Cederak departed for Velion University early that morning, giving him ample time to arrange his desk and cover the board in notes relevant to the day’s lecture. Minutes before the bell chimed; students hurried to their seats and readied themselves for class. It was so perfect in Cederak’s eyes that he almost didn’t want to make a sound. At last, he propped his legs onto the desk, tilted back in his chair, and began speaking to his students.
“Good morning, everyone,” he greeted them.
“Good morning, Professor Cederak,” the students replied.
“As promised, I’d like to continue discussion on the Coalition of Realms today. Many historians claim that if a certain regrettable event had not occurred shortly after the coalition was born, it would have collapsed. You see, when the Voriak traveled to the Great Barrier and sealed it shut, they were unaware that an exploration team of nearly three-hundred individuals had been living on the surface for a number of months. Zadin, please continue for me,” Cederak said, waiting for his student to respond.
“Um…let’s see,” Zadin said nervously, clearing his throat in hopes of easing the tension. “I don’t think the Voriak had been informed of the exploration team’s existence, and completed their task after it was too late to return. When they were questioned about any beings living near the top of the barrier, Commander Voctryn firmly stated that there were no signs of life as far as his eyes could see. This divide between two vastly different zones acted to prevent coalition dissenters from stepping out into the uncharted surface world and posing a threat. The cost of disconnecting ourselves, however, deemed the Great Barrier as the coalition’s greatest enemy,” Zadin clarified.
“Indeed it was, Zadin. I recognize this is far from a psychology course, but I feel I must clarify that we all have a Great Barrier towering over us; an intimidating force that devises a valiant attempt at preventing further expansion of our horizons. Digressions aside, the fate of Toa Sisen’s explorers remains one of the most controversial subjects in today’s society. The voyagers hailed from various coalition islands, and their tragic disconnection reinforced the unity of our mighty coalition. I believe a total three authors wrote possible outcomes as to what became of them; none of us truly sure who or what to believe. Does anyone here have a hypothesis on Sisen’s fate?” Cederak replied.
Cederak politely motioned to a student with her hand risen, sitting near the back of the room. Her name was Mylara, and this was a rare occasion for her to willingly give her insight on a subject. “Sisen was a crazy Toa, frolicking in a world that no longer needed heroes complicating life and wrecking cities to stop a single lawbreaker. It’s likely he took his explorers as an excuse to escape society before finally dying like every other Toa that didn’t learn to change with the world.”
“Now, now, Toa Sisen was said to have been eccentric at times, but he had a brilliant mind and he deserved a title worthy of those characteristics!” Cederak argued.
Mylara smirked and her tone became sarcastic. “I suppose someone with such a brilliant mind yet so insane does warrant a title. Perhaps, ‘savant’ is adequate?”
At this, Cederak’s class burst into laughter, and he waited for them to calm down before continuing. He flashed a smile himself, but it was a brief action. “If I ever meet Toa Sisen, I’ll have to bring this up with him.”
“Yeah, and maybe you can say ‘hello’ to a Drezan Drone for us too,” Eltak chuckled, the references of The Eternal Void still so fresh in the students’ minds that they felt compelled to laugh with her.
Cederak’s legs dropped down from the desk and his head slightly fell. The Drezan Drones had been the hundreds of machines that patrolled Planet Cilreta for millennia, and they weren’t known for compassion.
Not long after Leader Draxil came into power, Toa Cilreta Cinoh attempted to storm the castle and kill Vashe’s corrupt leader by himself. Instead, Cinoh had been overpowered and forced back into the streets. Draxil sent a team of Drezan Drones after him; letting the robots take the issue into their own hands. Cinoh was commanded to cease running, but he merely launched an array of energy shots at the drones. Without any further mercy, they opened fire on him and executed the Toa in broad daylight.
“Are you okay, professor?” Eltak asked, now worried and regretful of what she meant to be a harmless joke.
Cederak looked up at his class and forced a smile. “I was just thinking about The Eternal Void, where they talk about Toa Cinoh being bombarded with Drezan Drone energy bullets and falling dead in the street. I thought it was a powerful scene, but I suppose I shouldn’t get so worked up, right? It’s only fiction.”
The class responded in agreement and nodded their heads, unaware their professor observed Toa Cinoh die before his very eyes. Cederak had been standing at an intersection when he heard the Drezan Drones begin shooting and the time traveler had stared directly into Cinoh’s dismayed expression before he collapsed on the road.
Zephaon stood at the edge of Ardalon’s northeast dock and squinted to fix his gaze upon Ceron City so many Kios across the silver sea. Without hesitation, he bolted from the dock and began flying over the water, creating a powerful ripple effect through the waves as he sped along. It was Zephaon’s first departure from Ardalon since he became its guardian, but this vital conference left him without an alternative.
There’s no telling what force is triggering these deaths, but if Cederak is forced to step in, this situation will—no doubt—escalate to a critical height.
Thoughts churned through Zephaon’s mind for what felt like hours, merely passing in the course of minutes. Before long, the shadow wielding entity was standing atop the central hub of Ceron City. The tower gave an amazing view; allowing Zephaon to catch a glimpse of a different kind of transport. On the outskirts of town were chute systems like those on Velion, but the inner portion of the metropolis used lengthy, metallic transports to carry the masses. The snake-like crafts moved along electromagnetic currents in the rails that stood several Kios off the ground.
At last, Zephaon took a deep breath and dove out of the sky. Soaring through an open window, he was astounded to realize he had made a timely landing in the conference room.