The Gemstone Chronicles – Book 3 – Chapter 8

Bristia Continent, Moradonya, Commander Oryx’s Residence - Library

Myra slammed her hands down on a well-cut wooden desk. Her eyes were puffy and tired, sore from constant reading. Over the past week, Myra had been devouring all the material placed in front of her. In order to survive in her new life, she decided to do what she did as a human, and study hard to succeed.

Memories of her family flashed in her mind. Her mother, a tired seamstress working on noble’s clothes, trying to insure their livelihood through her own means. Her father, a missing part of her life, having died when she was seven, leaving her forever more. Her little brother, Thai, still at that stage in life when he was adorable and not yet annoying, cute and small. Tears threatened to overflow, swarming her eyes.

“No!” She thought, mentally grieving. “They are gone. I must focus on the now. I promise you, mother, Thai, that I avenge you. But not now. Just wait for me.” She bowed forward, tears streaming down her face.

“Please.”

Ever since she had woken up in Moradonya, Myra had been suppressing her past, trying to keep her mind off the trauma. However, after a week of constantly distracting her mind, learning all she could about the Shade society, she finally ran out of things to do.

Myra sat on her chair, crying softly to her self.

Alone.

Time rolled by, the sun slowly drifting across a lonely sky as a girl’s heart shattered and then reformed anew, tempered in pain and suffering.

Myra stood, wiping her hands on her face. She breathed deeply, a fierce light glinting in her eye. Veritable waves of determination rolled off of her. She looked around the room, at the neatly stacked books set to the side. The large bookcases filled with more volumes. The windows, letting the evening light seep in through thick, dark curtains.

She took a step forward. And then, another. She kept walking, refusing to look back, as she walked towards the exit.

Myra stumbled, slipping on a discarded book, falling to the ground. She remembered the last words her father spoke to her, when she was but a child.

Myra had been 6 years old. She was practicing controlling her innate strength, trying to move her feet in a complicated moving pattern that was supposed to help in split second dodging. She had been determined to impress her dad, her idol.

However, she fell, over and over, tripping. Every time she fell, she stood again, refusing to give up. However, time after time, she failed. Tears filled her eyes, as she sat on the ground, defeated.

Her father walked up to her then, a gentle eyed man giving off a powerful aura. He had a father’s warm smile and a kind look in his eyes.

Myra looked at him with her tear filled eyes, saying, “What do I do dad. I, I keep falling, I can’t do it!” she covered her face with her hands.

He said to her then, imprinting upon her very soul, “My father once told me a saying from ancient times. Legend has it, a human once reigned over the world, ruling as he saw fit. However, when he was young, he failed many times. When he was filled with doubt, when he was falling, failing to succeed, he somehow persevered. Later on in his reign, he was asked how he managed to never lose faith, to never give up. The ruler of the world, a man who lifted a thousand mountains, a man who turned a hundred seas, a man who went against the gods themselves said:

Fall seven times

Stand up eight

To this day, these words forever echoed in her mind, when failure struck. When she lost hope, when all seemed gone, her soul clutched to this simple phrase, refusing to give up, refusing to quit.

She stood, rising from the floor by force of will alone.

She began, “Fall seven times.

Stand up eight.”

Myra walked out of the room, moving forward, to an unknown future in a strange new world.

Theldon Continent, The Under Cave, Delica City-State

Dale sat still for a moment, going through his new memories again, one by one. He was amazed at the clarity he recalled these other memories, as if he had been physically present in each one.

As Dale went through the new memories in his mind, for a scant moment, a time so slight it can barely be considered having happened at all, he felt a voice in his mind softly growl,

“Weakling.”

Dale looked up, startled. He looked around for the owner of the voice, wondering if he had imagined it. After nothing happened for a few minutes, he got out of bed, changing out of his nightclothes into an outfit Jerah’s family had provided. It was still morning by the time he got dressed and was ready. His stomach growled, reminding him he had yet to eat. Dale walked up to the door and peered out into the hallway.

After seeing nobody walk by, Dale ventured out, searching for a place to get food. After about a minute of walking, Dale heard the sounds of a kitchen hard at work. He took a deep breath, smelling freshly raised bread and steaming sausage. His mouth watered as he considered his stomach.

Dale walked into the kitchen, a bustling hive of activity. Pots clanged and sizzled as food was cooked by harried looking chefs. The kitchen was huge, easily five times the size of Dales small room. He looked around in awe. It was his first time in a kitchen of this size, and he had never seen so much food in one place.

One of the chefs noticed him and walked over. The chef noticed the nice clothes he wore, courtesy of Jerah.

“What can I do for you, sir?” Said a smiling fat chef, wearing a stained apron. He was completely bald, with a short grey beard.

“I was just looking for something to eat, actually!” Dale began, feeling his stomach rumble, “I’d be fine if I could just grab a roll or two.”

The chef nodded, yelling to one of the other chefs. Quickly, a steaming plate of hot buns and sausage was in Dales hands as left the kitchen. He devoured them, savoring the flavor. The buns were truly delicious, with some kind of honey butter added to them. Dale smacked his lips as he finished eating. He handed off his plate to a nearby servant.

