling South for leave. Is that location permissible?” Beruta asked.

“What’s down there?” The Commanding Officer asked.

“I’m going to do some training. I was too weak to rescue my Team out there. And I want to ensure that doesn’t happen again.” Beruta responded.

“Don’t place the blame all on yourself. The feeling of being the sole survivor would bring a feeling of regret on anyone. You did what you could, and in the end you prevented the rest of the city from being destroyed. You can be proud of that. But I will grant that destination as a location you may travel. A transport Vehicle is on its way to your location. Remain where you are, and await their arrival.” The Communication then ended.

Beruta stepped outside and felt the bright star above shine gently brush her skin. Despite the incident only occurring a few kilometers west of her current location, the people in the area did not seem to be affected.

“What was that thing?” Beruta thought to herself trying to make sense of the situation. “It had to be at least the same durability of an Air Tanker since it withstood the explosive projectiles that were launched at it. But because Iota was able to bring it down so easily, with weapons I couldn’t even see…” Beruta shook her head.

“No, even if it was all a performance and Iota was just in on it, it still was able to eliminate an entire Platoon of the QRF. So at the very least it still had a more advanced military capability than us.” Beruta contemplated.

“Though, if Iota was in on it, you would think she’d make more of an appearance. Rather, she came, defeated it, then left. Maybe it was an opponent that her Region extensively fought against, and this one just accidentally appeared in our district.” Beruta continued to try and think. “Ah, my head is starting to hurt. The more I think about it, the more I become dumbfounded on how outclassed we were.” Beruta laid her head against the wall.

A display appeared in the shopping district showing the events that happened.

“Damage to the Jinji Community was kept to a minimum after the Brave Warriors of the Suminiatini Federation Military. Their bravery brought down the Creature in mere moments, isolating the damage. Take the time today to thank our Brave Protectors. The Damages caused before the arrival of the Military force are estimated to cost 7.3 Terajoules, and the estimated Casualty Numbers being between 800 to 1200 People dead. 200 Estimated to be Principal and the rest being Renders.” The news continued to update the people around.

“It wasn’t even us that ended the threat. Those numbers would be significant;y worse if it was just us.” Beruta tried to return to a calm state.

“Hey you, in the Uniform.” The Shop owner said to Beruta.

Beruta looked over at them. As they handed Beruta as Curled Vegetation Treat.

“Oh, I didn’t order this.” Beruta said to the Shop Owner.

“No problem, if it wasn;t for you guys then I wouldn’t even have a shop. That’s my thanks.” The Shop Owner said, thanking Beruta.

Beruta shrugged and then started eating it. “Well, I should be getting thanked anyways, since I was willing to fight, so I have no regrets accepting this.” Beruta thought to herself.

The Ship arrived from the air to transport Beruta to base.

“Officer Beruta?” The Staff Sergeant on board asked.

“That’s Lt. Beruta, and yes.” Beruta said, approaching the ship.

“I am Staff Sergeant Aku of the HeadQuarters Company, Low Air Transportation Unit. We are tasked with returning you to the Base.” They said to Beruta.

“Sure, let me see your ID.” Beruta said receiving the ID from the Staff Sergeant. Beruta looked through it, then she scanned the ship that she was onboarding. “Okay, everything checks out. You have my permission to proceed.” Beruta commanded the Staff Sergeant.

Beruta entered the ship and it took off. Beruta then began to write her report on the incident.

After a short trip, Beruta arrived at the Base.

She stepped in front of the Commanding Officer.

“Lt. Beruta of the QRF reporting to the Commanding Officer.” Beruta said saluting.

“At ease.” The Commanding Officer said. Beruta then handed them the report. The Commanding Officer looked through it. “This is most troubling. In terms of Defensive Capability, Mobility and Offensive Capability we were completely outmatched, in our own home territory. What entity could have been responsible for this?”

“My guess is as good as yours, Sir. I am in no position to make baseless accusations.” Beruta responded.

“The Jieruresi Republic wouldn’t dare launch an attack like that. If they did, then this could result in the elimination of entire generations of peoples.” The Commanding Officer said quietly.

Beruta sat quietly.

“No need for me to keep you here, your report is rather thorough. Prepare yourself for Leave and I will see you when you report back upon your return.” The Commanding Officer said to Beruta.

She stood up. And then saluted once more.

“You are dismissed.” The Commanding Officer said, Beruta then left the room and headed towards her dorms.

The Great Star had set over the horizon. And the night sky was littered with shooting stars.

Beruta started to pack up her clothes. “Me? Too weak to even go there? I’ll show her. I show her that I have the commitment to get stronger. I will make it to that mystical land, even if I am approaching death’s door step.” Beruta thought about Iota.

She got on her fast acceleration vehicle and decided to head in the general direction of due South. She looked up at the sky once more and noticed even more shooting stars above.

