1 Dull

How much chaos can a person really process in the span of a second. Apparently, quite a bit. A monster, blood drenched and frenzied, charged through the already damaged wall that held what was left standing of the museum. What was supposed to be a savior laid dead on the ground, and what was left of their party was running away. The screaming of civilians as pillars crumbled pierced his ears almost as sharply as the glass from the breaking sunroof. The bloodied floor made it easy to lose footing, and before he could get up a shadow casted over his bruised body. One of the pillars that had been cracked before couldn't hold itself up, and in a way, what came after was relieving. The screams were deafened by the sudden thud, and his vision went back.

Yeah, a lot of chaos in the span of a second.

He'd say that it hadn't started that way, but that would contradict the journey that was endured after this moment.

It's obvious we'd have to go back to a bit to get the full picture here. A few hours, the very morning of the day this chaos ensued.

A lot of highschoolers would have found themselves asleep at 5 in the morning. But this tunnel visioned young man had other ideas, having just finished a light workout. He stood at 5'11 feet, and obviously was built like someone who was exercising before a lot of people had their morning coffee. His skin was on the darker side, and for the most part fit the bill of the average young man in that group. His dark hair was kept on the shorter side as well. Though, what really stood out had to have been his eyes. As he stepped out of the shower and stared at himself in the mirror, the glass reflecting his platinum white eyes. It was the quiet moments like this that he hated the most, where it was only himself and his unfocused thoughts.

That uncomfortable feeling was shaken away as best he could, reaching into the cabinet to grab his contacts. His vision was never an issue, in fact it was better than most. These were colored contacts, and as he blinked a few times to make sure they were in right he looked back in the mirror to see his eyes the average black. Stepping out of his bathroom and glancing at the digital clock that sat on his desk, he'd see he still had a few hours before his class was supposed to meet up. He was in his senior year and was meant to graduate in a month. Yet, while other schools were able to send their seniors to places that were a lot more fun, his year was stuck with a tour of the Museum of Preserver History.

Not wanting to stay in his apartment he'd get dressed and prepare to leave. Luckily, he didn't have to bother bringing his bag today. Chewing on the last bits of a Pop Tart as he locked the door behind himself, Kilian would start his usual walk to school. The apartment complex he lived in wasn't the best, but he saw himself as lucky enough to not be living in the worse parts of the city. Lower middle class was comfortable enough, he supposed. Not that he had any real room to complain, since he had been living with his grandfather for the past few years. He owned the building and was retired, and truthfully could be in a way better space if he hadn't taken Kilian in.

This was Kilian Stone, one of the most boring high school seniors in this city, but probably one of the hardest working. His expression was that of someone who was...tired, yet still had plenty of sleep. More tired in a mental sense, if anything else.

Down two floors, he kept his hands in his hoodie pockets to protect them from the morning cold as he walked along the sidewalk. There was a decent flow of traffic, the place he called home never really sleeping. Everstand City was the youngest city in America, built after the Monster War. If he remembered right, his grandfather would have been around then. Explains why he never did like talking about the war.

Though, since it was built after the war, it's also where the Preserver Union was located. It was a very important place and considering there were so many Preservers going in and out crime was usually at a low for the most part.

It was about a 20-minute walk to school, and as he got closer, he noticed a bit more students coming the same way. A good number were like him, coming earlier to avoid the intense foot traffic the city usually had. The relative silence gradually vanished as he was able to hear the topical conversations that students usually had. Morning greetings, talks about their day, things of that nature.

Getting to homeroom felt like second nature, Kilian going down the hall with his mind elsewhere as he walked. Through the door and sitting down, he'd pull out his phone and sink into the chair slightly as he waited. Again, the only one in class. It was quiet. He tried studying, wanting to pass the time. He had slides on his phone, going through them as a refresher of sorts. Basic knowledge on math, English, and science. Apparently, there was some stuff about laws too. One didn't really have to score high in order to enlist, but high scores meant a better job and pay. The physical exam wasn't something he was worried about, but high scores would look good on his record.

Preservers, they didn't initially conform to any government. And in a way, they still sort of don't. Yet, as monster attacks became more frequent, things had to change. For one, war between countries became infrequent. No point wasting resources and then not be able to defend yourself when a monster attack happened. That, and with Preservers being spread throughout the globe it wouldn't have ended well for any soldiers trying to break through borders. A single preserver on the lower end of the rankings was certainly strong enough to take on dozens of armed men.

Even though most governments cooperated during the Monster War, their role was mainly protecting civilians and keeping the peace between them.

Sighing, Kilian ran his fingers against his shut eyes. All this studying, all the training, it was all for some half-baked dream. As time went on, he couldn't help but feel that this wasn't what he was meant to do.

No, he knew it wasn't!

Smart, strong, hard working. A genuine desire to do good! Yet here he was, putting in all this effort for some job where he probably wouldn't be doing anything. It was getting harder to push his frustration to the back of his mind. What pissed him off more was that he didn't exactly know what else to do.

He thought back to a few years ago, a bit before freshman year. A blinding light, a sudden rising heat. Power, a mere few feet away as he stood confused.

A voice, calling out.... but not to him.

"I-I...I accept!"

Her voice, hesitant yet determined.

Cursing under his breath, he'd snap himself out of the memory. Standing up, he'd decide sitting here wasn't going to do him any good. Maybe he could have just slept in a bit more today? Getting up early was more of a habit than anything else. He left his empty classroom, deciding to just wander around a bit. It wasn't like he had to worry about teachers yet.

The cafeteria had people who didn't eat breakfast at home, and the growing noise as students intermingled made his eyes twitch. The change in atmosphere was hopefully enough. It was a mix of mindless talk, running around, or conflicts on the edge of becoming a fight. It's where he spent the rest of his time until it was time to meet in front of the buses.

"Seniors going on the Museum trip, please make your way to the school entrance if you haven't already."

That was his que. Getting up from where he sat, Kilian would start to move out of the cafeteria. His stride slowed almost to a stop, seeing what looked to be a freshman having his head pinned to the table with some guys surrounding him. Was he crying? His foot turned directions slightly, his body turning. There was hesitation, though silently he'd leave.

Rollcall was done, then they were able to get on the bus. The usual rules repeated. Don't stand up, be too loud, things everyone hears every trip, but most ignore. Most teachers certainly didn't both correcting them after a certain point.

Again, mindless studying. His head leaned against the cool window as he went over facts in his head. His classmates had the entire year, and some even freshman year to realize he wasn't exactly the sociable type. The museum was a bit deeper into the city, and it was a bit later into the morning as well. More cars of people rushing to work, as well as people walking along the sidewalk.

He figured it would be another boring trip. Kilian would return home and graduate, then live a life as a soldier who wouldn't amount to much.

Yet, unknown to him other things were at play. In the darkest alleys of Everstand, a black sludge found itself rising from a drain. It was struggling and was formless. Footsteps echoed, colored boots and uniformed men and women ran throughout the alley holding strange looking guns.

"I saw it head this way."

"Stay cautious."

"Pft, don't worry. After that last blast I gave the damn thing, it couldn't have gone far."

The sludge bubbled, and a single solid hand of it would reach from the drain. Its fingers dug into the concreate as if it was sand.

At the same time, a strange necklace would be on display. It was stone in texture and was lined with dust. Though some markings were still visible, it could have been interpreted as a scale of sorts.

It was slight and went unnoticed, but the stone texture would suddenly make the smallest of cracks. Falling away, a silver material shone through.

Next chapter