1. The First Step
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A young man with black hair was lying down on top of a high school’s roof. His unnatural, but stunning purple eyes were focused on the many holographic news that were projected by the drones that flew above the city.

 

He wore black pants and a black leather jacket over a white shirt. He seemed to be around eighteen years old but everything about him exuded a mature feeling. His body was evidently fit and his facial features were sharp whilst being very dismal at the same time. Overall, no one could deny the fact that he was good-looking.

 

His expression though appeared cold and uninterested. But that was one of the small details that only accentuated his unique looks.

 

At some point, he chose to close his eyes to rest even though the bell was ringing throughout the entire school. The clouds drifted by very slowly and some rays of light would occasionally illuminate the teen’s figure.

 

Then, a hiss abruptly sounded near his ear. The boy’s eyes shot open as he propped his body up. He jumped on his feet and spontaneously performed a series of acrobatics to get away from his initial position.

 

He looked at where he was before with an almost invisible frown on his face.

 

“…where do you come from?”

 

He uttered as he stared at what suddenly disrupted his peace. It was shockingly a snake. A white snake that was approximately one-meter long. The snake had very thick scales. In fact, half of its body was covered by those oddly thick scales while the rest was shining white skin.

 

The animal hissed again, showing its sharp fangs. It glared at the human in front of it with palpable anger and apprehension expressed by its light blue eyes.

 

The teen scowled at the sight. He then remembered one particular news he had seen earlier. One about an experimental lab that accidentally let loose some experiments.

 

“Really?” The high schooler muttered. “I can’t recognize its race… but if this one is poisonous, it’s a huge issue that shouldn’t be broadcasted so casually...”

 

He slowly started walking toward the snake. Surprisingly, the animal retreated a little and seemed to be cowering a bit. This was something that surprised the young-man again.

 

“Fear? On top of anger, huh?” He mumbled and stopped his advance. “Hey,” he called. Even he had to admit it was a bit far-fetched but he felt like he had to try. “Do you understand me?”

 

The snake visibly trembled when it heard him which affirmed the teen’s assumptions.

 

“Come here, I won’t hurt you,” he said and the snake hissed again. On the bright side though, it wasn’t as loud as before.

 

“Trust me. Some may have hurt you before, but I won’t do the same,” he added. Though, his expression and tone were so monotonous that the snake seemed to have a hard time deciding if it should believe him or not.

 

Only after a full minute did the white reptilian crawl toward the teen. The latter crouched and carefully grabbed the snake before lifting it up to match his sight.

 

He then gazed at the small snake’s eyes.

 

“Yes. There’s emotion in that look. I wonder what they did to you to give you intelligence… Are you a subject that survived the Zeera project?” He whispered, dispassionately referencing to something that obviously shouldn’t be known to the general public.

 

The reptilian’s slit pupils had narrowed even more. If the human were to try something funny, it was prepared to bite him in the neck within the split of a second.

 

“RAKNA!”

 

The teen who heard his name being shouted by an all too familiar voice slightly cringed but it could barely be perceived. In contrast, the snake obviously panicked and coiled around Rakna’s neck in a vain attempt to hide from whoever was coming.

 

Someone then opened the door to the roof with a loud bam and proceeded to glare at the boy who was previously trying to sleep on the most elevated section of the roof.

 

It was a woman wearing a beige sweater and a gray skirt that stepped through the door. She was fairly tall; although not as much as Rakna who seemed to be around 1.8 meters tall. She had long curly brown hair and hazel eyes. She wore no makeup and showed off her natural beauty. Her figure was also extraordinary and even Rakna couldn’t help but praise her; especially her chest.

 

“Oh, good afternoon, Flavia,” Rakna looked at her and waved his hand.

 

“It’s ‘Miss Jeina’!”

 

“How cold of you. You call me well Rakna. Why can’t I do the same?” Rakna cynically shook his head and replied with his usual aloof and indifferent voice.

 

Flavia was obviously used to his behavior and ignored it right away. “That’s not the point! How many times must I tell you to not come to the roof using MY KEY?! That you keep stealing on top of that! Do you know how many problems I go…t…?”

 

Her voice faded at the end of her sentence as she noticed something. She blinked and rubbed the bridge of her nose.

 

“Rakna.”

 

“Yes?”

 

“What is that around your neck?”

 

“Well, a snake?”

 

“Care to explain?”

 

“Explain what?”

 

“Take a guess?”

 

“Hmm… Sorry; I don’t know why this fellow has such white scales and skin.”

 

“That’s not what I’m asking!” The woman teacher snapped again and sighed. “Why are you carrying a snake around? I hope for you he’s non-venomous.”

