Having just come from a dystopian post-apocalyptic world and racing against time to prepare for the beginning of that same world, worrying about how his hair wouldn’t stay perfectly down should not be on Kai’s worry list.
But for the past half an hour, his appearance was all Kai thought about. He gave up on his physique immediately and berated his younger self for not leading a healthier lifestyle. There was no quick fix for all the extra fat bouncing in front of him.
He did however express-order new pair of clothes online which he picked up on the way to the train station.
By the time he changed clothes and got to the platform, he was panting and all sweaty.
Seems I have really returned to my old body. Kai thought ruefully as he tried to stabilise his breathing. It was only after several months of running from zombies, climbing walls, crouching in sewers and swinging metal bars and a sword to survive that he managed to gain a ripped body.
His new clothes did little to hide his healthy tummy, but it made him seem more up to date with the trend. Young Kai never wore anything more than plain because he thought that it would only make him look ridiculous. But this did not mean that he didn’t follow the trends or wished that he had a nice figure like famous actors. 266 year old Kai could still recall all the information about fashion and famous idols that he knew as a 16 year old and he didn’t entertain the notion of holding back because it might make him look funny. Although he is in the body of a 16 year old, his mind was that of a two centuries old all powerful Celestial who was married with three children.
However despite all that, he was still very self conscious and all jittery about meeting the person that he was going to find.
Among all the information that he has, the exact location of this one person is one of the few that he was certain of. In his previous life, they would only meet a hundred years later after his team took down one of the Walls that divided the world. He began to come into his true powers as a Celestial at the time and the responsibility that came with it kept him very busy. Only ten years later would he finally proposed to her.
Years later, one of their conversations somehow came to their childhood. They laughed at how their schools were only two train rides away. They could have met each other so many years earlier if not for the Wall.
On the day of Katastrophe, his wife had left the city on a school trip. When the Walls were erected, she was on one side while he was on the other side of the 2nd Wall. It took humanity 80 years to finally be able to take down the 1st Wall and another 20 before they managed the 2nd Wall.
Kai had searched through his wife’s old school’s social media and found out that the trip will begin tomorrow. Her name was in the organising committee so she should be busy making final preparations at school. His wife wasn’t particularly active in social media but as she was the schools unwilling beauty, other students’ social media posts confirmed for him her whereabout.
Kai tapped his feet continuously to channel out the anxiety and repaired his hair and shirt once every ten seconds. Although he was going to meet his wife with whom he had three children and about whom he knew almost everything, right now though he would be a total stranger to her.
He was acutely aware that he didn’t look attractive right now. He wasn’t proud of the person that he was as a teenager so Kai had always avoided giving his wife much detail about it. His magic and abilities among other things would give him a beautiful body and a face that turned eyes even in the middle of battles. He was powerful, reliable and the hottest catch in the world. This was the husband she has always known and Kai had kept it that way.
Plus, as a teen, she was famous throughout all the schools in the city as a rare beauty. Kai searched through all her school friends’ social media accounts and even those of students from other schools.
Her photo was everywhere, but in all the pictures, she appeared to be trying her best to look modest and hide her face from the camera. Kai chuckled as he recalled memories of the past. So she was this shy even when she was young.
Lubna of Cordova Girls College.
Even the walls were imposing enough to drive unwanted individuals away.
The Lubna Militia. Kai recalled the name of the all women group of fighters that made this school their base in the earlier days. Their bravery had saved so many lives, including his own, although it would only be two years later that he would come here. Kai wondered at this; it had taken him only twenty minutes to get here on the train but after Katastrophe, this place would seem so far away that it would take him two whole years to get here, and after sacrificing so much.
His own school would be half destroyed and then overrun by a horde of zombies on the day of Katastrophe. He would run and hide from the undead for a long time and after a few months, he and the other survivors with him would discover that there was a safe haven called Lubna Fortress. Kai finally found this place two years later after losing more than a dozen comrades.
Four female guards stood on either side of the school gate, each having the physique of a professional wrestler and wearing severe expressions like they were the grim reaper.
