Finally making his way back to his home after the completing the Ceremony, his feet were tired and he couldn't help but move to his bed.
The sound of the door opening soon alerted his mum who had been sitting at the table waiting for him to return.
As he looked at her he could see a steady stream of tears falling down her face, he could feel that other than being happy she was also very sad.
"Mum I passed, why are you crying…" It took some time before she finally spoke. It had been a long time since he saw this face, ever since his dad disappeared. "I passed… you don't need to work so hard nomore…" He couldn't help but think about the daily allowance that the tribe sent to each household that they had stopped receiving ever since their dad disappeared. It wasn't easy to survive in the wilderness, especially when you had two mouths to feed.
Moss knew despite how young he was, that his mum worked hard to provide for their family. Not only this, she was also kind hearted, he knew without asking that she sometimes helped Huojin too, since he first came to the village last year. This was why he had wanted to grow up faster and get stronger. It was all for this moment.
"I'm okay Moss, I just miss your dad…" That's right, of course him passing the Ceremony must bring up memories of his dad.
Quickly going to find a towel to wipe her face, he rinsed it in warm water before giving it to her.
"Mum, everything is going to be okay. I'm a bit tired now, I'll go to rest first okay." Moving away to his bedroom, Moss didn't even bother to change before plopping onto his bed as he stared at the strange pattern on his hand and wrist.
"I hope you can change my future, I want to be stronger!" Calmly uttering his hope and desire that he had so long hidden inside his heart, he finally breathed a sigh of relief.
Closing his eyes, Moss slowly drifted to sleep. Unknown to him, as he had softly spoken his hidden wish, a small voice inside the black egg had started to cry in a soft voice.
Running, he was running. In his dream Moss found himself running from something, there was a steady breathing of something chasing behind him. Warm breath closely followed him as he daren't turn around, he could feel the hot air blowing on his neck, raising goosebumps on his skin.
'PIT-PAT-PIT-PAT' the sound was steady but also rhythmic like a slow beat that increasingly became louder and louder. His throat was hoarse, Moss couldn't speak, The heartbeat of his heart seemed to echo the sound behind him getting louder and louder in his ears as he ran forward, faster, trying to escape whatever was chasing him from behind.
A looming chasm appeared in front of him, it was dark and black, appearing endless like a gigantic maw in front of him. The sound was approaching closer and closer, turning around Moss finally saw what had been behind him, it was a horde of strange creatures that were like shadows, instantly changing from shape to shape. A foul stench clearly hung in the air as the got closer and closer. Spying one particular moment he vividly saw the gaping mouth of the monster crunching down as if waiting to tear him from limb to limb.
"Do you want to get stronger?"
The voice that appeared in his head seemed calm but fierce.
"Who are you? Who is speaking to me?" Moss couldn't see anyone around him other than the monsters who were almost a few hundred metres away.
"Do you want to get stronger?" The questions repeated itself as Moss moved further back, closer and closer to the chasm.
"I WANT TO GET STRONGER!!" Yelling, his heart seemed to beat stronger as blood circled around his body. A pulsing sensation abruptly woke Moss up as a searing pain came from his hand where the black egg had embedded itself.
Like a lotus flower blooming, a crack began to fissure on the egg as his hand started to tremble uncontrollably ending in arches of pain. A layer of skin began to grow and renew itself in the area where the egg had been, Moss could see his hand rapidly healing. The pattern that had been visible slowly became see through and finally disappeared. It was like the emblem of the cloud that had been there never existed.
A sudden hunger assaulted his body. It wasn't that he had never gone hungry before, but for the first time in his life he felt pain, and fear seemed to well up from inside. Controlling himself he clenched his jaws tight while gripping his bed. 'No this is my body!'
He knew this was an after effect of awakening, without a doubt, in the back of his head Moss could already tell that his life bond might be the rarest and most dangerous form, PA. It had been less than a day and his creature had already hatched.
Forcing his body to move, Moss steeled himself as he tried to practise the set of movements that Huojin had taught him. He didn't know why he did that or why it was called Tai Chi, but subconsciously he wanted to control his body and he didn't know any other way. Pain wracked his body but he could only keep silent, he didn't want to wake up his mum. He knew there was no food at home during this time, all the food that they had had already long gone to celebrate his birthday yesterday.
Stiff movements trembled across his body as he quivered trying to maintain control of himself. 'NO.' Veins began to show on his head as he recklessly continued to settle his body by following the forms of Tai Chi that he was taught. Slowly bit by bit, he could feel his body going back to normal, sweating profusely he finally lay limp on his bed.
It was only after a long moment that Moss finally was able to move and glance at his hand but there was no changes. He could feel that his body had changed in some way but he didn't know how or what the creature that he had bonded with had hatched into.
He was too tired to get up and could only lay in his sweat stained clothes. Looking closely a light film of shiny, black, oily substance could be seen stuck to the outside layer on parts of his body. There was no smell but Moss could tell that the black substance was something that had come from inside his body. He felt more relaxed and flexing his hand he could feel power coursing through his blood.
Checking around him nothing else was different, in fact apart from the disappearance of the pattern on his wrist it looked like everything had been a dream. 'That dream…' thinking about the vague memories that surfaced in his mind, he remembered the scary nightmare he had and the voice that had spoken to him.
'What was it?' He knew it wasn't an ordinary dream and had something to do with his egg hatching. The questions began to surface one after another in his head. It was already morning of the next day. Making an abrupt decision, he quickly went out of the house to wash up. He needed to go see Blake for some answers.
Washing up didn't take long, it was just a normal day, except it wasn't. Uneasy with the changes to his body he was desperate to find some answers. Luckily his mum had already left early for work so he was saved from the tiresome questions like how come he was up so early when normally he slept till much later.
As he passed out the door he noticed the gift from Huojin that he got for his birthday. On a whimsy he decided to take it with him as he hurried up and strode into the village to look for Blake.
It didn't take him long before he arrived at the building where he had taken part in the Ceremony.
"He said he lived behind this building didn't he?" Speaking to no one in particular he anxiously glanced at the building in front. Luckily at this hour there was not many people up or wandering about in the village.
Walking around the building where the Ceremony had taken place, he quickly spied a smaller building on the back, though this one was made too small, as if it was only for receiving guests.
Finally at the front door, Moss looked around nervously before giving it a quick knock.
'TOK TOK TOK'
"Who's so early?" Surprise could be heard in the voice, as if the person inside had been doing something of the utmost importance.
"It's me sir, Moss…" hesitating he wasn't sure what to say, after all Blake was an important person in the village and the time was not exactly a convenient hour to welcome guests.
"Moss… you're the one who asked the question yesterday."
Nodding his head although there was no one to see it he quickly replied. "Yes its me, I know its earlier but can I see you, its about my life bond, my egg hatched last night…"