“Not sure if that’s a good or bad omen.” Beruta thought to herself. The amount of shooting stars was unlike anything she had ever witnessed. There were basically so many that it practically lit up the night.

As she headed south she saw some cities in the distance. They didn’t shine as bright as they usually would. This piqued Beruta’s interest. She wondered if there was a night time festival occurring.

As she entered the city she saw that no one was walking around.

“This is weird.” She thought to herself.

She looked around. And scanned the street corners. The data about the location popped up on her knowledge network.

“Just like I thought. This city doesn’t have a small population, and it’s along the Shu Ha River. So this is the downtown Community.” Beruta continued to scroll through her data.

Then she felt someone approach from behind her.

She immediately ducked away and fell to the ground. The stranger then looked down at her.

“I’m sorry Miss, I hope I didn’t startle you.” The Stranger said to Beruta.

Beruta got up and dusted herself off. “Don’t worry about it. I was just on edge because of the weirdness of this city.” Beruta said.

“Weird? What’s weird about it?” The stranger asked.

“Well, this is a city right? So why aren’t people walking around? Even if it’s night, it’s like you all are in some small town.” Beruta said to the Stranger.

“Oh, so the emptiness of the streets is unusual for beings like you.” The Stranger said to Beruta.

Beruta then was creeped out by their language.

“Ah, yes.” Beruta said as she was stepping away slowly.

The Stranger then shot out projectiles at Beruta and it entered her leg. The Projectile then attached itself to the ground, preventing Beruta from moving.

“What do you think you are doing!?” Beruta yelled out at them.

A creature then emerged from the shadow and the stranger and it spoke to one another in a strange tongue.

The creature then moved towards Beruta.

Beruta took out her weapon and shot at the rope that trapped her leg to the ground. She then began to stubble towards her vehicle.

The creature then hastened its pace to Beruta, but it seemed that it wasn’t made for speed.

Beruta then shot her weapon at the Creature as she continued to move towards her vehicle.

The Stranger that Beruta initially met ran to Beruta and grabbed her. It had Beruta in a full Nelson.

“You aren’t going anywhere.” The Stranger said to Beruta.

“That’s where you’re wrong.” Beruta then shifted her weapon in her hand and shot the Stranger in the chest, then she shot two more projectiles into its head. “Don’t touch an Officer without Permission you damn Render.” Beruta said to the Stranger.

The Creature then gave its attention to the downed stranger and Beruta was able to get on her vehicle and drive off.

She looked back and saw that no one was pursuing her. After she made some distance away from the city she then relaxed. And the pain from her leg emerged.

“Ah! Damn that hurts.” Beruta exclaimed to herself.

She reached into her backpack and placed ointment on her skin. Her wound then started to heal up.

“What was with that place? No more detours for me.” Beruta thought to herself.

Even as she continued driving more of the Cities she saw in the distance seemed unusually dark. However, she was not going to take the time to investigate them. The pain in her leg had subsided. Though her walking ability would still need a bit more time to recover.

The terrain soon began to become rough. The desert that she had been driving through that entire time had made way to grasslands. Beruta had not realized how long she had been driving until she noticed that the Great Star was starting to peek over the horizon.

“Damn, night is over already. I should have rested a bit.” Beruta thought, then she shook her head again. “No! I am a warrior. I won’t sleep until my objective is completed.” Beruta gave herself a pep talk to keep herself moving.

In the distance she spotted a moving mountain. She stopped driving just to observe it.

“That’s something you don’t see often. This must be the mystical place that Iota was talking about.” Beruta thought to herself.

The sound in the distance was like thunder, which each movement forward the mountain made. The ground shook with each progression. Beruta looked around to see if she could catch a glimpse of another magical looking environment.

Behind the moving mountain she spotted a city. Once where its suburbs were completely destroyed but the interior seemed untouched.

“No! That can’t be what I think it is!” Beruta waited in shock. She saw the body beneath the moving mountain. It was similar to the creature that her team completely lost their lives to.

“Those things are here too…” Beruta was overwhelmed with despair. She was brought back to the moments earlier when she was helpless against the monsters. “Isn’t this the mystical place where Iota is from? How could they be having their cities destroyed here too?” 

Beruta watched in terror. 

The Mountain continued to move causing Earthquakes. Beruta shook with each one. She tried to remain hidden. Even though she was literally the size of a rock compared to a mountain, she could not find safety in that fact.

Then Beruta saw two extremely bright lights appear near the Mountain Creature.

The lights started to converse with the Mountain. Beruta crawled towards them to see what was going on. 

“Oh… those are people.” Beruta thought to herself, getting a clearer look at them. They floated in the air similar to Iota, and showed no fear to the Mountain at all. 

Then the Mountain Creature struck the ground in an attempt to hit them.

The dust from the impact scattered high into the air. Beruta covered her eyes and continued to observe.

