97 A Changed Jam
Within the center console's command center, inside Jam's World Formation, moments right after time had resumed for those trapped within, Jam appeared out of nowhere, effectively heightening the confusion everyone inside already possessed.
Jam knew they all had questions for him as the last thing anyone of them saw was him lying in a near death state after his God Souls were drained. He said "Now now… everyone listen to me. What I'm about to say will sound a bit crazy, but please bear with me as we've already wasted enough time."
Everyone became silent as they put on serious faces, awaiting for Jam to explain what had happened. Jam said "Now, I know you all feel like not much time has past since we entered the Core Nexus, but in truth, eight years have come and gone."
Literally everyone gasped as they didn't never expected Jam to say this. Eight years? All they had seen was him teleport from his unconscious state to where he stood now. They all settled down and Jam continued "Anyways, I fell unconscious because the Core Nexus of this World Formation was binding itself to me and I obviously didn't have the strength to wield its power. When I woke up, the World Formation had finished binding with me and I learned how to use some of its functions.
Well, as it turns out, while I had gone unconscious, the formation had used all of its powers to lock the space and time within itself and sent me into an unbloomed dimension. I had to wait there for eight years for the World Formation to naturally recharge itself before I could leave for the Mortal Plane and time could resume where we are right now."
As Jam's audience was slowly wrapping their heads at the information Jam had presented them, Evangeline exclaimed "Eight years? Doesn't that mean that the academy probably thinks we all died a long time ago?"
The rest of the core disciples all showed a similar dark face as they all understood what Evangeline meant. They had all missed the pick up date for Cecily to return back from this "class trip."
Even the usually chummy Kirin took a depressing tone to his voice as he commented "Shoot… how are we supposed to get back to Yhamnigh? Its trillions of kilometers away and we don't even have a space ship..."
Xie Ming couldn't relate to their problems as his home was still just around the corner; his home being a part of the Formation now imprinted on Jam's hand… He tried to cheer them up by saying "Don't worry guys. You're all Saints and one of you even has a Space Dao Domain! I'm sure if you worked together you could make it back in a couple decades." A couple of decades was nothing to him who had already lived for several millennia and counting, but to this group of preteens — technically true teens — that was more than they had even lived up to now!
To their depressing conversation, Jam didn't flinch one bit. He gave a knowing smug smile and said "Actually, with the World Formation, we can get back to Yhamnigh whenever we want~"
"Really?" Alex couldn't believe it. Even Cecily with her spaceship had to cross numerous teleportation gates and even then, they had to laze around for two weeks. Jam claiming to have the ability to teleport them back home whenever he wished was too good to be true.
To everyone's questioning looks of doubt, Jam replied calmly, saying "This is a World Formation we're talking about; an grand formation of higher planes! Even I don't know the limits of its powers and its binded to me! All I know is that for a small price I can pretty much teleport anywhere I want within the Mortal Plane."
"Wow… " that was the only thing Jam's audience could say as they had their problem solved right after knowing it existed.
"Now, let's get out of here! I've missed the world of cultivation for too long and staying in this dark and dreary environment is really taxing my weary soul~" Jam was back to his playful self as he thoroughly enjoying savoring the flavor of the natural and Heavenly Dao which pervaded all around him.
The group marched on from behind Jam as they shuttled through the same tunnel they had taken to reach the command center of the Core Nexus. With Jam now being "in control," they didn't have to worry much about something randomly attacking them within the Core Nexus and pretty soon, everyone had left through the gates that Jam had opened up when they had initially arrived.
Jam led his group through the isolated world of the Core Nexus all the way out to the swamp tunnel Xie Ming had guided them through when they first arrived. From there on it was all just backpedaling until the group reached the Junkie Village. Time had only stopped for Xie Ming and Jam's fellow Cultivation Academy peers because they had been in the Core Nexus at the time of the World Formation's outburst, so to the Junkies, eight years had come and went as they were not affected by the time stop.
Needless to say, the group's return invited all sorts of reactions from the Junkies. Most notably Xie Xinyi, who was left half broken after Xie Ming's disappearance. When she detected him return… all of the emotions one could feel were expressed almost simultaneously. Sadness from thinking of the worst case scenario, a mixture of anger and happiness from the fact that he had returned all fine and dandy, doubt as she didn't know if she was dreaming…
Xie Ming excused himself from public view ASAP, to go explain what had transpired to his wife before she went insane. This left Jam with the task of explaining what had happened to the rest of his allies here in Junkie Village. When the resident Junkies learned that their entire world was now literally in Jam's hands, they didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
The Junkies were very understanding about the whole situation after learning what had really gone down; honestly, they were happy with Xie Ming and Jam's group returning safely. Before Jam separated from the group he asked everyone when they'd like to return to Yhamnigh, and the group decided to wait until the next day; they all needed to prepare themselves mentally for that moment when they reunited with the family or clan, which most likely thought they had died eight years prior.
With everything settled, everyone split off to their residence; everyone but Evangeline. Naturally, she would go with Jam and stay over in his black mansion. She had fully expected Jam to lose himself in a cultivation fit; knowing him, she thought he had been in a state of constant torture, being in a mortal world with no way to improve cultivation for eight years…
Instead, Evangeline received one of the biggest shocks of her life as she watched Jam. Jam didn't go cultivate, he didn't work on making something through his expertise in the various secondary occupations, he didn't even waste his time playing games or reading up on articles on the internet. Instead of doing something productive, Jam just went to take a shower.
If it had just ended with a shower, Evangeline would be surprised but not left half dead via cardiac arrest. No, after Jam finished taking his shower, he… he went to sleep on his bed. At that point Evangeline couldn't handle this new and rather normal Jam, so she halfheartedly tackled him and asked "You! Who are you and what have you done to my Jam?"
Jam gave her a confused looked and said "Huh? What are you talking about?"
"What am I talking about? Have you taken a look at yourself recently?! Where is the Jam that hates wasting time and only cultivates?"
Jam didn't need to think too deeply on his actions. This was just the routine he had learned to accept while roaming around in the mortal world. He took Evangeline by her hand, gently rubbing it as he said "I… I lived like a mortal for eight years. You can take it as a sign that I've cooled off from my past one-track-mind."
Evangeline's mind shut down as Jam was… flirting with her? His smile and eyes inviting a warm response from her, while his fingers gently rubbed her hand? It seems like the time Jam spent as a mortal changed him for the better. Maybe now, they could act like the Dao Companions they were.
So, as Evangeline watched Jam let go of her hand and cover himself to sleep, she followed suit and just enjoyed what she had been awaiting; a moment where Jam would act like a real husband! Though there was a moment of hesitation, due to them going to sleep together, as she had no idea how far Jam would go now that he had "changed."
Evangeline grew a bit nervous when Jam threw away most of his clothes; he only slept with underwear covering him. But, after he finished settling down and turned with his back facing her, she worked up the courage to do the same; leaving her with just her underwear and bra… When she heard light snoring sounds come from Jam, she also shut off her soul and fell into a light sleep.