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49% A New Beginning in a Mana Apocalypse / Chapter 48: Chapter 48 - Uncertain Loyalty and an Epiphany

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Chapter 48: Chapter 48 - Uncertain Loyalty and an Epiphany

The pair of falcon's frowned at me unhappily. "No She is An, I am Gel." The male falcon told me.

I groaned but nodded my understanding.

"Good, we will go get the others now." Gel told me then before I could even reply the pair of falcons disappeared into the air shifting into their beast form quickly.

I tried to watch them leave but their coloring blended into the clear sky perfectly letting them disappear quickly.

"Make sure no one pisses them off. They would probably end up dead without even realizing how they died." I commented aloud.

Mary moved to my opposite side and clung onto my arm making me feel even more relaxed. "No worries master, Nala and I will be enough to handle them." she tried to reassure me.

"And if they were only scouts?" I asked in return.

Mary stared at me in surprise as if she hadn't considered that a possibility.

"What did he mean that he doesn't have the ability to become a emperor?" I asked Mary and looked to Dena.

Dena seemed to decide to get in on the action and moved to my back before leaning onto me while wrapping her arms around me. It didn't make me feel more reassured, but I couldn't help but enjoy the feel of her assets pressed into my back.

"It is like your cores. An emperor isn't just a high level beast, it also has to have a golden mana heart. He does not have one. At best he is a silver. If he is lucky he might be able to hunt down a few weak emperors and advance to a gold himself, but with the way that last wave affected everyone, it is unlikely that he will find any gold hearts that are weaker than he is." Mary explained to me.

"Golden heart?" I asked.

Mary nodded. "Awakened have mana cores, beasts have mana hearts, plants have mana seeds, twisted have mana gems, each race has their own form of mana gatherer and its color denotes the individuals potential." Mary replied.

"What of you three?" I asked.

"Nala and I are silver, Dena is a purple who can advance to silver at any moment. Perhaps consummating your relation with her could help? It did for Nala and I, we were were only purples before the last wave." Mary told me.

I frowned as I processed that. "You seem to understand a lot." I commented though I wasn't against the idea of sleeping with Dena, though I did admit that I would encourage the idea of sleeping with any of my women.

Mary gave me one of her very rare smiles. "There is a lot about me master does not know. When we have the chance I would like to explain it all to you." she told me her face then returning back to its normal expressionlessness. "Though it would probably take all night." she added.

Was she hitting on me? I didn't mind. She and Nala had special positions despite the fact that her bond hadn't been increased back to marital status.

Calidia released my hand and some of the comfort she was giving me disappeared making me feel a bit sad. Turning to look at her I saw her watching Jessarn and his family as they bustled around. "What is it?" I asked her.

"There are more silvers among his group." Calidia replied.

I nodded then watched them for a few moments myself. While they seemed to be doing a lot, I didn't see anything being done. There was no gathering of supplies that I could see, and now knowing that Jessarn was an Immortal Wanderer I knew that he had to have prepared for all of this. If he wasn't willing to share their supplies with us I couldn't argue with him, but at the same time I wouldn't share what we had with them either.

"Make a note of all of them and make sure they all stay away from our supplies." I told Calidia.

"Daryl!" Tracy exclaimed unhappily.

I looked back to Tracy and started to wonder how long I could continue on with this game with her. The lingering effects of the marital bond made me feel connected to her and want her by my side, but now she was one of my greatest weaknesses as she was related to Jessarn whom I had no illusions of having his loyalty. With her caught in the middle I doubted she would chose me over her family. Should I give up on her? With seven other women confirmed to want to be with me and four others who were on the fence I was already stretched pretty thin.

Tracy seemed to sense that there was something wrong by the way I was looking at her. She moved to my side and took the hand Calidia had released. "Please give them a chance." she pleaded to me. I felt reassured with her holding my hand and wanted to relent but forced myself to stay strong. "I will judge them based on their actions Tracy. How they act towards us will determine how we treat them." I replied.

Tracy didn't seem happy with my response.

"What will you do if they betray us?" Dena asked Tracy.