 

“Don’t blame me. I didn’t bring him here,” Rakna retorted and glanced at the reptilian which also looked back at him. “I was trying to get some sleep when I heard his hiss next to my ears. Then, I saw him.”

 

Flavia frowned. “Where does he come from?”

 

“Well, I have an assumption-!?” Rakna was interrupted by a sudden tremor. His eyes widened and Flavia leaned against the wall to stabilize herself. Her expression paled when she saw the roof and walls of the school fissuring.

 

Rakna almost couldn’t believe his eyes. ‘The walls fissured? How? All of the school’s foundations were reinforced by Aurora. Nothing can easily break what they make.’

 

Even the snake seemed to be shocked by the unpredictable natural disaster and the damages it caused.

 

“What is happening?! An earthquake?!” Flavia bellowed with a hint of panic in her voice.

 

In contrast, Rakna kept his cool and crouched whilst using his right hand to keep his balance.

 

“Don’t be stupid. The whole city is supported and monitored by Eion equipment. An earthquake can not only be predicted but also prevented. I don’t know why this is happening… but this normally shouldn’t last.”

 

Flavia calmed herself when she heard his self-assured tone but before she could say anything else, the sky darkened and the high school was covered in shadows. The students started looking at what was happening through the windows.

 

It was then that the clouds gradually got illuminated by a crimson light. Afterward, a cylindrical red barrier fell from within the clouds and bordered the school’s premise with a huge quake.

 

Flavia gasped and the floor beneath suddenly cracked and collapsed. She yelped and lost her footing. The whole building’s structure actually tilted and she was in danger of falling.

 

“Flavia!”

 

Rakna raised his voice with a startling sense of urgency. Flavia had rarely ever heard him express so much emotion.

 

He jumped down in her direction but was forced to stop because of a hole that opened right in front of him. The foundations of the building collapsed and screams resounded across the entire school. Rakna clicked his tongue and the white snake who was literally now stuck to him put its his head inside his scarf in fright.

 

“Flavia, hold onto the cracks and don’t try to go back inside. We have higher chances to survive if we stay here. At least the roof won’t fall on our heads. Also, take off your shoes, you don’t want your heels to get stuck somewhere,” Rakna said as his voice recovered its usual poise seeing that the shaking had slightly weakened and the roof was not breaking further.

 

Flavia nodded gravely and followed his advice. Rakna looked around whilst keeping an eye on her, ready to jump if needed. He noticed that the red barrier that was surrounding the school had thickened and he couldn’t see beyond anymore. It was as if the school had been isolated from the rest of the world.

 

“I’d need to be delusional to think this is something made by humans…” Rakna voiced just before Flavia groaned and fell on her knees. She was clutching her head with her hands and seemed to be experiencing some atrocious pain.

 

Rakna was about to run to her even if it meant that he would make the rest of the roof collapse when he also froze and grunted as he kneeled on one leg. He was assaulted by a massive headache out of nowhere. Even the small snake wasn’t spared as it hissed weakly.

 

Rakna tried his best to remain conscious as he forced his eyelids to stay open. Through his narrowed vision, he saw Flavia fainting as she fell backward. If he didn’t move, she would fall off the roof.

 

‘Wake up, wake up, wake up…’ He kept reiterating inwardly as time seemed to slow down around him. ‘Wake up!’

 

He opened his eyes wide and his eyes gained a shade of red. His expression twisted and his indifference disappeared. It was replaced by pure fury, frustration, and an off-putting and faint amusement. His mouth formed a sneer as he kicked the ground.

 

He ignored the collapsing floor or the holes in his path, he leaped over them and even risked to use unstable footholds. As he made his final leap, he outstretched his hand grabbed the edge of a pit that had formed near Flavia’s unconscious body. His hand started bleeding but he just snorted and pulled himself up with one arm.

 

He grabbed his teacher and put her over his shoulder. He waited until the entire school began to break apart. He made sure to dodge any glass, rock, or metal rod that could hurt him; all while fighting the headache trying to split his brain. He jumped again at the very last moment before everything crashed on the ground.

 

He spun in the air and used his own body to shield Flavia as he hit the ground. He definitely heard something break inside his body. When he had safely ‘landed’, the rest of the building collapsed around him. Luckily, not any large debris fell on them.

 

Rakna coughed because of the dust and blood swelling up in his throat. He swallowed and growled in infuriation. He checked on Flavia then scoffed.

 

“Damn it, woman… I won’t do this again,” he spat as his eyes returned to normal and his brain finally shut down.

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