The two people who stood in front of the Mountain Creature were nowhere to be seen.

“Did they lose!?” Beruta said aloud, trying to look for where they could be.

The Mountain Creature then moved their paws once more, and the two entities were standing in the spot they were in before, unharmed. The Creature once again began stomping on the ground rapidly.

The resulting impacts knocked Beruta every which way across the ground. The dirt below practically became a liquid with how much movement was being caused.

Heat began to rise from the grasslands. “This is too much. I am going to die before I can see what will happen.” Beruta thought, trying to avoid sinking into the ground.

Then all the shaking stopped. Beruta quickly rushed back to her prior position.

She saw that the Mountain Creature now had a giant hole on its Mountain Top. She then saw one of the beings push back the Mountain Creature as if they were simply paper in the wind.

“I found it! I found the land from which Iota came from! I knew I would!” Beruta said extremely excitedly. She jumped on her vehicle and drove down to where the beings were.

As she drove she saw the two people continue to toy with the Mountain Creature.

The Mountain Creature spit magma out of its mouth, but it was simply tossed back at it. After the failed attack the Mountain Creature simply charged at the two, and nearly in an instant one of them lifted up their hands and vaporized the Behemoth. 

“Oh no! They are already finished. I need to hurry and get to them before they leave!” Beruta then dangerously sped up her vehicle.

The two individuals turned towards Beruta, and watched as her vehicle got caught in one of the fissures caused by the Mountain Creature. Beruta flew across the air and slid against the ground.

She exhaustedly tried to catch her breath. She was beyond ecstatic. “I found… it. I really… found it!” She tried to say.

“You found what exactly?” One of the Individuals asked Beruta.

Beruta was covered in wounds and injuries. As she tried to get up.

“It’ll be easier to understand you if you weren’t so beaten and exhausted.” The other individual said before restoring Beruta’s body.

“Thank you.” Beruta said, showing her gratitude. “And what I was trying to say was that I found the home of Iota, and the other super powered beings.” Beruta said to the two.

“Good for you I suppose. Though, if this was the place of super powered beings, then why on Earth did we have to show up?” The first individual asked Beruta.

“Wait… so you guys aren’t from here?” Beruta asked, confused.

“Of course not. We are from the South of here.”The first individual responded.

“What Country is that?” Beruta asked, finally trying to get clarity on its location.

One of the Individuals then vanished in front of Beruta’s eyes. She then noticed that they were now behind her.

Someone tried to stab Beruta through the back.

“Very interesting this is.” The second individual said. “I figured that it was one of your friends, however, once it tried to eliminate you, I figured that was no longer the case. It’s signature doesn’t match her’s either.” 

The person who tried to attack Beruta was then trapped in several pillars of stone.

“What are you doing!?” Beruta yelled at the trapped person. “Why did you just try to kill me!?”

“You all are a plague on this planet, this was our world first! Then you all appeared out of nowhere. Vermin! Like Vermin! Every last one of you!” The Person yelled at Beruta.

“Is this some sort of Lower Human type of issue?” The second individual asked Beruta.

“I don’t know what they are talking about.” Beruta responded. “So why were you just trying to kill me?” Beruta asked the captured person.

“What would you do if you left your home, and set up a person to repair it while you were away, just to find upon your return that the insects had infected the place and killed the repair person.” The trapped person responded.

“Sounds like you all should have sent a more capable repair person. But this matter doesn’t concern us, we destroyed the Ancient Lumos, so there’s no point in staying here.” The second person then released the captured person from their bonds.

The previously captured person then jumped out and tackled Beruta. They both wrestled on the ground. Beruta was struggling to gain control of the situation.

“Hey! You can’t just leave me, can you?” Beruta asked the two individuals.

“Ah… why not?” The first individual responded.

“Aren’t you both friends with Iota? She rescued me earlier today from one of those giant creatures.” Beruta said to them as she tried to pin the person.

“We don’t know an Iota. So that information is completely irrelevant here.” The second individual said as a circular glow appeared below them.

The Previously Captive person then formed their hand into a blade and took control away from Beruta. They then tried to stab her through the chest.

“Wait! Please help! I don’t want to die here! I just came to see you guys!” Beruta said, crying out. She tried to reach for her weapon but two of her hands were occupied with trying to prevent herself from being stabbed and her back appendages were pinned behind her.

“Sheesh, if only you didn’t ask for help.” The second individual said before sending an air burst at the Previously captured person.

Beruta immediately got to her feet and shot projectiles into the person’s head.

“So could the Lower Humans always manipulate their hands like that?” The first individual asked.

“No, not at all. I’ve never seen anyone do that.” Beruta responded, as they all saw the shot person slowly stand back up to their feet.

Beruta then reset her weapon and prepared to fire again.

“Hmm, well that pretty much confirms it.” The first individual said, before Beruta unloaded a full set of rounds into the person.

