425 Broken at Birth

    After the events that took place in the core of the territory of the Proponents of Deep Sleep, the party of the universal government had decided to postpone their assault directed at the entity known as 'The Brutal' in order to allow the Mindhive to recover.

    Deep space, five days later.

    ".. the Outcast looks terrifying." Said one of the resting soldiers to two of his companions. In his voice, was the immense stupor he had felt the moment he and his platoon had faced the two entities which had beaten the Mindhive into such a helpless state.

    Of the people who bothered themselves with listening to this soldier, was a man dressed in military gamberson who, while laying on his folding cot, said, "I don't believe he is as scary as the Mindhive. What we have seen is barely noteworthy when compared to what we know the others have done. A trap, is how you explain what happened."

    "When was the last time a planet the size of a star sneaked up on a group of explorers? Get your mind out of the gutter." Said a third soldier while tending to his weapons.

    "Do you guys think that the female explorer was right? Balance.." Asked the first soldier while showing a pensive expression. He then added after a short pause, "What does that even mean? That he can't fall over?"

    "Now you know why people think that you are an idiot." Said the second soldier in response, before letting out a hearty laugh.

    His laugh was quickly interrupted by the third soldier, who said, "Leave him alone." He then turned to look at the confused first soldier, and explained, "Don't let their nicknames trick you.. Their powers are not explained by their names. The explanation of their powers is abstract, more than realistic. Balance could be harmony, or the ability to even things out. Don't waste your time thinking about it. Unless one of them personally explains it to you, you'll never understand them completely."

    This response had failed to stop the soldier's curiosity, who instead turned to look at the other side of the room, where the female explorer which had analyzed Daniel's power, was sitting quietly in meditating.

    "I can always ask." He said before showing his most cordial smile, and walking up to the woman.

    The bad blood that flowed between the army and the explorers was almost exclusively between the highest positions of the two faction. That meant that, while not always able to interact with each other, and always on different levels of ability, not every soldier hated the explorers, or vice versa, so when the soldier approached the female explorer, she did not take it to heart, and simply ignored him.

    "Can you tell us what you meant by 'Balance'?" asked the soldier with a big smile while grabbing a chair. He then placed it in front of the woman's cot, and sat on it.

    "Nothing you should be concerned about." responded the woman with a calm tone.

    The soldier did not take the woman's words to heart. He knew that the explorers were solitary entities, and that as she said, what he was asking was information that was beyond his paygrade. Even if he learned about it, as a soldier, he would likely never be sent to fight against Daniel, so there was no reason for him to know.

    However, since he was trying to feed his curiosity, the soldier kept pestering the woman with questions for the following few minutes.

    At first the woman ignored the soldier, but as she noticed that his character was not as unpleasant as she had thought, she began to engage in conversation with him. The information she was in possession were few, and due to that, the topic soon changed from the magical nature of Iewah's children, to the peculiar life of an explorer. An hour later, the two were talking about the families, lovers, and friends they had left behind, or lost many years ago.

    The soldier seemed to have forgotten the reason why he had approached the woman, but as the two walked out of the bridge where they were staying in, in order to stop bothering the other soldiers who had now gone back to their usual habits, it did not matter anymore.

    "You have seen so much of this universe.. All I have done can be considered killing and destruction." Said the soldier with jealousy. Not all soldiers wished to become one, after all, their gift was born out of their qualities, and not hopes and dreams. Many soldiers had dreamed of different lives. Lives spent cultivating, exploring, and maybe start a family which they could witness become a large and powerful clan.

    "It is a good life, at first. You have all of this time at hand, and so many things to see.. But I envy the friendship you soldiers found in the battlefield." Responded the woman, similarly envious of the man's situation.

    For the following couple of hours, the two talked, laughed, and came to know each other, only stopping when it was time for the soldier to join his companions in their daily group exercises. "I have to go now, if I do not show up for daily exercises, I will have to clean the armor of the entire platoon for a month. It was nice talking to you." Said the soldier before walking back into the ship, and towards the training area of the ship.

    His walk was quick, and on his face was a big smile, but both of them were interrupted when, as he approached the area where the Mindhive was resting, a wisp of mental power reached his head, bringing his march to a halt.

    "So sweet. You do not get to see love at first sight very often. Hehe.." said a disembodied voice to the soldier, who stood motionless, almost as if not in control of his body anymore. "But you two belong to two different worlds. I will spare you the disappointment of never having to see her again."

    As this voice stopped speaking into his head, the consciousness of the soldier was forcibly erased, turning him into an empty shell of the man he was only moments earlier.

    "I will take over from now..."

    The female explorer, who was now looking at the familiar depths of the universe with a gentle smile on her face, immediately turned to look at the door inside which the soldier had just walked through a minute ago.

