“O Earth, O Earth, how long, how many?
Set me free, O Earth, O Earth, let nothing remain.
Others came and gone, O Earth, why me?
O Earth, cast me away, cast me away”.
For the last thousands of years, since Nature's rules have suddenly changed and humanity's place at the top of the food chain has diminished, human beings, along with other creatures who could not handle the change, have moved away from the surface of the earth to an asylum, kilometers beneath it.
Back then, 5775 years ago, it was thanks to a joint effort of a human and a beast that allowed the discovery of the network of tunnels and giant caves underneath the earth. Soon after said discovery, the surviving population of humans, nearly eight hundred million in number and around 100 million different kinds of beasts who could not handle life on the surface of the earth, had immigrated underground and lived in separation of species.
Underground, exploration of the tunnels and caves continued nonstop until 3705 years after the mass immigration. Nature's new rules had been set, and humanity and beasts sensed that there was nothing more for them to discover.
To sum up the results of 2070 years of exploration in one word, “Miraculous” would be the right way to put it. Although Nature, as some may say, turned its back on humanity and beasts, it sure has proven that for one drastic change within it, which can be considered unfavorable, another that is just as extreme and of the opposite side of the spectrum, will take place.
How is it interpreted in relation to the network of tunnels and caves? Firstly, the majority of caves were big enough to host cities of millions of people each, and some of the key point tunnels were hundreds of meters high and wide. Not to mention that this network covered nearly half of the planet! In many caves and tunnels even rich greenery and deep and wide clear water lakes were discovered. And yet, the most significant discovery came in the shape of bulky stone, a special type of crystal that seemed to grow only inside this vast network of tunnels and giant caves.
These crystals gained the name “Sun Stones” and became no less valuable than holy items and Heaven’s miracles to both humanity and beasts. The initial reason for this was the light radiating from the Sun Stones, which mimicked the sun’s light rays, but did not possess the negative effects of overexposure. The Sun Stone that mostly grew at the ceilings of the tunnels and caves were high in number and varying in sizes. The biggest discovered were around a few meters in diameter and the smallest around the size of a child’s nail. Just to give an idea to how bright the Sun Stone are, a crystal with a diameter of ten centimeters could light up a small hall and literally turn night into day. In the following years humanity will find a way to harvest the Sun Stones’ radiation, at the same time solving the clean energy problem.
A few decades after sharing the complete report regarding the exploration of the underground, humanity and beasts finished their adaptation process to their new life, the boundaries between species were agreed upon and drawn on the rough maps, “New Earths” maps, describing the network of tunnels and giant caves areas, and the New Erath’s calendar was officially set, starting from the last day of immigration. That was the start of the 3001 year.
Not far from one of humanity’s most populated colonies, named the Taltalon colony after its founding father and mother, situated a couple hundred meters from the end of the tunnel that marked the border between species, a stream of earthquakes coming from the beasts’ side shocked the colonists to their bones. The first few hours no one dared to leave his home, but once it became unbearable, some brave and stupid ones decided to check the source of the earthquakes.
What they saw froze them on their feet. Underground earthquakes in New Earth were rare but not that stupefying since they usually were caused by nature. However, not this time!
Two unseen before beasts, less than ten meters from humanity territory, were in a standoff. The bigger of the two was a horse like creature, almost six meters tall with red mane and eyes and brown hair. The other, the human spectators could only categorize as a type of fox only because the shape of its body and head. From the tip of its two tails to the edge of its nose, to its sharp nails, it was completely yellow and two and a half meters long.
Only when the two beasts began to move again, some of the men watching seemed to understand both the cause of the earthquake and its reason. The two beasts were fighting over some kind of an earth stone.
The earth stone was beneath the horse’s torso and whenever the eager fox tried to snatch it or bite the horse’s legs, the horse would try to kick its head only to miss and strike the ground in disdain. This was the cause of the earthquakes.
Afraid for their life, the best that some of the viewers could do to escape was crawl on their knees, while those who did not turn their back, being too intrigued with the scene before them, gave up on trying to stand and set on the ground, believing that no matter what kind of beasts these two really were, they would respect the boundaries between two species.
The two fought for another hour before the horse finally gave up keeping the earth stone for itself. The fox let out a satisfied purr when it saw the horse steps back, although that purr only last a second since faster than any of the fox’s movement during their fight, the horse kicked the stone, breaking its earthly cover and sending to the human’s territory a round shiny object. The fox fur immediately stood on its back in resentment. Right away it was about to cross over the border and then stopped when the horse neighed aloud before returning to the deepest parts of the beasts’ territory.
The fox’s eyes were fixed on the direction the object flew at and then rested on the frightened humans. Knowing the rules it relaxed its tense tails and ears and turned around without looking back.
Jumping on their feet and running as if possessed by the spirits of the two beasts, any of the human spectators who saw clearly how the feud ended tried to get first to where the shiny object had landed. They arrived to the wheat fields before the first line of cabins in the colony. All panting yet still moving nonstop, speculating the value of the shiny object and eager to find it.
They even ignored the calls of the people who gathered outside since the firsts that returned on their knees arrived and spread what they saw.
“There!” A deep voice called and everyone, those who searched and those stood with confused facial expressions, ran to see what the forty something man has found.
Not sure if he should touch it, the man only let his voice attract everyone and then stood the closest to the object as everyone gathered. On the ground, in the size of a grown man fist was a sphere, a smooth object that shone with a mud brown color. When the eyes surrounding the sphere approached closer, reflected from the inside they saw light brown mist.
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