Meanwhile, somewhere far away from Amaharpe, Gear's silhouette could be seen constantly flickering. At the moment, he was moving at an amazing speed. On his way, he came across large and vicious looking monsters. However, none of the monsters dared to provoke him.
Just a few seconds later, Gear came to an abrupt halt when he arrived before a small hill with a simple wooden hut located at the top. There was a stairway paved with a stone-like material that led up towards the small hut.
But, Gear did not take even a single step onto that stairway. Instead, he called out towards the small hut.
"Gear pays his respects to master! I humbly request your permission to enter!" Gear cuffed his fist and gave a deep bow. There was not a hint of dissatisfaction or arrogance in his voice. One could tell that whoever was in that wooden hut was someone Gear respected.
However, how strong would someone have to be to earn a legendary figure like Gear's utmost respect? Not even when speaking to Terminus or Zendai did Gear show such respect since they were his equals.
At first, there was nothing but silence. But Gear did not become impatient and simply maintained his posture. Then around ten minutes later, an old man appeared out of seemingly nowhere at the bottom of the steps.
A smile could be seen on his face. The look in his eyes gave off a deep and profound aura. It was as if everything within the world was clear to him.
If Izroth were present, he would immediately recognize that old man. It was the old man that he met on his way back towards Amaharpe after he completed the dungeon Sea Palace Graveyard. The same old man that spoke words that should not exist anywhere inside of this realm, Zhi.
"Little Gear, you finally had to courage to come and face this old man, hm?" Zhi said as he studied Gear.
Gear was still bowing and did not yet lift his head up. "Master, how could I ever face you again? After what happened to-" Just as Gear was getting ready to speak, he was cut off by Zhi.
Zhi held up the palm of his hand, "Alright stop right there. I already know what you want to say." A hint of sadness flashed across Zhi's eyes, however, it only lasted for a mere instant.
"You have already punished and blamed yourself for countless years." Zhi let out a deep sigh as he continued, "What happened was not your fault. I know that you did everything within your power to try and save her. Just as I'm sure my foolish daughter did everything within her power to protect you. Love often makes even the wisest of men become fools."
Zhi sat his hand upon Gear's shoulder, "Come, lift your head. If you do not, then you will be denying me face."
Gear reluctantly raised his head. There was a look of heartfelt sadness that drifted about inside of his eyes. "Master, if I never convinced her to leave this place then..."
"Then she would not have led such a happy life. To live life only to simply live is to live not at all. Yes, she may still be alive in the present, but if she had to do it all over again, my daughter would not hesitate to do so. After all, she takes after her mother." Zhi gave a smile that was full of warmth.
Gear was silent as he did not know how to respond. All this time, he had not been able to visit this place because it brought back memories that were too painful to bear without his other half here with him.
"Forgiveness starts within little Gear. My daughter has not left you with nothing. It is soon time for my granddaughter to meet her father. She cannot stay in that place forever." Zhi said.
"This... I understand, master." Gear could not argue with that statement. He had held himself back for many years already. It was about time that his promise to his wife was fulfilled.
"Alright, you did not simply come all this way to apologize and talk about this. You came because of the relic that was unleashed, correct?" Zhi said.
Gear was fairly surprised. Usually, his master did not keep in contact with the affairs of the outside world. So it came as a shock to Gear that he would know his reason for making the long journey here.
"If you already know master, then you understand what I came here for." Gear said.
Zhi shook his head and responded, "It is still not possible for me to do so. This is something you know quite well."
"Even after so many years, you are still unable to act, master?" Part of Gear was extremely frustrated. Not at his master, but by the individuals that did not want his master to interfere. If he did, then it would have far-reaching consequences.
Zhi set his hands behind his back and gazed towards the sky. However, it was as if he was looking far beyond that point and into the heavens. "The situation has become even more complicated and unstable over the years than it was before. As you know, my situation is unique. I am not yet a divine being, but I have already reached a Realm well above the existences on this plane."
Zhi continued, "Because of this, the divine beings have restricted my movements on this plane and I am unable to interfere in mortal matters. If I do, then only chaos awaits us. Many years ago, I learned this in the most difficult way possible."
After he stayed silent for a moment, Gear said, "The divine beings have too much influence over our world even after they can no longer descend to this plane. Master, forgive my bringing it up in the first place."
Gear knew that it would be a long shot, but he decided to test his luck anyway. "Master, the original reason I came to you is indeed because of the relic. However, I know that you cannot personally make a move. Therefore, I have another request to make of you." Gear said in a serious tone of voice.
