Chapter 93:

Chapter 5 - Part 8 (Book 1 - Fantasy World)

Creation: The Path of a God

"This place... I can not believe that it was created by these humans," Queen spoke through their shared connection.

Giggling at Queen's words, "What gave it away? The lack of any supporting pillars?"

While listening to the women talk, already knowing it would devolve into a fight, Han pulled his attention away from the female students. Just as something obvious wasn't noticed until it was mentioned, hearing Queen's words made him unconsciously realize that something hadn't felt natural about their surroundings. His eyes slowly scanned the ceiling, searching for the supporting pillars that would typically exist in such a massive, empty space. Even if the top was slightly curved to create a semi-dome that would help to bear the load, something of this size not having something to keep the ceiling from collapsing defied common sense. The lack of pillars created a sense of surrealness, the mind subconsciously understanding the weight above their heads.

Queen ignored Brittany's comment, "To see something as grand as this, which could be seen as attempting to rival our Creator, makes me curious who built this location." She continued her train of thought.

"I have a similar thought. A minor desire to understand who could have built this place if it was not our Creator," Helania brushed back her obsidian hair that shined from the sun that rained down on them. The motion caused some of her hair to cascade smoothly down her entire back like a gentle stream. "But I only hope that the answer would provide some entertainment."

Queen grinned, "Hearing your words, I can see how you may be far more extreme compared to Brittany. Though she displays it so anyone can witness how she adores the one who stands above all and created us, I suspect that you may, at a minimum, rival Brittany's unrestrained desire to capture our Creator for herself." She raised an eyebrow slowly and lowered her voice, a slight smile emerging, "You may even surpass her emotions."

Hearing them talk about how much they wanted to monopolize him for themselves caused his cheeks to warm slightly, with him unfamiliar with such public declarations of love for someone like himself.

As though emerging from the fog of his memories, he could hear the faint sound of a breeze and the familiar sounds of a park. His thoughts drifted back to her and how her smile and eyes would sometimes peek through her blonde hair that glittered as the sun shone through them whenever she'd turn her attention to him while they would walk outside.

"Han, how am I so lucky that I met you? You'll still love me when I get old, right?" Her voice echoed in his mind.

The world around him vanished, and Han was transported to that day when they would walk together with their fingers interlinked -- embracing the peaceful moment after a long day. Able to enjoy one another's company even if for a brief moment. His body felt slightly weary from the long, endless hours at the office. The fatigue, a constant weight of needing to succeed to build a future for both of them.

"She often talked about wanting a house that had a white picket fence that would allow us to have a dog to keep our future kids company," Han thought as he smiled back at her.

Images slowly worming in, a slow and dull ache expanded inside his chest. Even back then, there were things that he had to actively disregard. The phone that would be quickly returned to its holder when he arrived from work earlier than expected. Her smile that twitched at the corners and the flash of guilt across her face, which he often misinterpreted as her feeling bad about how hard he worked for her. And his feelings of happiness when she would walk towards him before she steered him to the couch.

"I know that you must be exhausted. Just sit here and watch something while I make your favorite dish." She would then move close. Her lips lacked the usual warmth as they pressed against his cheek.

The dull pain continued to radiate from the center of his chest.

Han felt a slight tug on his arm.

Immediately, he was pulled away from the memories of a time long ago and a different world, both in the metaphorical and literal sense. Han turned to see Brittany blinking a few times, trying to regain himself. He could see her eyes misty while she frowned.

He didn't know how long he had been reminiscing about the past.

"Master," Brittany placed a hand on his left cheek.

Her voice was quiet and tender. It was as though there was a fear that she would cause him to shatter like a fragile soap bubble floating in the air.

Her mouth opened once before closing again as though she were battling inner demons. A tear began to form, and her lips trembled.

"Master, I know that I can not ask for you to forget whatever caused such a scar to form on your heart, but with me by your side, you only need to let me know what I can do to cheer you up," Brittany closed her eyes, the teardrop slowly outlining her milky skinned cheek.

Brittany removed her hand from his face and placed it on Han's chest before slowly moving her head to his shoulder and pressing her lips on his sleeve.

Despite how she usually acted spoiled after Han had named her his personal maid, it was in these moments when she showed him her affection and dedication that he knew she was truly worried about his well-being. Brittany may act selfishly, but it was likely only because of how she wanted to express her feelings about being chosen by him. Through her actions, it was easy to feel the raw emotions filled with worry and concern for his mental state. Understanding how she truly felt and how she only wanted him to be happy, Han gently embraced her. He leaned towards her head and lightly kissed her ruby hair.

