Chapter 2: Two Beasts
Year 4097, a hundred years after humanity first discovered the existence of what they named "Earth's Core". A hundred years of extreme searching without a method to follow by, with occasionally finding and then studding the small number of Earth's Cores that were unearth within their borders. A hundred years with the highest records of theft and assassinations since the move to New Earth and ninety-eight years after the first human to possess the power of an Earth's Core was murdered, the full report of the Earth's Core's research was published to the general public.
The first thing to amaze all avid readers was the report's opening phrase, which was a quote of its lead researcher: "The Earth's Core is mysterious". Many were ensnared by these first words.
A hundred years of research and the end results starts with the word "Mysterious", "How could that be?" Many asked in puzzlement. The only ones who were not surprised and did not pay much attention to the opening phrase were those who knew how difficult it was, and still is, to find the Earth's Cores.
Continuing was a comparison of the Earth's Core to the common Sun Stone. After digging an Earth's Core and removing its earthly cover a small sphere with various earth tones, eight to fourteen centimeter in diameter, will be all that is left. The surface of the sphere is tougher than a diamond and smoother than a pearl, much like the six centimeter in diameter Sun Stones and larger. There are also no known methods for breaking the Earth's Core with external forces, making it the hardest substance of any size known to man. Microscopic examination on the light brown mist inside the Earth's Core preceded a breakthrough that allowed a higher understanding for why Nature supplied the Earth's Core and Sun Stone, crystals of the same family it seems, such a hard surface. They were meant to contain extreme forces!
First was the Sun Stone, its brightness made it easy to find and so it was thought to be more common. In it a sun like energy is contained, also able to project exuberant rays of radiation that in the last thousands years helped human's cells evolve to a stage where most diseases did not affect them.
Second was the Earth's Core. Growing inside the earth it was clearly harder to find than the Sun Stone. Furthermore, of fear from Nature's response, humanity had to hold back from turning New Earth upside down when searching for Earth's Cores. Eventually, only a handful of Earth's Cores were mined within humanity's borders. Speaking about the mist inside the Earth's Core, the one word all the researchers agreed upon unanimously was "Peculiar". Access to the mist is possible only when one becomes attached to the Earth's Core in his or her possession. The Earth's Core would enter the owner's body and settle itself in the infinite space of the lower dantian, a few centimeters below the navel. There, if done properly by meditating, the holder of the Earth's Core will contact the mist inside the Earth's Core and use it to break the now to be describe as "Shell". The more cracks appears on the shell the more of its mist is excreted.
When the mist leaks out, it will then proceed through the body of the Earth's Core's holder and strengthen its internals, then go past the bones, skin and hair and make them stronger and flexible as well. At the end of the process, the miss will reenter the body again. This cycle will continue for twelve times until the mist will settle in the dantian and repeat the process, the same number of times, for each new crack that will appear on the Earth's Core, but with greater amount of mist. There are also speculations that the Earth's Core will also increase its holder's life span.
"CAUTION!" The word was emphasized and a warning followed, explaining that if one avoids meditating early after the Earth's Core enters the body and then, at some point in time, the dantian will suffer tremors, the shell will crack on its own and the first cycle of mist leaving and entering the body will start, accompanied by unimaginable pain to every part of the body and a great loss of blood.
The one part before last of the Earth's Core's report was the most astonishing. When the number of cracks on the shell will reach a certain amount, the shell would then crumble and will merge with the mist, increasing its volume and purity two folds, also changing its color from the previews dark brown to bright white. After This breakthrough the holder of the Earth's Core, which turned to pure energy, shall gain the title "Core Breaker", and for further advancement, will have to continue practicing by cultivating the mist energy through meditation.
Finally the last part of the report stirred the heart of every human who read it for good or for bad.
"CAUTION!" For the moment, within our, humanity territory, the act of mining Earth's Cores has been unanimously declared illegal by the United Governments of New Earth. Therefore, a severe sentence will be given to anyone caught handling Earth's Cores without the consent of the UGNE.
Reading that last part many understood at once. The UGNE did not forbid entering the beasts' territory and mine there. And because the interaction with the beasts was limited to only two cases since the move to New Earth, one being when the two sides met and agreed upon their boundaries, second was the event that took place a hundred years ago near the Taltalon colony, which less than fourteen people were present at and after some time its matter withered of growing disbelief, no one knew how the beasts evolved over time apart from the heads of the UGNE.