“They should definitely be dead after that.” Beruta said, putting away her weapon.

“So, that weapon you carry. Is it just made to kill your kind?” The first individual asked.

“Oh, you are talking about this?” Beruta asked, pulling out her weapon again.

“Obviously.” They responded.

“Hmm, well not my kind exactly. Pretty much anything that’s alive. I mean, it penetrates non living things too.” Beruta said, showing off the weapon. “But of course it can’t do anything against your type of beings.” Beruta quickly said nervously.

“May I see it?” The first individual asked.

“Oh, sure.” Beruta said, handing over the weapon.

“Looks like it pulls a small amount of energy from this Shard in the back. Then it lowers the energy stage of the Shard allowing it to release a beam. A rather primitive device, too many unnecessary parts.” The first individual said.

The individuals then began to look at one another. It looked as though they were communicating, but they weren’t using any language.

“Here, you can have this back.” The first individual said. “So where was it you were trying to head to? The city close by has been completely taken over by those beings we fought earlier, so that is no longer an option.”

“Oh, well that was never my true destination anyways. I was just trying to find where you all lived.” Beruta responded.

“Give up on that quest. You will never get there.” The first individual said to Beruta.

“But why? Am I not close already? There’s only so many places a Ren Shaole could live.” Beruta said, feeling disappointed once again by their answer.

“That’s where your assumption is off. You think of us as mere Ren Shaole, however, that is clearly false.” The first individual said.

The two then looked at each other.

“Stay close to us as we clear the city. Then we will escort you back home.” The second individual said.

“But, why can’t I just go with you two to your homeland?” Beruta asked.

The first individual then trapped Beruta in a sphere of water. 

“Demonstrate you can get out of that, and we will allow you.” The first individual said.

Beruta tried to swim out of it, but she was not moving anywhere. She tried to kick the water, and splash it forward but nothing changed. Eventually Beruta was no longer able to utilize either of her lungs and began to inject water.

They then released her from the sphere.

Beruta laid on the ground trying to recover.

“That is something that we all have to accomplish before emerging into life. Yet you, who have already reached maturity, could not succeed in. You would meet a much faster death trying to live where we reside.” The first individual said.

The second individual then gestured their hands and dried Beruta.

“Just follow us and we will escort you home. We will at least reward your accomplishment by making sure you survive.” The second individual said. Beruta then followed behind them feeling completely defeated.

The three entered the city. Beruta looked around feeling uneasy about the quietness of it once again.

“This location is a complete loss. Most signs of life similar to this girl aren;t present here.” The first individual said.

“These individuals certainly don’t count as Ancient Lumos. So we aren’t free to simply eliminate them despite their desolation of the original population.” The second individual asked.

“I think you are correct. Besides, this was a result of their inability to prepare.” The first individual commented.

“So, this place you both came from, if I were to accomplish the feat that you tried me with, then I would be able to venture there?” Beruta asked.

“Were you truly still thinking about that this entire time?” The first individual asked.

Beruta nodded her head.

“If you could do that, and survive the journey to it, then sure. You have what it takes to be a newborn.” The first individual said.

“Survive the journey? So am I not close to it now?” Beruta asked. “Is it in the air?”

“Well we are separated by a treacherous channel that would quickly end the lives of those who can’t fly. And while approaching, you will be bombarded with radiation. And even still, the temperature difference might be more than you can tolerate. Honestly, don’t even attempt it. Though, if you did, then the increase in Power you seek would definitely be yours.” The first individual said.

Iota then dropped down from the air.

Beruta’s face lit up. “Iota!” Beruta called out.

“Nice to see you again, Beruta. What brings you this far South?” Iota asked Beruta. 

Iota then turned her gaze to the two other individuals that were with Beruta.

“I was looking for your home. And since you are here, that has to mean that I am at least close… right?” Beruta asked Iota.

While Beruta was speaking she noticed that Iota and the other two were engaged in a staring match against one another. Beruta then saw Iota lower her head and extend her arms. It seemed as a sign of respect to the other two.

The two then left into the air and vanished.

Beruta was confused because she didn’t see any communication happen but information was definitely being transmitted.

“Were they like your leader or something?!” Beruta asked Iota.

“They were the former leaders from a few generations ago.” Iota responded.

“So who is stronger? You or each of them?” Beruta asked Iota.

Iota was stunned with the question, as if it should have been obvious. “It’s not even a comparison. They are scales, magnitudes above me. My capabilities are closer to yours than to theirs. If we were to demonstrate it with numbers, with you as a 1 and they were 12000, I would be almost a 2.” Iota said to Beruta.

“That is insane… wait, they are leaders from generations ago?” Beruta was confused once more. “How come they looked the same age as us?” 

“Our appearance is not an indication of our age. But don;t think about it too much, it’s information you really don’t need to know. I was given a task to bring you back to where you were from.” Iota said to Beruta.