Sniffling a little, Brittany smiled shyly from getting such affection from Han.

Happy that he was returning to his usual self, Brittany clung to his arm. At the same time, she lovingly and possessively rested her head on his shoulder. The fact that she was several inches taller than him and how any other person would likely be bothered to stay in such a position only highlighted her emotional state.

A portion of Han wanted to let Brittany know that she didn't have to cling to him in such an uncomfortable manner. Still, the words refused to leave his throat, whether due to wanting to respect her wishes or his own desire to have her shower him with love.

Having stopped, noticing something had transpired in the group, the guide tried to be respectful and allow Han and his creations privacy. Still, it was easy to see that the guide was curious about what was happening behind him.

Helania's eyes observed Brittany before slowly looking away, turning her head towards the guide.

"We have taken up your time. Please, continue." Helania motioned with a hand ahead of them.

Queen continued to observe Brittany before she, too, directed her attention ahead.

Helania and Queen remained expressionless as though not acknowledging what had just transpired. Queen hadn't even commented for Brittany to leave their Master alone, not revealing any of her thoughts on the matter.

With the help of Brittany's words, Han was able to shake off the haze that drifted through his mind. He couldn't help but think of the memories as being closer to ghosts that refused to pass on to their next lives and instead decided to continue to haunt his mind. As Han moved a hand to gently stroke Brittany's hair, he tried not to think about whether he would be able to remove the bubbles of his past trauma from his mind. While the thought lingered in the air, a part of him couldn't help but wonder if he even wanted to have the memories of those moments exorcised from his mind.

He tried to ignore his inner thoughts, which tried to convince him that despite how much they harmed him, such moments being removed were not what he wanted.

Not wanting to concern Brittany, Helania, and Queen, Han made sure to smile broadly as he looked around at their surroundings.

Compared to before, not as many students were paying attention to them as though word had already traveled through the crowd about their presence, even if no one knew for sure who Han was and why he was receiving such consideration but had an understanding that his group should be left alone. While the change was slight, there was a difference in how it was easier for them to pass through the somewhat dense crowd of students going about their business. As they moved forward, the gathering of students walked around them, clearly not wanting to engage with an individual who may have more power than them.

Han couldn't help but smirk.

"Who could imagine how, just last week, I would be the one who needed to watch out for others in order to not be an annoyance. Now, people are ensuring they don't garner my attention, whether out of fear or habit." He thought to himself.

Though Earth was a place without a formal hierarchy, society would always have those who stood at the top and had near unlimited freedom as they moved through the system they helped to create. For him, his life was filled with bowing his head to those who were higher ranked on the corporate ladder. He couldn't help but feel that he was living a life where his only purpose was to make sure others benefited more than what he got out of the system. While having such thoughts, besides gaining a slight relief after talking to his parents, Han could return to his relatively small apartment. Upon entering his humble home, he would open the door to find her waiting for him. Seeing her smile was what he looked forward to each day.

There was a slight twinge in his chest thinking about that day, but it was helped by Brittany, lovingly holding his arm. She was pointing at the various counters they passed by with the occasional enclosed area similar to a convenience store inside a mall.

"Master, they have some kind of food," Brittany pointed at a small group of students holding something wrapped in paper that looked similar to a hotdog.

"That does look delicious," Han smiled.

He knew that Brittany was acting in such a way as to distract him from his thoughts in an attempt to lift his spirits. When he glanced at Helania and Queen, he noticed they would occasionally glance at the two of them while not interrupting Brittany. Seeing that they were leaving Brittany with the task of cheering him up made him grateful that they were trusting of one another. While outwardly they may bicker and stir up trouble, deep down, he felt the camaraderie building between them.

"I'll need to thank Helania and Queen privately. Even now, they're putting my interests ahead of their own while also making sure to keep track of everything we pass by in this massive space." Han thought to himself while he smiled, nodding to another item that Brittany directed his attention towards.

As they made their way through the lobby, Han thought about students having to come into the Tower regularly. He couldn't help but wonder how students could manage everything they needed to do while also having to enter into a structure that made him imagine a small city in terms of diameter. But as he was about to open his mouth to ask the guide a question, he soon saw something that made him pause.

"With the color, I am not surprised that it was able to not be noticed until we got closer," Helania turned her head slightly and spoke to Queen.

Queen nodded, "It also explains how the roof does not just collapse under the sheer colossal weight of the Tower."

Han stared at a column that was the size of a modern skyscraper. What was surprising about the column wasn't just the size but also how it remained hidden until they were nearly on top of it.