    "I thought you were in a hurry.. But I can see how my stories are worth cleaning a few armors for.." said the woman as she noticed the soldier walk back out of the bridge. However, instead of acknowledging her, the soldier walked up to the edge of the deck, and with as much power as he could muster, shot into the depths of space.

    Confused about the soldier's sudden actions, the female explorers followed him in the distance for tens of millions of miles, stopping only after the soldier himself stopped.

    He was floating in space a few dozen meters away from another individual, which for some reason, appeared familiar to her.

    "Fellow cultivator, why do you block my path?" Asked the soldier with a firm tone. His cultivation was beyond that of the individual who had stopped him, so there was no fear in his words.

    Amused by the soldier's words, the new individual showed a large smile, and said with confidence, "There are no idiots here, so don't treat me like one.. Brother."

    As soon as he heard the word 'brother', the soldier's face was cleared of any hint of calmness or benevolence. What appeared in its stead, was a malevolent grin. "Look at that. The two idiots who have failed to take over their host's body reunited. The failures of our family.. But I see your host has been kinder than mine." Said Akkah with the mouth of the soldier.

    "It is what it is." Responded Sewah while shrugging his shoulders in feigned disappointment for his failure. However, since he was not there for, nor was he in the mood to make idle conversation, he said, "Black sheep, yes, but still sheep. How about having a go at me?"

    Ever since the loss of his system, Akkah had felt terribly aggravated. He knew for a fact that both Aeron, Daniel, and Sewah were nothing when compared to him, and if not for his host, he would have fed their minds to his artifact. Due to this, Sewah stopped looking like a cultivator in his eyes, and quickly turned into an outlet which he could use to get rid of these pent up emotions, so after making sure that none of Sewah's companions were around, without thinking too much about it, he released the full power of the soldier, and shot towards the calm and composed Sewah.

    His motion was so quick that it caused the space that surrounded his body to warp, only stopping as his right fist went through Sewah's stomach, and out of his back.

    He then took a step back to look at Sewah's expression as he withered in pain. "I might not be a match for the rest of our siblings, but I can still kill you.. Little brother." He said with satisfaction as Sewah's blood turned into beads, and started to float aimlessly in space.

    "You talk so damn much." said Sewah in between grunts, right before the power of his immortal essence began to increase at a rapid rate, allowing him to go from the fiftieth phase to the eightieth phase in a matter of seconds.

    This sudden increase of Sewah's power erased the idea of playing with him from Akkah's mind, which realized that something was wrong, and that if he didn't kill Sewah immediately, something catastrophic would happen.

    Unfortunately for him, before he could do anything, a sphere with mechanical appearance hidden within a large bead of blood which had previously gushes out of Sewah's injury, exploded next to him with the power of a thousand high immortals.

    Akkah was pushed back by the immense explosive power for tens of thousands of kilometers, only to crash against a large mass of ice which happened to float in his trajectory.

    The explosion was caused by one of Virgil's charged bombs, and possessed the combined power of a thousand high immortals at the first phase of high immortality. A power which was unable to injure the resistant body of a soldier at the one hundred and fiftieth phase of high immortality, but enough to take him by surprise, and gain a few precious seconds of time.

    "You little **. You think you can kill me with just this?" Barked Akkah while brushing the shards of ice from his clothes.

    "Playtime is over, brother. It is time to end this." Said Sewah after teleporting a few meters in front of him. He now possessed the power of a cultivator at the hundred and thirtieth phase of high immortality.

    Shocked by the constant increase of Sewah's power, Akkah charged his arms with as much power the body of the soldier possessed, and used it all in a single blow. However, surprise once again took over his face as he noticed that Sewah chose to take the punch head on, instead of avoiding it.

    As the knuckles of the two touched, the space immediately cracked outwards, forming a spider web of shattered space, and along with it, the skin, muscles, and bones in the soldier's hand, which exploded into bloody shreds.

    On Akkah's face was panic. Sewah's powers had now reached the same level possessed by the soldier.. A power which he knew for a fact, did not reflect the true battle prowess possessed by his brother.

    "Hold on! Hold on.. You don't have to do this. We are in the same situation.. We can work together!" said Akkah while secretly making preparations to make sure that his consciousness would survive this encounter.

    However, it was already too late. Not willing to give parting words, Sewah used his boosted strength to send his fist through the soldier's heart. He then used his comprehension over the essences of darkness and fire to create a black fire which burned his body, his spirit, and remnant of Akkah's mind into nothingness.

    The female explorer witnessed to this event from afar, and thanks to the conversation between the two, she quickly realized what had happened to the soldier she had spent the last few hours with.

    After Akkah's death, she ignored Sewah, and quietly flew back to their ship, where she was welcomed by the head explorer.

    "What happened? I have a report of a soldier missing. He was last seen talking with you. Where were you?" Asked the head explorer with an authoritative tone.

    "The Mindhive used his body to escape.. I have killed him." She said with a weak, and saddened voice.
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