“Wait! Why?! Can’t you just take me close to where you are from. I promise I will pass the water test so that I am allowed to enter.” Beruta said to Iota.

“The water test?” Iota was confused by what that meant. “Well nonetheless, but you are not close to where we are from. This location is just a normal city in your home Country. You just so happen to interact with us because you seem to be attracted to danger.” Iota said to Beruta.

“I know I can’t stop you. But I refuse to return up North, unless you first take me to where you are from.” Beruta said to Iota.

Iota then paused and thought for a moment.

“I just thought of an idea. How about you work for me then? My leader may not be as happy with that decision, but it is a lot better than forcing you to return home, just to be powerless against this threat again. Also it’s just better not to just force you.” Iota asked Beruta.

“Is your Leader a scary person? Is that why you all won’t let me travel South to where you are from? If that is the case then I can steel myself and stay brave in their presence. I just want to see it.” Beruta responded to Iota, she hit her chest to demonstrate her fortitude.

“No, they are not scary. They are actually one of the nicest people you could meet… actually, maybe not nice. I will say they are the fairest person you would meet.” Iota shared with Beruta as they looked into the sky becoming brighter. “But still, you really can’t go. You will likely die just by getting close.”

“There is really no winning for me on that front…” Beruta said quietly. “Okay, I will work for you then. Is it some sort of Military Task? I will train as hard as I can so that one day I may earn the chance to go to your homeland.” Beruta said with a fiery passion.

“It’s more of an organization, but you could call it a military if that;s what helps you develop it for me.” Iota said to Beruta. Iota then began to move the ground below them. The instant stirring up caused Beruta to lose her balance, but she managed to stay standing.

 “What is happening!?” Beruta said, looking down at the ground below. The ground rolled forward moving both Iota and Beruta Northward. “Is this you? You can control the ground? What is this power? Are you some sort of… I don’t even know what to describe it as. The closest thing that comes to mind are the Heroes of the Shao Wars, but even they I don’t think could move the ground as freely as you are.” Beruta said aloud in surprise.

“It’s better for you to just go with it. The methods I employ to perform these feats are beyond your current comprehension.” Iota said as they traveled by being moved forward along the ground.

“So this organization… I am going to need to quit my current position in the Suminiatini Federation Military, to avoid any conflicts of interest. But they likely won’t take kindly to that. So I will need you to help me avoid any difficulties.” Beruta said to Iota.

“Without my assistance, you all wouldn’t even have a country anymore. But they likely won’t believe that, since I already gave you the credit for the defeat of the Ancient Lumos. So I suppose I will teach you some defensive techniques to ensure they can’t harm you.” Iota said as she first sat down. Beruta immediately sat down afterwards.

Beruta’s attention was fully captured by Iota.

Iota pulled out a shard and handed it to Beruta. The Shard fit nicely in the palm of Beruta’s hand.

“First, I am going to see if this will actually work with your body.” Iota said as she then surrounded Beruta in a sphere of ionized particles. She was testing to see if while the Shard was in Beruta’s hand that her presence had any effect on the environment.

Beruta looked down at the Shard. “Aren’t these things just used for Powering Buildings? What am I doing with one?” Beruta asked confusedly. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do.

Beruta then collapsed the Ionized Sphere. “You could also use it. And that’s what I am going to teach you.” Iota said as she tried to determine what would be the best approach to teach Beruta. “Do you know how to pull power into your body?” Iota asked.

“I don’t even know the first steps of even attempting to do that.” Beruta responded.

“You understand how you feel heat? The particles on your body increase their speed through interaction with other particles, those particles hit other particles increasing their speed as well, eventually your entire body is warmed up. Of course your nerves would be the methods in which you detect this, but we are talking about the heat itself. This is called Passive Absorption of Energy. What I want you to do is create an energy deficit in the location you want to absorb from. And store the Energy that you removed, so that when it is time to release you re-inject it.” Iota continued to explain.

“… and how do I do that?” Beruta asked Iota, feeling even more confused.

“For a body like yours, you could achieve it through your adrenaline and that’ll pull heat from your extremities. While this is happening, I want the nucleus of the cells touching the Shard to break down the Crystal structure within the Shard releasing the power of those bonds. Then, take that Energy and transport it to the rest of your body by creating a wave of Energy Deficits.” Iota attempted to clarify it for Beruta.

“Yeah, this is not making sense to me at all. How do I control the nucleus of my cells? Aren’t those just an automatic process depending on stimulus from the environment?” Beruta asked.

“Well that’s why you activated your adrenaline rush…” Iota then thought again. She paused trying to think of another method. “I need to come up with a way to interact with your brain directly.” Iota said quietly.

“Oh! I think I know how! Language is an easy way to make that happen, since of course words force your brain to assign a meaning. We could use that process. So maybe you can come up with a diddy for me to repeat that’ll cause my brain to force those events.” Beruta suggested.