"Are those stairs?" Brittany narrowed her eyes as though trying to get a better view.

Along the side of the supporting column gave the structure the appearance of a screw, the stairs spiraling on the outer parts of the column. The stairs jutted out from the side long enough to be nearly as wide as a freeway.

As Han observed the stairs, he noticed movement and understood that they were students making their way from the lobby to the second floor above them. His eyes slowly tracked the length of the stairs, and it was easy to calculate that the amount of walking the students were doing to get to the next level was beyond a couple of miles.

Continuing to study the students walking up the lengthy stairs, Han furrowed his brow, seeing that many were hauling gear or carrying cases. But due to the distance, the only thing Han could see was that they were walking up several miles of stairs, many carrying at least dozens of pounds. With how much walking they would be doing, it would put any long-distance athlete or hobbyist to shame.

He couldn't help but snort, thinking of friends in the past who would go outside and enjoy backpacking as a hobby. Whenever they returned from the trip, their expressions would display how difficult the journey was for them. But when they weren't going out and hiking, they would be working either at a desk at a corporate job or standing idly waiting for customers to assist in a retail store. With their daily routine of standing or sitting for their job, the amount of exercise they would get done wouldn't even be a fraction of what he witnessed. None of them would've had to walk the dozens of miles these students walked each day, at least based on his casual estimates.

"Yes, My Lady," The worker nodded. "Taking the stairs will lead us to the next level."

Queen furrowed her brow, her eyes slowly scanning their surroundings, "Based on how much we have walked, I do not think we are in the center. Correct?" Her eyes slowly moved towards the guide. Her voice was flat and steady, as though her question left no room for argument.

"That is correct, My Lady," The worker turned his body to face Queen. "There are, in fact, several other stairways inside of the lobby. This is just the closest one to our present location."

Han watched the worker, impressed that the worker was adapting to their presence. It would only be a few hours ago when the man would be shaking like a leaf, having to go up against such a stern voice. But Han knew it would be expected for an individual, whether man or woman, to be unable to stand firm against a presence such as Queen.

Seeing that the worker was able to handle interacting with his Creations even just a little made Han confident that they would be able to succeed in life regardless of where they ended up.

"I imagine that my Creations are the equivalent of working beneath an elite manager at one of the top five companies in the world, where the work ethic demanded of any worker was beyond what the average person would need to handle on a day-to-day basis." If Han hadn't had the experience of working in a relatively respectable corporate environment and being the one that created his Creations, even Han doubted whether he would be able to stand in front of either Helania, Queen, or the other Floor Protectors without being intimidated by their presence.

But Han knew that even he would be able to rise above as he continued to lead his forces in the new world he found himself in. Just like anything in life, experience and applying oneself to continually improve was necessary if a person wanted to grow. Even with his new unexplored powers, he knew it would take some time before he could take the thoughts in his mind and actualize them in the real world.

From the time they first saw the stairs, the time required to reach them wasn't long. Han continued to observe his surroundings and make a mental note of the various locations where he would be able to gain even more information once he became a student. Something he found interesting was how there was a large area that was slightly separated from the surroundings. Instead of walls, they were similar to the screen separators he had seen in his grandparents' traditional home. While they didn't completely block people from entering the area, it helped to create a border that created a semi-barrier between those walking about and handling daily tasks and those inside.

"Master, look at those students. They seem to be studying and reading books." Brittany cutely pointed a finger.

Inside the area were students sitting on couches with a book in hand or sitting at a desk. There were numerous bookshelves where the occasional student would either return a book or run a finger in front of each row as though trying to locate a particular book. Han couldn't help but think of the small study areas that could sometimes be found in airports or hotel lobbies.

As though anticipating Han's thought, the guide smiled and indicated with a hand, "Our Academy understands that the time of our students is valuable. So, just like how outside of the Tower, there are numerous smaller libraries aside from our main location, students here can take their time from having to do paperwork or turning in their assignment to either catch up on a future exam or brush up on some light reading."

Han noticed how close the miniature library was and its proximity to the stairs.

"The location is quite convenient," Helania examined the area as they continued to walk towards the stairs. "I imagine that after walking to the next level, people would enjoy taking a small break to rest their legs."

"You humble me, My Lady. I am sure that the Student Council had a similar thought. While it may not always be a study and reading area, there are various resting area types on the floors where the stairs are found. Sometimes, the location could be a relaxing cafe where students can enjoy tea or juice, light snacks, or a spa area where they could rest their feet. Some spots even have a gaming area where students can play against one another in various games.

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