"Huh?" Tracy asked looking to Dena who was still leaning into my back.

"Master Daryl is taking a great risk allowing them to come with us after how they behaved earlier. If they betray us later where will you stand? With them? Or with us?" Dena asked again.

Tracy frowned as she released my hand backing away from us. I could see the fear and uncertainty on her face and decided to leave her be. I hated the idea, but I doubted Tracy would remain with us or allow me to court her. I regretted my words earlier. I wanted to take the effort to court her and secure her loyalty but I had too many women and too many things to do to give her the time.

"Don't give up so easily." Mary whispered to me then released my other arm and approached Tracy pulling her to the side and away from the rest of us.

I watched them go then shifted and pulled Dena from my back to my side then wrapped my arm around her waist. She smiled at me then leaned her head against my shoulder as we waited. I had no idea how much longer either group was going to be. Eventually Calidia seemed satisfied with what she had seen and returned to my side taking my hand in hers. I felt the reassurance and warmth as soon as her hand grabbed mine.

I frowned then looked down at my hand that Calidia was holding and the reassurance and comfort I was getting from it. Looking to Dena I didn't feel anything like that. Sure she was hot and I liked having her there, but it didn't make me feel reassured and comforted.

After a few more moments I realized I had been feeling that from several women, all were my girls of course. Was it because of the bonds or our intimate relationship? No it couldn't be the intimate relationship. I hadn't slept with Tracy and I could feel it from her. My mind raced as I tried to understand what was going on. After a few moments of thought I realized the similarity was the marital bonds. They weren't active now, but all the women who affected me like that had been bound to me with a marital bond before.

I knew there was a lingering effect from the old bond, it was why I still felt so drawn to all the girls despite the fact that limiting it to just Megan would be so much simpler. However I wondered if there was more to it.

With a sigh I knew I needed to sit down and try to figure out all of these abilities, especially the mind ability. I had feared it before and now I regret it. I could only believe that it could give me some protection from all these mental influences, and with how crazy everything was and was likely to get worse, I needed that more than ever.

Glancing at Jessarn and seeing them still running around pointlessly I decided now was as good a time as any.

I closed my eyes and looked at my abilities then nearly cursed. Why couldn't my abilities stay put and let me figure them out?! Nothing anyone had told me explained why my abilities couldn't stay put!

My beast and plant abilities had split off from my my bonding ability and now floated on their own. The non human girls were still present with my bonding ability, and were set apart from my human girls with an image of their non human forms included with their human form. Nala also had the three wolves subservient to her and through her bound to me.

The plant and beast abilities now had their own tier above my mana core like the bonding and elemental lord abilities, and from each of them I saw my girls that applied to each ability including the wolves all of which mirrored my bonding ability. However added to that was a new ability, for the beast was the beast form I had used while the plant had a transparent tree form. I guessed that I had the ability to take on a plant form similar to my beast form. While curious about it I had no desire to figure it out.

Also with the plant and beast ability was a third ability. For the beast it was a transparent golden heart, for the plant a golden seed that looked like walnut with the shell still on.

After a moment I had an epiphany. My abilities were shifting around and changing as I began to understand them better. The first shape of my abilities was probably just the starter form waiting for me to understand more about the abilities. When the bond and elemental abilities shifted I had been sure that it was related to my bloodline inheritances from my parents, but I didn't believe my bond ability could have this kind of effect on my beast and plant ability. I remembered that from the start I had only been given hints at each abilities potential but left to discover the rest on my own. Now I was sure that what I understood about the ability and how I perceived it would shape my abilities to be unique to me despite having the same starting point as others.

With that realization I understood what had been hinted at and I refused to acknowledge. The golden heart and golden seed began to glow and take on solid form, a moment later my beast and plant ability shifted around again. My beast and plant abilities I had been familiar with disappeared completely as the heart and seed shifted to to the center of the level and connected to my girls and my special form. I had no idea how I had done it but I no longer had just a mana core, I now had a mana heart and a mana seed within me making me a real beast and plant emperor.

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