“A diddy? That will likely work. It’s rather slow and bothersome, but in principle it will accomplish the same goal. Let me come up with one for you.” Iota said to Beruta.

Iota analyzed Beruta’s body. Beruta looked around and just realized how fast they were actually moving across the desert. She never got a chance to actually observe the endlessness of the Sands of Suminiatini.

 “Beruta. I have something for you.” Iota said to get Beruta’s attention. Beruta immediately turned her focus to Iota. “Since you don’t have a free-willed brain, this will work for you.”

“I Don’t have a free-willed brain? What does that mean?” Beruta asked.

“That just means you can’t program yourself to increase efficiency, nor are you able to freely construct yourself to take any form by reconstructing its matter. You are trapped with the brain you have… but that doesn’t matter right now.” Iota responded to Beruta.

“Ah… that sounds like everyone. So you were talking about in general, not just me. That’s a relief. So what is this diddy?” Beruta asked.

“Earth guides my core to make my body into a mountain, this core is my power and this power is greater than the force of a roaring river. Infuse my body with the Energy of this Gaia Shard. By the Power of Iota I demand these things.” Iota said to Beruta.

“Will that actually work?” Beruta asked Iota.

“It is certain that it will work with your current brain structure. It’s a simple technique, and with that you don’t even need to know how it works. It just will. It’s simply overriding a subconscious process.” Iota gave her full confidence to Beruta.

Beruta grasped on the Shard. She began to say those words. “Earth guides my core to make my body into a mountain, this core is my power and this power is greater than the force of a roaring river. Infuse my body with the Energy of this Gaia Shard. By the Power of Iota I demand these things.” Beruta said to herself in the same pace that Iota did.

Beruta felt her body tighten up but she was still able to move. “Oh, I think I am feeling something-” Beruta began saying before Iota knocked her off of the moving ground.

Beruta’s body skipped across the ground, bouncing at high speeds trying to take her velocity to 0. Beruta’s body impacted and tore the ground beneath her.The impacts she was making left craters across the land.

Beruta eventually came to a stop, and saw Iota returning to her.

“Wait! You just threw me off of the transportation. At the speed we were going I would have died on the first impact with the ground.” Beruta looked at her body, but she was unharmed. “Despite that, how am I not injured? I was definitely hitting the ground.” Beruta was confused once more because she should not have come out of that experience without a single scratch. She was experienced enough to know what type of damages she would have after certain forms of impacts.

“That diddy was to toughen your body to the point where it would take more than 5 kilojoules of Energy to even scratch your skin. And about 50 Kilojoules to draw blood.” Iota told Beruta.

“And that phrase will always work like that?” Beruta asked as she got back onto the transportation.

“Well for you, it’ll require that you hold a non-emptied Shard. Also that you believe that through my power you could achieve it, with the added requirement that your brain is what it is currently. So, it will only work if you are in that state you were just in earlier. So remember your thinking, because you will have to return to that everytime you want to use that diddy.” Iota informed Beruta.

“That’s incredible, so I am practically invincible now!” Beruta said feeling as if she had accomplished a life long goal.

“To the things YOU experience everyday, most likely. But to actual meaningful forces, this amount of protection is practically meaningless. Oh, and also remember that it’ll only work for you as long as you’re holding that shard. If you aren’t, there wouldn’t be enough energy for your body to pull from. If you perform it without of Shard you will just kill yourself from exhausion.” Iota gave Beruta a stern warning.

“I understand. I won’t perform this technique without a Shard. But on that note, are you saying that I could keep this one?” Beruta asked Iota.

“Yes, you can keep that. It’s one of my lower energy Shards.” Iota said as they continued to travel forward.

They both sat in silence for a moment.

“So, could you show me more stuff?” Beruta asked Iota.

“There is no reason for me to expand the amount of techniques for you to know, since this is adequate for you to perform the duties that I will be requesting. However, since you are eager to learn, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt for you to explore.” Iota responded to Beruta.

“Understood, General Iota!” Beruta said, giving Iota the title she felt she deserved.

Iota looked around and saw a small city in the distance.

“Towns in this area are likely overrun by now with those Ancient Lumos like creatures. So we will enter one of them and you can try out your learned technique there. And I can teach you more as we go.” Iota told Beruta.

“Overrun? What do you mean?” Beruta asked Iota.

“Your cities came under attack last night, and lost miserably to the foreign threat.” Iota told Beruta as if it was just a matter of fact.

“Wait?! There were battles last night and we lost? Why didn’t we do anything about it?” Beruta asked Iota.

“I have no duties to protect those who don’t seek help. Nor is the level of Energy displayed during the take over anything you could not have prepared for.” Iota told Beruta.

Beruta sat in silence. She understood clearly that the group that Iota and the others are a part of were probably not tied to her nation.