Normally there was no way for Kai to pass through the gates of this prestigious girls high school, but luckily it was the schools Entrepreneurial Week so the school was open to everyone.
Kai had been worrying about how he was going to get into the school to find his wife. He obviously didn’t have her number as they don’t know each other yet in this time.
He did the mental and breathing exercise that could accelerate the growth of his magical powers in case he needed to go physical with anyone. To his surprise, it actually worked very well and even with just ten minutes of it, he was now able to summon magic to the magnitude of a D-Class Neo-human. It was weak in post-Katastrophe terms, but it would do for starters.
D and even E-Class Neo-humans have the ability to detect other Neo-humans and strong aliens, but the efficacy and range is more limited than higher classes. Kai tried his luck but was not surprised that he failed. The big crowd also made it more difficult for him to find one person.
However, finding his wife soon turned out to be not such a difficult task even without powers. So was such a well known and attention grabbing face that everyone he asked was able to point him to where she was. Kai took the opportunity to ask some questions that she always avoided with him a hundred years from now, like whether she had a boyfriend in her youth and whether she was always so proper and shy or was she a tomboy at some point. He was amused by the what-does-someone-like-you-want-to-find-her-for look that he was given every time he asked about her but he found out that she was not that different from the person he knew, or would know a hundred years later. Except that he was going to meet her today, a hundred years earlier than in his previous life.
Kai found his fifteen year-old wife in one of the schools parking lots. She was surrounded by five other girls wearing the Lubna College uniform, loading luggage onto a bus. Seeing the fifteen year-old version of his wife made Kai stop and reconsider approaching her. A mixture of thoughts crossed his mind, what if she hates the current me? What if meeting her this early changes our fates? What if by coming into contact with her now will cause the children to never come into existence? What if I can’t protect her and she dies?
These questions caused Kai to stop his steps and hide behind a building.
“Why do I want to see her now?” Kai asked himself out loud as he took in a deep breath to calm himself from the jitteriness of meeting the love of his life for the first time, again! as a stranger and from the torrent of what-if that were bombarding him. Whenever you are confused, stop and recall your initial purpose. This was a word of wisdom that Kai taught the younger generation. A mental exercise to clear the mind.
I have to see her now because…
I need someone to help me prepare for Katastrophe because I definitely can’t do it alone. She is one of the only three people who I know their whereabouts for sure, she definitely can be trusted, she’s a known Celestial and the only one I know to find so I definitely must ensure her safety and I know almost everything about her… though maybe not so much the current her. The last part made Kai ponder. He imagined telling her things only she knew and she’d be shocked and believe his story about coming from the future, like in the movies. There were two problems with this. The first is that he couldn’t think of something that only the current her would know. Sure they had shared a lot with each other but they never really got to talking about specific secrets that could convince their fifteen year-old selves of something as crazy as time travel. The second problem is that, he wasn’t sure about telling her everything.
Time travel was not a ‘thing’ even three hundred years from now. So the best that any human from the future knows about the topic is as much as the movies of today that have a life span of just another ten days, which is essentially nothing. Kai was worried that telling her too much would change the future between them. He imagined himself (as a 266 year-old man, although he only looked 25) telling the fifteen year-old version of his wife: “Hey babe. Believe it or not, I’m your husband from the future. We have three children together”.
Kai shook his head. Although in twenty years or so from now, marrying and having children in ones teens was a norm because of near extinction and the generally shorter life span of humans due to the harsh living conditions, in the world before Katastrophe, it was considered abnormal. He wasn’t worrying about what people would think or the legal consequences because most of humanity will disappear in ten days. What he was worried about is that the current version of his wife would think that he is a weird freak and totally reject him.
Meeting her now would amount to changing the future that he knew. What if they never end up getting married and having children? Kai couldn’t imagine a future where his dearest children don’t exist.
But he definitely needed her help. There were other people, other future comrades that he could trust. But he didn’t know where to find them in this time and he wasn’t sure what kind of people they are now and whether they could be trusted or made to trust him.
