18 – First Contact?
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Perched atop a cliff, that stood proudly above next to a boundless jungle that stretched all across the observable horizon, a dark humanoid figure sat, looking down at the realm below, looking around.

"So much time had passed, yet I am still as clueless about this world as I was back then…" Aziel sighed, looking at the empty palm of his right hand. Lost in his thoughts, he was tormented by the mysterious energy, this unknown resource, this [Aether].

Through the many years of his rule, over the prehistoric era, he did all he could to find more about this enigma. He hunted, tested, researched…

Recently, since his emergence into this new, unknown changed world, he even tried cultivating, he secluded himself deep inside a mountain and spent years trying to harness it from deep inside.

Yet, everything turned out to be a failure in the end. All he could show up for all that effort was that this [Aether], -like the Mana in Nova-, was present everywhere in this world.

It was the true seed of life, no matter the life form it had it deep inside their bodies. It wasn't anything tangible like the large variety of Core's from the Beasts and Monsters on Nova, but more like an ethereal, abstruse mass, an incorporeal seed of some sorts…

He wasn't certain, Aziel had no proof to all of this. Everything was conjecture at this point, his conclusions after thousands of trials and errors through dissection, consumption, research…

This, seed, this [Aether Core] as he was starting to call it by a lack of a better term, was also present in him. He wasn't sure if he had it since birth, or it may have been the result of the many iterations of his constantly evolving existence…

The only outcome that came from his first closed-door cultivation session, this meditation of introspection was only the confirmation of this central seed, this source of energy amassed in the very depths of his soul.

Leaving his humble abode, the cave that served as his 'home' for some time, Aziel wasn't satisfied with the results.

"Just what is this energy? Where does it come from? How can I tap into it, how could I properly utilize it?" He lamented.

At first, Aziel thought it was somewhat similar to Mana, being an ethereal source of untapped elemental power that -with either through some organ, ability, or trait-, could be manipulated, and used similarly to its counterpart on Nova.

Yet, unlike Mana, this [Aether] seemed to be vastly different. For once, it wasn't related to any of the elements. It was much more connected to life itself, the vitality of every entity. From a basic overview, it seemed that the stronger, the mightier the creature was, the more reserves of [Aether] coursed etched in its veins.

Through his battles with the three apex predators of the prehistoric era, the King of Land, Air, and the Oceans, he saw it close hand, how it provided them with superior strength, speed. He felt how it enhanced their defense, how resilient they had become compared to the other, similar creatures of its kind.

Still, though it was indisputable that all three of these monstrous creatures were strong… overly strong compared to their kin, they weren't self-aware of this mystical resource they held, it remained untapped, not fully utilized… driving forward their inevitable demise and loss during each of their clashes.

Aziel also noticed how this power seemed to be closely related to the emotional state. That during highly stressful situations, or when his anger seemed to peak it gradually turned more and more apparent.

How it passively enhanced his body, increasing his speed, his strength, lowered his reaction time, or simply made his body just a tad bit more resilient against the incoming blow.

*Sigh…*

"There is no point lament about it… I guess I need more information, I should look around and see how the new life accommodated to this [Aether]."

He sighed, slowly standing up and stretching his tired limbs. Gazing down and into the distance, he wondered.

"Maybe this time around… there would be some more.. sophisticated lifeforms… maybe with some intelligence that goes beyond their primal urges…" He whispered, feeling the loneliness of his eternal cursed existence growing harder and harder to bear.

Planting his feet into the rocky surface, he jumped into the air, floating in the air for a while, before the gravitational force eventually slowed his traverse and threw him down on the ground.

His feet agilely touching the ground, he landed on one knee down on the ground. Yet, despite this display, the massive weight of his body caused the ground beneath his fate to crack and cave in, forming a small crater. A shockwave of force exploded from the impact, sending powerful ripples across the space, tearing apart the nearby tree line.

Ignoring the destruction his action had caused, Aziel turned his attention towards a random direction.

Some time later, Aziel could be seen crossing walking in a rocky landscape filled with trees. Wearing makeshift pants that he made from the fur of a creature that he killed a few days ago, Aziel was trying to look somewhat presentable. He was looking around to see if he could find any form of intelligent life.

Continuing to walk for several miles nonstop as he didn't need to rest, Aziel had come across many other beasts while he was exploring.

Initially most had tried to attack him in an attempt to kill him, but they weren't a threat in his eyes and were easily dispatched. They were nowhere near the strength and fierceness of the creatures of the old world he already dominated. Such feeble beasts were nothing before his eyes.

Aziel had absorbed a few of the creatures he killed to see if he would gain any new traits that could benefit him in some way. The first creature he absorbed was somewhat similar to the tank-like creature from ages before, but without the protruding spikes and weapon-like tail. It was also much larger and was covered with a dark bronze-brown layer of fur.

By absorbing this creature, Aziel gained fur patterns in his demi-human form along with the scales he had before. The creature did not give him any substantial increase in his strength or any of his base stats so he ignored the changes.

The rest of the creatures he had absorbed didn't give him any further changes, as he already had the more dominant traits of dinosaurs. The traits of these weak mammals couldn't possibly compare to the ones he had already absorbed.

Aziel quickly lost interest in the absorption of these creatures, as doing so would no longer benefit his growth. He continued to explore the world as it is now, trying to see what he could find.

A few months passed with him doing nothing but exploring the new terrain. He was already growing tired of it, he was becoming lonely from the lack of any other forms of intelligent life.

He now craved interactions that didn't involve extreme violence. He didn't want to admit it, but truth be told, he had missed both his family, as well as his servants from back home.

He often found himself pondering about how his most trusted and loyal servant, Nira have been doing. Is she fine? Did she suffer the fate as she and his brother, Cahal did?

He could only shake his head and move on, such question had no use, had no point. He may never find the answer to them, after all…

The land was becoming colder as time passed by. The rocky terrain was gradually covered with snow and ice, most of the animals have begun searching for food to keep themselves from starving.

Aziel was an exception, as he does not need to eat for an extended period, his body was capable of maintaining its functions without food due to the survival conditions of the past era.

Eventually, Aziel finally found the very thing he was hoping for. Situated in the foot of a mountain, surrounded by trees, he found several caves, with some elaborate paintings adorning around the entrance.

Sharpened sticks, reminiscent of some crude spikes were planted deep into the sturdy, frozen mound.

Aziel couldn't help but frown at this discovery, his nose smelled the very familiar penetrative stench of a race, that was the cause of all the grief and disaster in his old home.

The stink of humans.

Although they didn't look anywhere near the pestilence that plagued the world of Nova and was more like a slightly more intelligent version of the apes he had met already, they already had that unmistakable smell.

While they were bipedal, and barely had any fur, they still carried a tinge of their predecessor's animalistic features…

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