My mind was full of the plans that needed to be made, supplies, shelter, make another haven… All that went out the door when I arrived back in my haven.
Tracy ran up to me and gave me a hug which I returned happily though I had no idea how she had gotten there. She and her family had gone there own way, hadn't they?
Looking around I found Jessarn and the rest of his family was standing in their own group. Rather than increasing to five groups it stayed at four as the female survivors had merged with my wive's group.
However I didn't think much about Jessarn or how they arrived in my haven. In the center of the four groups stood Calidia who was using her healing ability on my older sister Annitte who looked pretty torn up. Blood covered one side of her face and her clothes were tattered, to say it nicely, and covered in blood.
"Hey little brother." Annitte called out with a tired smile.
"Hey." I replied awkwardly. "You alright?" I asked.
Annitte looked sad for a moment. "No, not really, but I will be fine. We have some things to talk about. As you might have guessed I brought Jessarn and his family here. They came to my place, but it isn't really safe there so I brought them here with me. You should really bond that girl if you want to keep her. The sooner the better." she told me. "Those twins too, if you let then keep thinking about it someone else will swoop in and steal them away."
"That isn't your decision to make." Derek protested angrily.
"Be quiet old man. You have no idea what has been going on lately or how precarious a situation you are all in." Annitte said without even looking at Derek.
"Grandpa said I shouldn't hesitate anymore." Tracy told me in a whisper. "Mourning won't let me move on."
I gave her waist a squeeze, "But did you agree? It hasn't even been a week" I asked back in a whisper.
Tracy nodded. "Yeah, I know." she said seeming sad. "But I need to move on if I want to keep up with all the changes. Marrying you will help me move on." she replied.
I didn't want to miss this chance, but I didn't want her regretting her decision a few hours, days, or weeks later. "Is that what your grandpa told you?" I asked.
Tracy shook her head. "No, everytime I start to grieve something happens and I can barely think or react to it. I can't let myself go back to the way I was when you found me. Its too fast and drastic, I know that, but I know you care, the way you have treated me till now proves that to me. I also know you find me attractive, you were never able to keep your eyes off of me when you were in class. Even when you were supposed to be looking at something else." She chidded me with a smirk.
I blushed a bit, I wasn't going to miss the chance, she seemed sure and that was enough for me. I established the bond without further hesitation. Call it selfish, I don't care, if Jessarn went to my sister then I wasn't as worried about his loyalties. I was still pissed that he abandoned us but this and that were separate issues.
Annitte seemed to sense the establishment of the bond and nodded. "Good, now bring your trusted with you and I will tell you all what has been going on." Annitte told us.
"No, they will send everyone else away, you aren't moving anywhere." Caly spoke up.
Annitte glared at Caly but Caly didn't flinch away from her which seemed to surprise my sister. "So be it then." she grumbled.
"Derek, Michael, Courtney, Jessarn, Momma, Jasmine, and my wives can stay they rest of you should go." I called out.
The rest of Jessarn's family immediately started to leave. Derek hesitated then looked at me, "Can I have Candice stay?" he asked me politely the pretty major from before blushing by his side while the rest of the military moved away.
It was odd hearing him ask for permission. I was so startled that I hesitated to answer. "Yes!" Jessica and Jamie called out from my group of wives.
Hearing them I nodded.
"Thank you." Jasmine said as the rest of her girls took some distance.
Michael's group seemed to hesitate but a look from Michael and they are started to leave too. Kelly gathered the children and was escorted away by the beast minions. Marshal and Grace's family didn't seem too happy but they followed after Kelly. After a few minutes the only people that remained were the people I had called out plus the pretty major by Derek's side.
Mary stepped forward her hand glowing. Vines appeared out of the ground to form chairs for all of us to sit on. I gave her a smile then sat down, there was more give to the vine chair than I liked but I wasn't going to complain, the alternatives was to remain standing or sitting on the dirt.
Megan took the seat to my right while Karen took the seat to my left. The other girls took seats behind me expect Calidia. Seemed Mary wanted to keep the us all close.
Once Annitte was sitting in a chair with Calidia beside her continuing to heal her she seemed to finally relax.
"Why did you let Courtney stay?" Megan asked me.
"She seemed to be glued to your brother." I replied. "I forgot to bring my tools to separate them." I replied. Looking at the couple I could see that Michael seemed a bit relieved as he held Courtney's hand, while Courtney seemed proud, probably thought my including her was an acknowledgement of her relationship with Michael. In a way it was, but only because I was too tired to fight over something so trivial. Michael could make his own decisions when it came to his relationships.
