160 Little Guardian
Max was upset. Three days ago, he had gone looking for Zoey after he had gotten done with his grandfather's lesson. He had searched the entire ship before he followed his senses and found her outside on top of the cruiser, sitting with Viridi with the dungeon core held between them. He knew right away that they were in the middle of ranking up to the next rank!
At first he had been upset because she had chosen to do this out in the open. He had learned from his grandfather that when ranking up you should be in the safest place available to you during the process. If you were attacked during the process, even a high ranking magic user could easily be killed by a normal human because of how vulnerable they were.
As the three days slowly passed and Zoey still did not wake, Max grew progressively more upset with her for her negligence. What if that strange person arrived before she awoke? What it another corrupted showed up? How could he, not even a Rank 1 human, protect her?
General Saigo and the others were there as well, and they did their best to help, but all they could really do is make sure she was not set upon by the weather. Thankfully though, the weather turned out to be nice over the three days.
All of them were concerned for Zoey. They didn't know for sure what rank she was, but ranking up with a dungeon core could take someone up to a month, if not longer! Until she woke up, they had to manage things on their own.
Through it all Max rarely left Zoey's side, remaining near her like a stoic guardian the entire time.
When Zoey woke up she was instantly aware of everything in her immediate surroundings. It was strange, as if her senses were sharpened, enhanced. When she had awoken, it was almost like she had never been asleep at all. She had become stronger and her senses had increased as well.
She was still sitting on top of the Stella Tenebris, but Max was there as well, standing next to her like a watchful statue. She checked her interface to see how much time had passed and saw it was the dawn of the fourth day since she had begun. Not too bad considering what she had done.
Coincidentally it was also the day the stranger would reach them. The timing had turned out just right.
Before Zoey did anything else she opened her interface to check what changes had taken place in her abilities. She could sense the physical changes well enough, but her interface would help her quantify the rest a little better.
[HERITAGE| Dark Star Runic Heritage: Tier 2?? | Gaia Human: Tier 3 Harmonic
[ELEMENTAL AFFINITY | Cold: Harmonization 60% | Dark: Harmonization 60% | Gravitation: Harmonization 25%
She could see some changes to the first set of info, namely the inclusion of her rank, and her Dark Star Heritage was now listed as a Tier 2, but with some unknown info still trailing it. Her elemental affinities had improved as well, and the Gravitation Harmonization the most of all of them.
Then she went on to the next page.
[ZOEY: INNATE TALENTS:
[1. DARK STAR RUNIC BLOOD
[A. *MODIFIED* Transformation: Stage 1 Available
[B. Ability Assimilation
[i. Ice Venom Rune
[ii. Null Field Rune
[iii. Mittra Regen Rune
[iv. Shadow Blade Rune
[v. Ice Armor Control Rune
[vi. Moon Web Rune
[vii. Gravity Rune
[2. AETHER ENGINEER
[DESCRIPTION: Able to design, fabricate, modify and repair items from aether magic. Adding matter to construct will reduce design cost.
[3. *NEW* GAIA DOMAIN
[DESCRIPTION: *Only available when transformed* Creates a 5 meter sensory zone around the user. This zone grants the user enhanced perception and senses that are beyond their normal limits.
She first noticed that her transformation ability had changed! Instead of unknown it was now saying that her transformation had Stage 1 available, whatever that meant.
She had also gotten a brand new talent! It was a talent that was only available when she was transformed and seemed quite good judging from the description. Zoey didn't know how it would work, but it was welcome nonetheless.
She wanted to take a look at her Dark Star Manuscript as well, but she needed to check the status of her cruiser first. The stranger heading their way would be here in the afternoon, and she wanted to be ready if it wasn't something she could handle.
She stood and stretched, startling Max who had not been ready for her sudden movement. Zoey giggled in spite of herself at his comical reaction as she stowed the empty crystal that had been the dungeon core away. Viridi also got up and stretched as Zoey looked at the flushed Max with a smile.
She tousled his hair and said with a laugh, "Miss me?"
He gave her an upset look as if she had wronged him, then pointed at the cruiser and spoke, "Next time do that inside."
Zoey understood what he meant. She had been vulnerable during the rank up process and her little guardian had been worried about her. How cute!
She smiled at him and said, "You'll have to get stronger so you can watch over me next time as well. Right?"
Max stared at her for a moment, then nodded with a serious face, making Zoey laugh again. Her little guardian was showing some spine! She was interested to see how strong he would be once she actually started training him.
"Come on. Let's go check on everyone," she said as she headed towards the door to the bridge as Max and Viridi followed her.
It turned out things had gone smoothly while she had been ranking up, and everything on the cruiser was in order. Everyone was still settling in, and most people now had actual bedding instead of rags and hay to sleep on.
Taigen and the others were happy to see her awake, but they were all a little stunned by how fast she had done it. Baiken especially had been extremely interested in how Zoey had done it so fast, so Zoey promised to tell her about it later. For now it was time to prepare for their visitor.
The main thing Zoey wanted to do was retool her daily wardrobe. Her clothing had served her well enough, but the style and design of the clothing had been meant for function and utility. She wanted something that was fashionable, comfortable, and utilitarian as well.
So after she checked on the the approaching stranger's position on the map, she got to work on her new clothing.
Whoever this stranger was, she would make an impression when they met, Zoey was sure of that.