Isaiahs crew loaded up their mana-powered, company owned, pickup truck and headed to the mine shaft entrance. Mining colony 7 was located in the Azorp Mountain Ranges armpit on its eastern side. The upward facing claws at the end of the eastern exit made a grim backdrop for the colony, but hefty profits for the AMC, a subsidiary of the Jamison group.

The claws and peripheral bones of the demon were tapped out by the time of the third, and current, generation heirs to the Jameson clan took the reins. The second generation made a strategic move to enter seclusion and left the management of the most dangerous mining projects to their heirs.

One can almost trace back the genesis of this situation to that decision. It has since lead to many of the brutal regulations imposed by the third generation.

Upon their arrival at the entrance, Tristan felt his sixth sense tingling. Yes, he thought, this place will be the grounds of my revival. The air was thick with mana particles in the form of dust and debris. Also, there was a thick demonic blood essence energy which permeated the atmosphere and resonated with Tristan.

He telepathically sent, ”You can leave me behind after we get there Isaiah. ”

”Huh? ”

Isaiah was caught off-guard and vocalized a perplexed response.

” You okay boss? I know that guard was giving you crap about carrying that idol in unauthorized, but Carrie was cool with it the end. You know shes been auditioning for that vacant side chick position- ”

”Shut up Lorry. And Im gonna tell Melissa that the side chick concept is floatin around your rotten brain if you keep it up, ” snapped Isaiah.

”Geez Freeman, just trying to lighten things up, ” said Lorry, his fat hands held up innocently.

”Get your gear from the lockers and meet me at the elevators in a few, I gotta take a dump, ” Isaiah cooly played off. Someone made a drastic edit to their plans and that someone somehow had an excited look on its pale face.

As Isaiah walked the dreary halls of this mining outpost, he received many complements for his alabaster marble figurine. Such detailed work was clearly the work of a master craftsman. He gave the usual non-committal answer. Tristan convinced him to wear it out in the open as opposed to tucked as he wanted to create an air of normalcy around himself, so when the security screening occurred at the gate, it seemed like an ordinary piece Isaiah was using to boost his fertility.

Once Dolores publicly announced her pregnancy, they can simply tell people hes enshrined the idol for the many blessing the ascender behind it has given them.

There was a long standing culture of beseeching idols for various things and enshrining them in the home once said thing was done. It was apart of the mining colonies culture to hire a sculptor or woodworker to create all kinds of idol pieces. The current trend was to wear them hanging from chains or cords.

This wasn mere superstition; faith gathering was a respectable but rather difficult form of power acquisition for a few ascended beings. Most treated the bestowal of blessings as useless toil and inferior to the various systems of cultivation. Tristan certainly thought so which was precisely the reason why he was so cagey and distant with Camelot.

Back in the bathroom stalls of the mining outpost, overseer Freeman was sitting on the toilet, thinking at the figurine and looking constipated for the wrong reasons.

This is an overreaction, thank the gods when this is over Ill never have to telepathically communicate with you again, said Tristan, tweaked that his rebirth was being delayed.

Why in the hell would you want me to abandon you in one of the most dangerous parts of the mine, said Isaiah, confounded by this change in plans.

There is nothing to be worried about, I simply sensed that the blood essence energy in these mines is high enough for me to reconstruct my body, albeit in much diminish form and power.

At this point Isaiah conceded that this was his funeral and he could plan it how he liked. He for one survived these mines through wits and short excursions. If the failed ascended thought he could overcome the odds, who was his mortal ass to get in the way?

After exiting the stall and meeting his crew at the freight elevators, they traveled into the bowels of Azorps forearm to a location adjacent to their last payload. No sane miner would work a vein where a fragment of a remnant soul visited.

”Today Im being generous, as I have been crotchety as all get out on our way over here. Ill scout the way ahead until I find the right vein to work. Stay by here where the path forks, ” said Isaiah with a satisfied smile plastered on his face.

The crewmen looked at each other dazed and confused. Then, as if choreographed, collectively shrugged and said, ”Alright Boss Freeman. ”

As he made his way down the right side of the forked path, Isaiah felt increasing worried for the failed ascended. Whatever one might say about their kind clearly didn apply here and, on a selfish note, he believed that the best was yet to come if Tristan stayed with their family post-rebirth.

” Tristan, Ive found a suspiciously spooky enough vein for your tiny highness to absorb. I also dug a pit at the edge of the vein that should gather the demon blood after you extract the mana. It should take about 8 minutes before you make contact with the remnant soul. Give me and my crew thirty minutes to mine some mana stones before you start the process. Got it? ”

”Of course I got it you giant sand hippo. Im the one who came up with most of this plan. Just remember, I can find my way back to you guys covertly. The idea that your Lord Brandon calls this security is comical to me. Your girlfriend at the entrance practically waved us through. ”

”Firstly, it is intentional; Lord Brandon knows how hard we have it without some awakened jackass breathing down our neck. Secondly, sand hippo? I know Ive packed on the pounds since becoming overseer of this crew, but thats just hurtful. And lastly, don mention anything about a girlfriend around Dolores or you will find me six feet deep the next day, okay brother? ”

”Thats why I never hitched a wagon to this stallion, ” reflected Merlin, reminiscing about his eternal bachelorhood back on Gaia, ” Sorcery is the only woman I need. ”

”Spoken like a true- ”

”A true what? You know maybe I ought to take a peak at the security ladys memories, Im sure some sufficiently damning evidence will surface. ”

Isaiah finally relented in this battle of wits and praised Tristan for his grit and single minded focus on Lady Sorcery.

When he left shortly after their reconciliation, Tristan was finally alone again. In a death trap of a mine all alone. But the true danger was to Azorps forearm that was alone with him. However, despite all the anticipation behind his revival, Tristan found himself feeling lonely. Although he had family on Gaia, he didn really have a family. The Freemans constant engagement and care for his well being touched a spot he didn think his heart of stone had.

” I am a sorcerer who pays favor and benevolence five fold, and violation and iniquity ten fold. I will make the Freeman household prosperous and their son shall be the greatest Warlord this plane has ever seen. So it is said, so it shall be done in the name of Merlin Gaius Emrys Talamh ” Tristan intoned solemnly.

A sorcerers word is their bond. When an oath is spoken and left unfulfilled it will leave residual wounds on their soul-body and create unnecessary bottlenecks in their cultivation.

Following this heavy oath, Tristan got down to the business of strengthening his soul-body. After the snake blood medicinal baths this figurine underwent, he regained the ability to astral project. His soul-body could now travel independently of the statuette, albeit quite conspicuously. Seeing a six foot seven blue and violet ghost, who appeared to be a demon with curved golden horns, anyone would run and report it to the authorities.

Sorcerers soul bodies were so dense so as to be an outlier. Their astral projected spirits were mostly visible and would require the concealment spells of a stage three sorcerer to move without fanfare. While Tristans soul-body had the cultivation of a stage 4 Master Sorcerer, he currently had no fleshy body to cast proper spells or incantations.

The vocal cords, throat, mouth as well as hands and feet of a sorcerer are treasures whose complexity has no equal. Without any one of them, the art of sorcery would be vastly more difficult to say the least.

Projecting himself out of the figurine, Tristan observed that the mana stone in this vein was a rather darker blue than the normal blue coloration he saw in the beginning of his trek with Isaiah. The stone was shot through with veins of bloody red, a good indicator for demonic blood essence energy.

”Looks like ole Isaiah has left me near quite the payload, ” he said licking his lips and tucking a nonexistent napkin in his nonexistent shirt collar, ”bon appétit. ”

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