Kai’s pondering was brought to a sudden stop when a boy approached his wife. His heart came aflame when the boy led her to a secluded place away from the other students. The boy was really good looking. Nothing compared to his Awakened form, and worlds apart from his Celestial form, but in normal terms he was definitely handsome. And they were talking casually as if they were really close.
Is that her boyfriend? Kai wondered, his fists clenching. Seeing the way they were interacting and their good looks, they did make a likely couple. Extramarital relationships, non-serious coupling for temporary joy, homosexuality and other non-productive forms of human relationships were a memory of the long past from when he came from. With their species teetering on the brink of extinction, mankind post-Katastrophe came to expunge all the useless traditions that they created. When their very existence and survival depended on it, they returned to their true nature. Intimate relationships were only formed between men and women which is the only form that is natural and can propagate the species. These relationships were only built in the form of a mutually respecting and binding marriage which is the only way that a family can be protected, and which is the best way to ensure the survival of the future generation.
Although Kai was used to this new way of thinking, his near perfect memory – one of his Abilities – allowed him to remember all the details of life before Katastrophe. So he knew that this kind of relationship was a norm before the world ended, and most people this age engaged in it.
Whatever they were talking about, their conversation appeared to grow a little sour after a while and his wife made to leave the boy. Kai’s heart did a somersault when he saw the miffed look on his wife. So she hates his guts, Kai prayed more than he thought. But the boy chased after her, blocking her way which she didn’t seem to appreciate. This was the fuel that caused Kai’s blazing heart to burst.
Before he knew it, Kai was gripping the boys hand which had been on its way to hold his wife.
“Hey punk. What do you think you’re doing? You’re making Tomoe uncomfortable” He pushed the boys hand away but inadvertently used a bit of magic and the boy was sent flying back.
Kai’s magically enhanced senses made the world seem to move in slow motion and he saw several things happen at the same time. The first thing was Tomoe’s hand touching the bracelet on her wrist after which he felt a field of some sort surrounding them. Secondly, both his wife and the boy summoning magic, the boy turning his body in the air and landing on the ground unscathed and unfazed. And thirdly, both the boy and his wife summoning magical armaments and pointing them at him.
“Who the hell are you?” Tomoe shouted, the magical pistol in her hand lighting up as she filled it with her magic and prepared a shot. Kai recognised the weapon. The boy approached from his other side, holding a magical long-sword with both hands.
Rather than worry about being at the dangerous end of magical weapons, Kai was miffed that he appeared to have turned into the bad guy and his wife – his own wife! – was ganging up on him with some other guy.
“What the hell? I was trying to help you! How did I turn into the bad guy here?” Kai asked Tomoe, his tone angry and hurt.
“Be careful Tomoe, this guy’s magic is four stars and I can feel something strange about him. His camouflage is top notch” the boy said as both he and Tomoe circled him.
“Camouflage? Wait… you two think I’m an alien?” this train of thought made Kai remember something that future Tomoe once told him. “You guys are members of The Organization right?”
A wave of magical energy whizzed past him. Luckily for Kai, Tomoe was a poor shot and his magic-enhanced reflexes, rudimentary as they were compared to post-Katastrophe standards was of quite high level in today’s terms.
Shoot first, ask questions later. This way of thinking reminded Kai of another girl who had almost the same face as Tomoe, except that she had his nose and was naturally talented at sharp shooting.
Lucky me, the shooting genes come from me and not you. Kai thought. But if the children’s hot headedness comes from their mother, then talking will not get us anywhere. With this logic, Kai drew on a little bit of his magic to enhance his speed and strength. He moved behind Tomoe, twisted her hand just enough to make her loosen the grip on her pistol and backed away from her and the boy.
“I’m not a bad guy” Kai shouted, raising his hands in the air and moving his fingers away from the trigger.
“Please, can you hear me out first. You guys aren’t the only ones with magic, powers, and advanced tech fighting against aliens and magical creatures are you?” he slowly lowered Tomoe’s gun, turned handle towards her and handed it back to her. Even while doing all this, he couldn’t help his face going red when he approached the girl who was once, and will hopefully one day be his wife.