Thus, just like the rush for gold millenniums ago, began the rush for Earth's Cores. As if forgetting or just ignoring the initial agreement between two species, herds of humans invaded the beasts' territory using old age technology as firearms for protection or assault if need be. The reason for old tech was due to the adaption process to New Earth, because of it the number of advancement in any field was reduced to a handful in every hundreds of years - experts claimed it was as a result of the fear of angering Nature, since the assumption that humans brought upon Nature's decision to change its rules thousands of years ago could not be completely denied.
Strong men and strong women entered beasts' caves like a wave that topple anything on its way. Within two weeks hundreds of beasts were driven from their nests and burrows in the caves, which marked the outer parts of the beasts' territory, as trees were cut down and heavy power tools that were charged by Sun Stones' radiation shattered the earth. The results, which made humanity thrilled, were tens of Earth's Cores in just a few months. On the other hand, the senseless destruction led to thousands of beasts to lose their homes and the deaths of at least a hundred that tried to protect their own.
After the UGNE officially grabbed control over the quest for the Earth's Cores it painted it as a research expedition, to cast away the worries of those who did not support entering the beasts' territory.
A year has passed. The UGNE possessed now roughly five hundred Earth's Cores and under it served thirty to forty Earth's Cores Holders. Over this past year, although the number of casualties increased on both sides, humanity had the upper hand since from the beginning their numbers overpowered the beasts' ten to one, and by now almost half of the outer caves of the beast's territory were annexed. Humanity seemed to be on the rise, no longer after just Earth's Cores but also every natural resource they could get their hands on, even a market for the different kinds of beasts that were killed has opened, encouraging people to continue the massacre.
In the middle of the second year a sudden death of over ten thousand men and women in a single night brought the expedition to a halt. The UGNE sent a unit of seven of its Earth's Core Holders, one of which was a Core Breaker, to the place where all its workers died. There, according to the report of the only two that got back, they encountered three beasts. One was an over three meters tall horse with red mane and black scales, second was white feathers blue eyes eagle with wingspan of over ten meters and the third was a one meter tall, more than half a meter wide, green ape with a crown of yellow feathers growing from its third eye.
The three beasts launched a surprise attack, killing instantly two of the seven members of the unit. The third one was saved by the Core Breaker, who then started to fight with the green ape, which seemed to be his equal. The remaining four members paired and fought the other two beasts.
For a while all side fought equally, till a change for the worse occurred on the humans' side. The five members of the unit were caught in a formation that the three beasts had set. The Core Breaker was forced to take the full blow of the formation which slowed him down enough for the black scales horse and the green ape to perform a joint attack and kill two more members of the unit. Realizing his chances for survival were slim, the Core Breaker, as the unit's leader, commanded the remaining two to escape and inform the UGNE what happened.
When the invasion began the UGNE stood back and waited to see how the beasts would react. When nothing happened they decided to act, partly because they wanted to heighten the progress of the Earth's Cores' search by organizing and leading the different parties properly. Hearing the full report, the heads of the UGNE were not moved greatly by the appearance of the three beasts, only that they encountered them too early by their estimation that is, while still in the outer parts of the beasts' territory.
The UGNE suspected long ago that the beasts were aware of the Earth's Core's existence before humanity. As to why they never used their power to take over all of New Earth even though their territory was smaller than that of humanity's, the UGNE believed that it was because of the beasts' nature. No matter how they evolved they were not humans.
The one thing that bothered the UGNE was the loss of the Core Breaker. A being such as him in their forces was rare. Backed to a corner the UGNE reevaluated every man and woman in its forces and depleted its stack of Earth's Core by creating an army of Earth's Cores Holders. In addition to the new army, the UGNE offered an Earth's Core to any new recruit that will be found fit to receive one and promised to compensate generously those that did not or will not receive with claims that if they will achieve their goal, in the future every man woman and child will possess an Earth's Core for a nominal fee.
