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The atmosphere was rather gloomy, everyone went about their jobs with a single minded focus. That and half the population who had chosen not to take an oath, had did so and were now training to be a part of the military. Asare had to actually reject a lot of the applications, but their oaths were taken none the less.

Nefisat with a little bit of direction from Malek had sped up the development of the city, halting the collapses of the tower and the building of the palace. I think that was for the best, which was why in just two days, high rise apartment complexes were suddenly being raised from the ground, streets were cobbler, and houses were reinforced and built. The area south of the palace is meant to be a residential area, a little feather down was the natural wall made from Nasir's roots, that were even at this moment; still growing.

With the south being a residential area, the east was allocated to the military. Which meant barracks, camps, the police station, and an underground forest courtesy of Nasir and Nefisat covered quite a few dozen kilometers. It didn't help matters that Nefisat's awareness has spread, reaching a startling fifty kilometers in any direction. Apparently that was the boundary Malek wanted her awareness to reach. The thing is as the city took shape, so did Nefisat. Because without a doubt, she was the city and the city was her.

Power, water and any other amenities were all controlled from a central matrix. And that was Nefisat's own matrix, enclosed in a spirit crystal that's hidden in a sub dimension, located precariously in the middle of the great hall. No one but me actually knew that, that's where the brain, heart and soul of Nefisat was actually located. God forbid should things go wrong, and we're under attack again. As long as Nefisat's crystal was intact, the city would stand.

In a simple term, Nefisat was the brain and central nervous system of a body which is, invariably the very city being built. One mind to control every facility in place.

The west became a business district of sorts. A market was being built there, it was also where the school was built. Though the market and school were quite a distance away from each other. That area of the city was completely under Farina's supervision, and the east was under Asare. The south was something I wanted to leave to Asha and Xaseah, let them look after the people.

The north was practically devoid of any building except for a single silver tower. While not as big or as tall tower as the normal towers that dotted the pit, or as natural seeing as it was built with metal and glass.

This was where all the developments were taking place. Malek's lab. Apart from that, to the north east was a wide expanse of farm land. Malek was not just a talented engineer and chemist, he was also an excellent alchemist. Apparently giving plants, blood like properties and nutrients was way easier than turning led to gold. It made me wonder why the vampires of old never tried something like that.

The north west was still barren, but for now it served as Malek's testing ground, at least until something tangible can be built on top. This was our home, a place where my children can be born and grow up happy. It's not fully safe, but at the very least it's a place where they can grow up strong and protected.

Everyone was busy doing one thing or the other except me, with clone still stuck unsealing other vampires, it meant I had enough time to myself, and training was the farthest thing in my mind right now. War will begin in earnest for us soon enough, and that would be all the training I needed. The palace had a number of floors and wings, along with four cardinal towers, and a middle tower, built right at the center of the palace.

This middle tower according to Malek is my administrative office, I'm sure I wouldn't be using it a lot in the future, but right now it's balcony served as a perfect place for me to watch the city in solitude, and just think. Today was a special day for me, but with everything going on, I don't think anyone noticed. Looking over the city, I felt a tug on my shirt, I looked back with a knowing smile at Nisi.

She looked a lot better than when I first met her. Her grey skin was smooth, and her brown hair seemed to glow with a luster than made the entire environment even more radiant. Of all the people I know, she's the one who has stuck with me since the beginning of my journey in the pit, well she an Teluna. It made me feel a little guilty that I've not been spending as much time with her as I should have. Thankfully being Malek's assistance has kept her busy for quite a while.

"Happy Birthday!"

I couldn't help it; I burst out laughing. She was decked in colorful red dress, and was holding up a red balloon to me, like I was some sort of kid. But it was the smile on her face that really got to me.

"How did you know?" I asked surprised. Because I know I never mentioned anything to anybody.

"Everybody knows! But since you didn't say anything, we all just decided to keep quiet. At least until it was time to give you your presents."

"Presents? Did you guys organize a surprise party? Come on Nisi you know....."

"Stop right there!" She cut me off before I could start complaining about the party, giving the recent state of things.

"We know we couldn't have a party, it wouldn't do anyone any good considering what had just happened. So even if we really wanted to celebrate your twentieth birthday in a grand fashion befitting the lord of Ethernalia Leonis and the blue district as a whole, we couldn't. So it's just a small gathering of your closest friends, giving you the presents we all worked on together. Sounds good?"

I shook my head. I think I understood why they sent her instead. The little gnome had a way with words, especially when it comes to me. I got down on my knees, so that we would be more or less the same height, and gave a hug.

Nisi smelled like earth, but not in the wet sand in your face manner, but like the scent of a spring morning, just after a little rain fall. The sun rises softly, and the wind blows with a scent that hits you mind and body at all the right stuff, and for that small moment everything was at peace and beautiful.

"After all this is over, let's take a trip to the burrow. We can go look for whatever is left of your family. If that's okay with you?" I asked her with a smile.

"It is. But I don't really mind...…..because I have a family right here."



I was walking towards the west side of the palace. Nisi was right that it was just a small gathering, the gifts they gave however was not. Malek, Xaseah and Dwayne outfit themselves and gave me a specially crafted long sword and shield. You ng the same method as the armor, they sword and shield became an add on or upgrade to the armor's capabilities as a whole. But it didn't stop there, as Rhea, Nisi, And the same three people responsible for my new sword and shield, crafted two hand guns out of energy absorbing, storing and redistribution metal, that was synthesized and created by Dwayne in Malek's lab.

I have to admit, Xaseah's grandfather was one bad blacksmith. He was good at his job, really, really good. Not to mention he was a very good merchant, and our current liaison with the outside world. The guns didn't fire off normal bullets, but energy of any form. Making it possible for me to use either my soul energy or the ether as ammunition. I'm not really a gun kind of guy, but it was a welcome gift.

The sword and shield, were made with nanites. Nanites whose body was made with a very malleable and self replicating energy absorbent alloy. To cut the long story short, I could change the composition of both weapons. I could make them wider, shorter, their edges fuller or sharper. And I could weave over them, used the runes, and clear the surface for another, rather than the rune becoming permanently etched on it's surface.

I knew they couldn't have come up with all this in just two days, which meant they have been planning this gifts for quite a while. It would have been a more festive occasion, if the string of unfortunate events we've all experienced was never let loose from whatever ball of yarn it was a part of. But I was grateful none the less, especially for the silver chain around my neck; hanging from it was the lower jaw of a lion, the top half was spilt in two, with one going to both Asha and Xaseah.

They could not give me a weapon as that wouldn't have been appropriate, and I was not really in the mood to get tangled in the sheets with Xaseah. So this was the next best thing, a token of our love and appreciation for each other. It was cheesy, but it made feel all kinds of weird and happy, like I was falling in love allover again.

But eventually the little get together became a little crowded for me. Now I was going straight for that black one meter tall rock, surrounded by pillars. That should be the medium to access the so called kingdom building system, and the terminal to trans Universal market. I guess the work never ends.

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