“I just want to talk. I really need your help”
“Then talk” the boy said. He lowered his sword but did not de-summon it. That was when Kai saw the necklace on his neck and the pendant it carried.
“Chris? Christopher McLeod?” Kai said slowly, finally understanding the reason he hated this guys face.
“You know of my grandfather? So?”
“Wait, grandfather? So then, you’re Kevin McLoed?” Kai almost exclaimed.
“What of it?”
Kai waited patiently for Tomoe and Kevin to finish their preparations for their school trip. Both of them strongly insisted on it as they were the leaders for their respective schools and wouldn’t listen to anything he wanted to say before then. Kai was planning to convince both of them to not go on the trip tomorrow, but if they refused or didn’t believe his story then they might as well prepare for the trip anyway. Kai really hoped that Tomoe at least would come with him and even contemplated forcing her. But he shoved that thought aside immediately as he remembered their promise. They would honor each other as equals, and will always discuss everything with each other. If she didn’t want to go with him now, then he will pray that they will meet again in a hundred years time as they did previously.
Besides, the last inter-continental train for the next destination is almost leaving. We won’t make it anyway Kai thought, looking at the time.
Kai closed his eyes, and performed the mental and breathing exercises he was so familiar with.
In his previous life, Kai and most of the first generation of survivors had discovered their powers gradually after the apocalypse. There were groups that had Awakened their powers and trained them before Katastrophe, such as The Organization that Tomoe and Kevin are a part of. They fought against the first waves of magical creatures and aliens that the Overlords sent before Katastrophe but most of them were wiped out. The few that did survive became some of the most important figures that helped humanity survive because of their knowledge and organizational skills. Kevin Mcleod was one such person. In the future, he will become someone that Kai looks up to as a teacher and one of the people that first discovered and built the foundations of the Cultivation Arts. An art that trains a humans latent Neo-Human powers which can induce an Awakening and hasten the process of powering up. The Cultivation Arts will subsequently play a very important role in helping humanity survive.
Kai recalled all the exercises of the Cultivation Arts, envisioning them in his mind. He had noticed that he retained some of his previous abilities but some he had lost. His powers were all but gone but his Near Perfect Memory seemed to still be intact.
Maybe I travelled back in time into the body of my younger self. My weak body couldn’t possibly withstand the weight of my powers which is why I cannot wield them but my mental powers can be transferred to my younger self, Kai possited.
As he entered this train of thought, an idea occurred to Kai. He decided to experiment.
Near Perfect Memory wasn’t the only mental ability that he had. Kai looked on the ground and found a small stone on the tar. After making sure that no one was looking, he focused on the stone, willing it to rise.
Telekinesis was a rare ability. The different groups of Neo-Humans developed methods to mimic it due to its convenience; the mages used complex levitation spells, the Builders utilised a unique energy from the 5th dimension to lift massive objects with their minds and so on. However, True Telekinesis was an ability that did not require the use of any form of energy and those that develop it are usually the most powerful of humanity.
The stone rose into the air easily. Kai willed it to come to him and caught it in his hand.
Just when he thought that wasn’t so hard, the world started to spin and Kai found himself falling to the ground.
That was dangerous, he thought, shaking the dizziness away. I guess, it actually requires a stronger body and mind to use. Kai decided not to try any of the basic abilities just yet. Even if by chance he could use them, his current body might not be able to take it. In the past, he and most of the other survivors had been fighting for a long time to survive before they discovered their powers. Maybe their body and mind had already reached a state where they could withstand to use of their powers by the time they discovered them.
Kai looked for a quiet spot, sat down and began meditating.
By the time Tomoe and Kevin were done several hours later, Kai had managed to strengthen his physical body, fortify his mind and collected an ample amount of magic. He also managed to awaken the basic Neo-Human ability True Vision. A common ability that almost all Awakened Neo-Humans have that allow them to see camouflaged aliens, hidden monsters and Overlord technology.