For twenty seven full years the UGNE halted its advancement in the beasts' territory, recreating its army with the power of Earth's Cores. For all this time there was no retaliation coming from the beasts and so the UGNE acted with caution as it continued to mine Earth's Cores. As the new army was near perfection it numbered ten million soldiers, Hundred thousand of which were Earth's Core Holders and less than a thousand were Core Breakers.
War broke in the underground word, New Earth. As humanity led with greater numbers, the beasts led with superior bodies and much more years of experience utilizing the power of the Earth's Core. Furthermore, any of the Core Breaker level beasts demonstrated intelligence equal to that of humans.
The war went on for centuries. Sometimes humanity pushed back, sometimes the beasts, but the battle ground never left the first two-thirds of the beasts' outer territory. The humans could not advance any further and the beasts never tried to cross the border of two species.
800 years of war. The UGNE had to, for the first time, pull back its forces on its own and passed the beasts' side a request for a cease fire, hoping that it will be accepted. After so many years of war its forces numbered three million soldiers, twenty thousand Earth's Core Holders and three hundred Core Breakers, while the beasts remained resilient as ever. A response did not arrive, but the beast ceased their attacks on the humans.
Seven days later, two figures entered a UGNE's army camp, camp three seventy-two, and sparked a furor, mainly because one of them was fifty meters long and they both came from above without anyone being noticed. The two were lizard type beasts, the bigger one looked like a green scales dragon with purple mane, two silver horns and green eyes, the other one was humanoid, around two meters tall with crimson scales covering its body and two silver horns coming out from the sides of its lizard head.
The humanoid lizard jump down from the wingless back of the dragon. Without opening its mouth it passed a telepathic demand to all the presence soldiers. "Bring here your leaders".
Feeling the two's unfathomable auras, only one soldier, a late phase Earth's Core holder, could keep his senses straight as the rest of the troops fell down to the ground, clenching uncontrollably in fear. Panting for breath, that middle age soldier opened his mouth. "Please wait", he sounded like he was begging and set off, running to the main camp.
Running in his top speed, Don, the middle age soldier, reached to the main camp, camp zero zero one, which was located at the border of two species in the western caves, after twelve hours of running. Without stating the purpose of his arrival he passed the camp's gourds, scanned the surroundings with his aura and hurried to where he felt were the gathering forces, the army's Three Generals.
The Three Generals served in the UGNE since the creation of the Earth's Core army. All three came from different backgrounds; one was the son of a great colony leader, second was the daughter of a UGNE's official and third was the son of a widow who remarried with a farmer. The three got to know each other during their battles and became closer by changing points in their training. Eventually they toasted for brotherhood and sisterhood, becoming not just for one another, but also the whole UGNE's army's pillars of support.
Having nothing to do but wait for orders after the last one for a cease fire has been given; the Three General spent their time in the company of one another.
Two of the generals engaged in a game of chess while the third was busy writing a scroll when Don barged into their tent. Feeling the cold gaze of Third General, Don immediately bowed. "Lieutenant Colonel Don Hakate stands, forgive this one for his rudeness, Three Generals. A great deal has happened in my camp, camp three seventy-two, and so I rushed here indiscriminately".
"Speak". Second General played her move on the chess board and said.
"Yes, Second General. Half a day ago two mighty lizard type beasts, one dragon one humanoid, entered our northeastern camp and demanded a session with its leaders".
"Oh..." Second General commented, impressed and returned to the game as Third General finished his move.
Don continued. "Since our camp's first and second commanders were not present, I was the next highest ranked officer. I'm ashamed to say that even I, a late phase Earth's Core Holder, could not measure the opponent's strength and as a result lost my cool..."
"You seem to be doing pretty well in our presence". Third General said.
"Stop teasing him". Second General snapped. "Big brother is writing a new scroll. Let's hurry up and listen to the boy's story and be done with it without further interruptions to big brother".
"Right, big sister. I should apologize to big brother later". Third General said sincerely, yet still smiled. It was always funny to see his big sister disguises her maternal instinct towards young soldiers with excuses. He turned to Don, "So you felt the need to inform us three ... How did the two beasts react?"
"I asked of them to wait. They didn't respond, but I sensed their approval. That is all".
"Okay, there is no need for you to go back. Rest here and keep what you told us to yourself". For the first time First General laid down his brush and joined the conversation.
"Yes, Three Generals". Don bowed and left the tent.