"Oh? Speak, if it is within my power then, of course, I will help you." Zhi was quite interested in what Gear had to say.
"I wish to borrow that item you left within the care of the Dragon King's Palace." Gear said.
As soon as those words left his mouth, Zhi immediately set his gaze upon Gear. There was an overbearing aura that caused even those powerful monsters thousands of kilometers away to collapse under the pressure.
"Even if you are her husband, I may not be able to save you. I shall ask this only once, how do you know of that item?" Zhi said in a calm and steady manner.
Gear stood strong before that overbearing pressure. However, this reminded him that the gap between himself and his master was still very far apart!
Izroth, Aegis, and Mariposa were currently standing face to face with one another. At the moment, there were only two members of Mariposa's party that had managed to survive that assault. They were all injured and had to use potions to slowly heal back their lost HP since their healer was killed by Silent Step.
Aegis had just finished explaining to Mariposa the details of what happened when he was forcibly separated from his party.
"From your words, as well as, Izroth's words, it seems that these Chaotic Shifts appear at random and without any prior warning signs." Mariposa said as she furrowed her brows. She could understand why Aegis asked for her help in locating his party members. After all, her class was focused on spatial magic.
"The mage in our party was able to see black specks scattered throughout the atmosphere where we experienced the Chaotic Shift. It's possible that it may have been some type of warning, however, we were separated before he could finish explaining anything." Izroth said.
'The Chaotic Dogma Realm is a very dangerous place. Hopefully, the others managed to stick together. If not, then there's one place everyone should be heading.'
Izroth saw a tall tower in the distance. Although it was further away than he remembered. it should be the place where he would be able to meet up with the others. After all, it was their original destination.
"Black specks?" Mariposa then removed a small monocle-like object from her inventory. She held it up to her eye and when she did, magic symbols began to form on its surface. It was a useful magic item she picked up called Magic Lens. It worked in a similar way to Valentine's Eyes of Magic.
It was not as precise as Valentine's Eyes of Magic, but it was more than enough to view the black specks spread throughout the surrounding atmosphere.
"Strange... The black specks all seem to be randomly floating about. However, there's a certain order to the chaos. It's weird to explain, but each and every black speck is a unique type of spatial debris. But, I have no idea what could have left behind so much spatial debris." Mariposa did not even know where to begin.
"Are you able to locate others using your spatial magic?" Aegis asked once again. The only reason he interfered with the fight was due to Mariposa's class being space related. If she could not help him, then he would have had wasted his valuable time.
"You seem eager to cut our meeting short once more, Aegis." Izroth said in a carefree manner.
Aegis narrowed his eyes while staring at Izroth, however, he soon closed his eyes completely. "I am in no particular hurry. Besides, there is something I have been meaning to discuss with you." he said in neither a humble nor arrogant way.
Mariposa was trying to find the spatial signatures left behind within her range of perception, however, she came up empty-handed. She helplessly shook her head, "There is too much interference from the black specks. I cannot precisely locate any spatial signatures that I am not within the immediate vicinity of. But, if I move close enough to one, I should be able to sense it instantly."
Aegis nodded in response. Even though it was not the most ideal solution, she could still potential locate his party members. Therefore, it was better to go along with her for the time being, rather than wander around aimlessly.
"I'll also be burdening you. Of course, that is if you do not mind my intrusion." Izroth said.
Mariposa gave a weary smile. To be honest, her party was not in the best state right now. They had lost two of their damage dealers and their healer. Their party was currently crippled and had almost zero chance of being the team to complete the SS-ranked quest. She was more than happy to have Izroth and Aegis tag along given her current set of circumstances.
Also, she did not know when Silent Step would show up again. They would not survive another ambush. At this point, Mariposa's goal was no longer to finish the quest first, it was just to escape this place without having to undergo an existence wipe.
"It's no trouble at all. After all, you are a friend of my adorable little sister." Mariposa responded.
After coming to an agreement, Mariposa requested that they wait a bit so that she and her party could heal up some from their previous battle.
Around five minutes later, Mariposa and her party were ready to move out. Their destination was the tall tower in the distance. However, their main goal was for Mariposa to find spatial signatures left behind by Izroth and Aegis' party members.
As everyone walked, Izroth and Aegis stayed near the back of the group. Since Aegis said that he wished to speak to Izroth about a few things, Izroth decided to hear what he had to say.