"Alright, I don't have a lot of strength left, so let's get this over with, I have no idea how long I will sleep after this." she told me.
"Probably a week. Maybe a bit less." Jessarn replied.
Annitte grimaced. "Damn." she groaned.
I thought they were joking, but the serious expressions on their faces made me reconsider. "What do you mean?" I asked.
Jessarn frowned at me while Annitte groaned. "I forgot, you really are as young as you look." she said. "Like our parents, we are immortal Daryl. Not invincible mind you, but we do not die easily. If you tweak your bonds with your wives, they can benefit from your immortality too. We can discuss that later though." she told me though I noticed all my wives and the twins perked up excitement showing in their expressions. "However when we get severely injured we will go into a form of hibernation the next time we sleep. The more severe the injury the longer the sleep. When we wake up we will have healed up back to perfect health, but we are also helpless while we sleep. Calidia's efforts are appreciated, but not actually needed. Though she might shorten my sleep by a day or so, so I won't complain." she added when Calidia glared at her.
'Emy, do you have a fruit that could help my sister?' I thought to my wife.
'Oh! I hadn't thought of that. I am still getting used to interacting with humans. I will send it to Mary.' she thought back to me then a moment later a small space tunnel appeared.
The appearance of the space tunnel caused Annitte and Jessarn to stiffen but they relaxed immediately when a bright green fruit flew through the tunnel into Mary's hands then the tunnel disappeared.
"What is that?" Annitte asked curiously.
"A fruit from my core self. It will speed up your recovery and energize you." Mary replied handing the orange sized green berry looking fruit to Annitte. "Take a bite now, then another whenever the energy in your stomach starts to dissipate." Mary replied.
Annitte took the fruit eagerly then glanced at it her eyes widening. "Emerald Berry! Seriously!" she exclaimed happily then gave me a jealous look. "That one is a keeper." she told me.
Annitte took a big bite out of the fruit a look of ecstasy on her face as she chewed slowly. Once she had swallowed her bite she returned her attention to the rest of us. "As you know the Lost Ones are on Earth. What you don't know is that there are forty eight of their mobile fortresses on your world. Another forty eight on the lower world, and another forty eight on the world below that one." she told us.
"The Lost Ones, like all the other races that have been fleeing the Great Realm's assimilation of the worlds, have been trying to find a way to make a true Sanctuary. Preliminary estimates show that they might have succeeded." she told us.
"You sure?" Jessarn asked.
Annitte shrugged. "No idea if it will last, but for now the normal flow of the Great Realm's assimilation of the world has stopped." she replied.
"Can you explain a bit about that for the rest of us?" Derek asked.
Annitte eyed Derek for a moment then nodded. "The chaos that has been happening in this world isn't new, for thousands of years worlds have been flooded with with crazed mana repeatedly then assimilated into the Great Realm which is an immense world made up of literally thousands of worlds." Annitte replied. "Your world was different because it had no mana in the first place, turns out that was the fault of the Lost Ones, whatever they did, it sucked up all the natural mana of this world for the last couple hundred years. I would guess they might be behind the legends of Atlantis this world has. Not positive if that is true, and it really doesn't matter right now. We just know they set something up for when it was this world's turn to be assimilated into the Great Realm. It also might be why it happened earlier than expected. We have no idea how they did it but they balanced the mana of this world and the periphery of the Great Realm so perfectly that it has fooled whatever the process is that assimilates the world into the Great Realm into feeling that this world has already become a part of the Great Realm thereby stopping the process.
"What it means is there will be no more waves of crazed mana on this world, and this world will remain as it is. A few beasts, twisted, or plants might find this world by accident but the danger level will not be like the Great Realm. More importantly by stopping the process here, all the world below this one will not go through the assimilation at all, thereby becoming true sanctuaries." she told us. "Given the appearance of the mobile fortresses on this world and the next two, the Lost Ones are probably going to ensure that whatever they have done remains in place and take this world and the next two worlds as their own." she finished then took another bite from the berry in her hand.
"So that is a good thing right?" Michael asked.
Annitte nodded. "In itself the fact that the assimilation into the Great Realm has stopped is a good thing. However the Lost Ones are some of the worst bastards out there. Staying on the worlds they intend to claim for themselves is dangerous, to say the least." she told us.
"Can't we just move to the havens?" Megan asked.
Annitte flinched hearing the question. "No, not anymore." she replied disheartedly.
"Why? What happened?" Calidia asked worriedly though she didn't stop healing. As she had family in the havens I understood why she was worried.
Annitte sighed looking even sadder. "My elder brother and sister. Corrin and Ellina have…" Annitte started then hesitated. "They have taken control of all the havens."
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