“But if the cities were captured then that means non combatants were eliminated as well, isn’t that justification enough to prevent the takeovers?” Beruta asked Iota.

“Humanity can’t have non combatants, ever since the beginning of your kind of life, creatures fought one another. It was nations that decided that there should be a section of Society that shouldn’t fight, and you call them non combatants. But this has no bearing on those that didn’t agree to it.” Iota explained to Beruta.

Iota then pointed at the plants in the distance.

“If those plants got in your way, what would your Society do to them? They aren’t fighting against you, but they would be destroyed nonetheless. Should I declare war on you for that event?” Iota tried to make it clear to Beruta that if she were to join them, what their way of thinking is like.

“I’m sure when you were with my two Masters that after they completed their task, they released any captured beings that they had. Our goal is to eliminate threats that are far beyond your capabilities, those that are within them we don’t intervene unless one party requests help.” Iota said as Beruta sat silently.

“Despite being a Warrior of the Suminiatini Federation, I’ll have to learn to not fight for their interest. If I obtain the might of these beings, then I have responsibilities that are beyond borders, and maybe even beyond Species.” Beruta thought to herself. “So what is the overall goal of you guy’s Nation?” Beruta asked Iota. “Since if you wanted to, you could probably conquer the world in a matter of days.”

“Do be the one that leads Mako. That is the only National Goal. We all are completely independent of the Nation itself. We act for ourselves, and if the Leader of Mako deems that we were out of line, we get destroyed and learn from that experience.” Iota explained to Beruta.

“I don’t think I understand. Then how does the Nation operate?” Beruta grew more confused as Iota spoke.

“Like the Universe.” Iota said quickly. Then the land below them stopped. “We have arrived at your training grounds.” Iota said to Beruta.

Within the Town there were abandoned homes everywhere. Many of the structures looked like they were torn down and it seemed that the new inhabitants were building a large device in the center of the city.

Iota and Beruta were shot immediately. The projectiles went directly through Iota, but she closed up any damages that were caused. And Beruta was knocked to the ground by the impact.

Beruta got up from the shot. And she felt a light scratch on her head.

“Interesting, it seems that they are not a fan of our arrival.” Iota said to Beruta.

“They almost got through my technique. Is that okay?” Beruta asked Iota.

“It’s perfectly fine, there are those who have even stronger weapons closer to the device. But they would only cause you superficial bleeding if it impacts you. From here on, I will just observe you. There are still normal Ren Shaole hiding, so if you want to rescue them, then you can try and reclaim this city.” Iota informed Beruta.

Beruta took out her weapons. 

“If you say that I can try, that means you believe there’s a chance that I could win here.” Beruta responded to Iota.

“You say you were a part of a Military, so I won’t try to instruct you on combat.” Iota calmly said as she began to watch Beruta move along the road.

Another shot was sent out. Beruta took cover.

“This is not going to be an easy one. I am outnumbered, they know my location, and they likely know the environment better than I do.” Beruta said to Iota.

“Since their goal is to just eliminate you, then you can move their gaze to any point you want. In cases like this, deception is how you would win.” Iota told Beruta. “Therefore I will teach you a second technique.”

“What will it do?” Beruta asked.

“It will allow you to direct the movement of objects the size of pebbles and smaller.” Iota explained.

The Invaders then opened fire on Beruta’s Position. The debris of the impacts gathered across the area.

“Well that is convenient.” Iota said, watching the bits of dirt get tossed into the air.

“This doesn’t feel very convenient for me. How am I supposed to learn in these conditions?” Beruta asked Iota.

Iota then flicked her finger and tossed the debris at near sonic speed. The result of the collision impacted the wall leaving a small dent. “You could also use it by having the stones brush against something in the distance.” Iota said, using small rocks to knock a larger one off of a building’s ledge.

“Okay, I understand. I want to learn.” Beruta said, trying to maintain her cover. She shot back every so often to prevent the invaders from advancing towards her.

“Here’s a diddy for you. Small bits of Earth hear my call, travel across the land to accomplish my goals. The pieces of Earth were once part of the whole, and connecting with me is my command. By the Power of Iota this shall be obeyed.” Iota iterated to Beruta. “And your brain should handle the rest, like how you passively know how hard and what angle to throw a projectile to have it land at its goal.”

One of the invaders managed to flank Beruta’s position and shot her arm. The impact left another scratch on her. 

“Damn!” Beruta yelled out as she unloaded another full set into the invader.

“Looks like you better hurry, you might not be alive long enough to actually use it.” Iota said to Beruta.

“Well don’t sound too worried about me.” Beruta said sarcastically.

Beruta then repeated the phrase that Iota said. And Beruta caused the dust around her to scatter into the air providing a dust cloud cover for her to run.

Iota followed behind Beruta. “That wasn’t bad. Now you have two techniques you can employ. However, it seems that you lost concentration on your first technique. So your durability is back at original levels. You will die easily.” Iota informed Beruta.