After eating his fill, Dale walked towards the entrance of the manor, where he had agreed to meet Jerah. After getting lost twice, he managed to find the entrance, accidentally stumbling upon it. The manor entrance bustled with activity, as people walked in and out, messengers running in as guards and miners walked out. Dale watched with wide eyes as a virtual ménage of people traveled by.

The Var family home was a true great house of Delica, and as such had a wide variety of visitors. Traveling statesman, warriors, craftsmen, and more would all visit and pay respects. Traders would come to make large-scale purchases, miners to drop off ore, guards to make reports.

Dale watched with child like eyes as people walked by, sitting next to a large pillar that supported the roof.

The entrance area was composed of a very large hall supported by 12 large pillars. The southern most one, on the left side of the entrance, was where Dale waited.

Eventually, time went by, and about 20 minutes later, Dale saw Jerah walk in the front. He was walking alone, looking around. He was wearing similar attire to yesterday, this time a black shirt covered in lacy gold, and had a small leather bag attached to his waist.

Dale waved to him and walked forward. Jerah smiled, greeting him,

“Dale! Found you! I sent a servant to your room but you weren’t there.” He shook Dales hand.

Dale shrugged, “I was hungry and went to your kitchen to get some food. That place is huge!” Jerah laughed, amused at Dale’s childish wonder. He was also a little proud, enjoying his family home being complimented.

“I forgot to tell you yesterday Dale, but we had some of my guards go back to the battle sight and gather the Monster Cores of the lizard warriors that we defeated.” Jerah began, motioning with his hands. Jerah pulled the small leather bag he had tucked around his waist, handing it to Dale.

“In here, theres 16 Copper Cores, 19 Iron Cores, and 1 Steel Core, all from those lizards.” He smiled.

Dale looked at the pouch in his hands in shock. It was worth more than anything he had ever owned in his life. He looked at Jerah, double-checking that it was actually his. He wrapped it around his own waist, putting it aside for now. Dale looked back at Jerah,

“Thanks! I’m sure I’ll find a use for them.” Dale smiled, giddy at his newfound wealth. Monster cores had a huge variety of uses, and the one Dale was most excited for was the ability to absorb energy from them. Using these cores, Dales Core cultivation would rapidly speed up. He dreamed of reaching the Silver Core level, and becoming his own powerhouse.

The Silver Core level was very different then the Steel Core level. You could only reach the Silver Core by building up years of energy, condensing it all to form a powerful core. No matter how talented one was, it still took time.

Jerah walked back outside, motioning for Dale to follow. They quickly walked off the main path, and moved through the Var family gardens. They walked for a few minutes, discussing Monster Cores and the battle that had happened. Eventually, Jerah brought up what he wanted to discuss.

“So Dale, what are your plans now?” Jerah said, looking at him curiously. Jerah knew that Dale was from a different continent, with no way of returning.

“I don’t know. I’m not strong enough to get home yet, I think I’ll focus on getting stronger, so I can visit my grandpa and my friends. I’m sure they’re worried sick over me.” Dale said decisively. His mind drifted on to his friends.

Jerah looked at him speculatively, “Then, why don’t you join my family’s guards? Specifically, you can be my personal guard!” Jerah gestured excitedly, looking at Dale.

“I am only one of many sons that my father, the family heir, sired. If I want to succeed in the world, I need to prove myself worthy to my family. One of the best ways would be for me to discover a new mine or some great treasure. However, if I travel with outside the city, I have to be escorted by at least a Steel Core commander, and all the Steel Core guards are in my fathers pay. Theirs no way I can surprise him with a discovery on my own if his men are with me. The credit will go to his men, and not a child like me.” Annoyance colored Jerah’s tone as he spoke. He seemed quite annoyed.

“Last year, I found a good sized copper mine, through my own prospecting. However, because one of fathers Steel Commanders was with me, he assumed the commander did most of the work, and not me.” Jerah looked away irritably. He still remembered his fathers happy excitement when he shook the Steel commanders hand. He shook the memory off.

He looked at Dale with a light in his eye,

“However! That changes with you! You qualify as a Steel Commander, having formed your Steel Core, and if you come with me, I’ll get full credit for whatever I find! Also, I’m not going to ask you to help me for nothing! While I may only be one of many sons, I am not poor! I can help you gather anything you need in exchange for your help! After all, the stronger you are, the more clout I’ll have with my family.” Jerah looked at Dale expectantly.

Dale took a moment, considering his offer. If it could help him quickly gain strength, he would normally take it without a second thought. However, he didn’t want to have to waste time after he became strong enough to return home. He wavered back and forth on deciding what to do.

Jerah picked up on this, noting his indecision, and said, “The continent your family is on is Chel right? You need to be at least a Gem Core warrior to reach that continent, because of the energy walls surrounding it. After you reach the Gem Core level, you can do whatever you want. How does that sound?”

Immediately all the indecision Dale had flew away, and he nodded, shaking his hand in agreement.

“Excellent!” Jerah cried, nodding happily, “Well then! Off to our first job! We are going to inspect my family’s famous Gem mine!”

Dale stared at him in consternation as Jerah dragged him forward, out towards the manor entrance, immediately putting him to work.

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