“Really?! Wow, that was dangerous for me to move in that state!” Beruta said, before she chanted the previous phrase and reactivated her durability.

“With practice you will be able to passively perform techniques you always want active. It’s probably wise for you to get the hang of these two before continuing on more.” Iota suggested to Beruta.

Beruta in her new position tried to sneak around where she figured they were observing from.

Iota knew the location of every being in the town and stayed out of their gaze practically rendering herself invisible to them.

Beruta then kicked in an entrance and immediately cleared the room. She found no one inside.

“This place looks as though the people who lived here just went out for a stroll and are about to return.” Beruta thought to herself looking at the interior.

She then heard breathing from one of the storage rooms. She slowly made her way to the rooms and burst through the entrance, she pointed her weapon at the two people in the storage container.

“Speak!” Beruta yelled out at them.

They were too terrified to speak. Beruta yelled at them again. “Speak! Before I shoot you!” Beruta yelled.

“My name… is Yume.” The younger one said as she had her hands fully opened.

“I’m Bruni… I am Yume’s Parental Render.” The other one, who was barely older said.

Beruta lowered her weapon. “Okay, you both have typical speech patterns of a Ren Shaole.” Beruta said to them. “Are there any more people in this building?” Beruta asked.

Our neighbor played their sounds every single day until the morning, but yesterday they stopped, and our parent went to check. But she did not return immediately. After that I knew something was wrong and told Yume to hide in the Storage rooms. I went to check and she was missing. I witnessed another neighbor of ours get stabbed and I ran.” Bruni told Beruta.

Beruta’s face grew a scowl, but Iota’s face had no visible change.

“Good work Yume, you were brave to immediately seek safety and remain there. Because of  you I know that this mission of mine will not be in vain.” Beruta said to Yume. “Now you two stay put.” Beruta said as she backed away from the storage room.

“You seemed to show more favour to one of them than the other, despite the slightly older one showing more bravery.” Iota said to Beruta.

“Obviously. The older one is a Parental Render, that’s their job.” Beruta said feeling like that should have been obvious.

“How can you tell the difference?” Iota asked.

“… ah, are you just testing me, or are you really trying to get an answer? That sort of question almost makes it seem like you aren’t even human. Which actually wouldn’t surprise me too much.” Beruta tried to lighten the mood.

“I am curious.They both were Ren Shaole to me.” Iota remarked.

“Well, a Render, in their case a Parental Render is a person who was born from one parent through self insemination. While Principals like you and me, and the younger one are those who came from a combination of two or more parents. Renders are generally shorter and have shorter back appendages, also they can’t reproduce…is that a good enough explanation.” Beruta asked Iota.

“That’s plenty. So they are still Ren Shaole, but are just born differently.” Iota summarized to herself.

“Yes, that’s the jist of it. In the Military, the highest rank a Render can achieve is a Chief Warrant Officer. But for us Principals we can eventually become Generals. We also start as Lt. while they begin as Privates. It’s a whole thing.” Beruta added for Iota’s general knowledge.

“Interesting. This information could be rather vital for me in trying to expand my responsibilities.” Iota said to Beruta.

“What’s that?” Beruta asked.

“You can ignore it. It doesn’t matter.” Beruta said. “Oh speaking of which, this building is about to be raided.” 

Beruta was caught by surprise. She dashed away and found a hiding spot. Iota then vanished.

“No, don’t tell me you left to just have me handle this alone…” Beruta became worried. Iota typically joined Beruta when she went into cover.

The building was then stormed into. About 8 Invaders entered the house. They spoke to one another in a strange language that Beruta could not understand.

The invaders then began to take items out of the house and move them outside to be shredded.

“What are they doing? I thought they were coming in here looking for me.” Beruta thought to herself.

A group of invaders then made their way towards the storage rooms.

“Damn, that’s the last place I want them to go!” Beruta thought to herself. Beruta recharged her weapon. Then she chanted her Second Technique. Causing stones in the Consumption hall to shuffle about.

The invaders’ attention was captured as they thought that someone was moving in the back. They prepared blades and made their way towards the room.

Beruta then silently chanted her first technique which she called Rock Skin.

She came out of her cover and shot the back of the heads of 3 of the invaders. The others then turned around to find the source of the sound. They tried to stab her but their blades glided across and off of Beruta’s skin.

She then shot them point blank in the face taking out another 2.

The 3 remaining ones ran trying to find shelter in the home. One of them ran into the Storage Rooms.

There were then screams in the back.

Beruta ran to check the disturbance. One of the invaders had grabbed both of the children, they had the blade pressed against both of their necks.

“Wait there and don’t move.” The invader said with a strange accent.

Beruta lifted all of her hands. “Okay, see, I’m cooperating.” Beruta said, trying to calm the situation down.

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