Exploring My World - Revisited
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70 A Metal Box - Part 1
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Exploring My World - Revisited
Author :KearDarkfire
© Webnovel

70 A Metal Box - Part 1

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"I can't believe it!" Paroppe screamed as she walked forward.

"Amazing!" Jev spoke shortly, but his voice did let everyone around know he was just as amazed.

Byyuan followed behind them along with Lera and Ayanni. Lera brushed her purple hair out of her face as they entered a big atrium area. Glass windows on both sides showed the stars and emptiness of space. The colors outside were the best part.

They carefully moved past many individuals and stood watching the stage area. They took in the sights and talked amongst themselves as they waited. After ten more minutes the screen on the stage showed a man with one eye in the center of his face and arm like tentacles that he would be using as arms.

"Welcome everyone! I will be your captain of this vessel for your stay, so just refer me as The Captain. We are going to be setting off for the Skawaad Cluster here shortly. I'm sure you all know that every six months we tour around the cluster that was caught in a time vortex. The Skawaad Cluster has been the staple part of this tour and you all will be able to experience a safe ride."

The screen showed The Captain showing a harsher movement with his eye before he continued.

"I'm aware of the concern over the recent events. That is why the Federation had sent us twelve escort vessels starting from now on and until everything settles down. Do not let it concern you as we have taken the necessary precautions to prevent anyone getting on board that did not belong."

The Captain returned to his cheerful manner and finished his introductions.

"Please enjoy the sights and food along the way. I wish you all a wondrous time as we go on our journey."

As the presentation ended, waiters started walking out delivering food on trays as they walked amongst the people. They all tried the various dishes being served, even mingling with others outside their group, before going to their rooms for the night. At least it was considered nighttime.

Lera is standing in her room holding a metallic ball and lets it hover in the air.

"Good… This is Lera and today we just arrived for the start of the month long tour. I'm so happy everyone could make it. As I talked about in the last entry I have been looking forward to this event and now it's real." Lera takes a small breath as she flops on her bed. "I guess I'm a little disappointed. For some reasons the stars being closer or whatever, just don't feel right. They don't give me the same feeling as when I watch them from a planet. That's not actually a bad thing, but it is different. I'm sure like most things I'll get used to it."

She grabbed the ball and threw it back into the bag she used and threw it in her Void Home.

---

Cheers and clapping erupted after Paroppe gave her speech. Lera stood off to the side of her and moved closer as she walked towards her. An older lady got close to give a quick word.

"A young woman turning eighteen, such a wonderful age." One of the older ladies commented off to the side. Lera was able to hear that better.


"Thank you!" Paroppe turned to smile at her.

The room had such bright colors and lights that it almost blinded Lera as she stood there. She had cooked some of the food that was being served with the help of Rozaa, but she stayed behind in Hapho. Lera still hasn't told her who she is, just because she didn't want their friendship to change. The only reason she had told Byyuan was because he had been from this world. It was better that way. Leaving worlds to those that came from them, even universes.

Speaking of Byyuan, Lera has still been working at that restaurant as a dishwasher. Sure she helps around, but that is still her main job. Byyuan was thankful to her for letting him see Heryan. She was happy that it ended well for him. Though he has been telling her to find her own path and do something she really likes. He teases her that the only thing she seems to like is washing dishes, but she truly does. She has time and taking it slow sounds like the best idea.

On her days off, once a month for sure, she made an effort to see Paroppe. Just catch up with her and see how everything was going. Even if she wanted to meet with Ayanni and Jev, they didn't seem to interact with her much. In a way she was fine with that, but she does feel sad sometimes.

"Lera wants to sit down with me?" Paroppe had wrapped her hand on Lera's arm bringing her out of her thoughts.

"Sure…"

As they sat down, she saw Ayanni walking over with Jev. He was still wearing his mask. She did find it odd that he would wear that even to Paroppe's party.

"How are you doing Paroppe?" He leaned in to give her a peck on the cheek.

"I'm fine. Everything going well for you over there?" Paroppe nudged her head towards the two older men those two just walked away from.

"Yea, I was able to settle a deal between the two."

"For the western expansion?"

Ayanni nodded and took a bite of the food that was delivered to him. He took a glance at Lera. "Most monsters around here have been either eradicated or have run away. Due to that we have been working to expand the city and surrounding territories to allow safer travels between the places."

Lera wasn't sure she should comment, so she just smiled. She looked towards Jev who was eating silently next to Ayanni. Instead she took a different route and asked about the food they were eating.

"Do you like the food?"

"I do very much Lera. Thank Rozaa again for me."

"I will."

Paroppe had stayed back for a while. Lera had asked why she didn't want to go over to Hapho and she told her 'I want to, but they need me here more.' Lera wasn't sad that she said that, but she was disappointed. Spending so much time away from each other… A barrier between them formed. Paroppe, Ayanni and Jev were growing up and changing. While Lera stayed back and just kept doing the same things.

---

After the party, at night, in Paroppe's room within the Void Home, Lera and Paroppe were talking.

"Thank you again Lera for coming here."

"You're my family Paroppe. I will always be here for you."

They were sitting on a couch as Paroppe was opening some of her gifts.

"Lera I've been wanting to talk to you about something. When you come over as your younger self, the shorter body, that doesn't really fit you. I mean, the way you are right now, that is you. You don't need to change who you are when you meet with me."

During her past times she visited, she played the little sister role. In a way she did enjoy it. Lera never thought of it that way, and perhaps Paroppe was right.

"You're the best sister you know that?"

"Of course. You can always count on me Lera."

A few awkward moments later.

"Paroppe, I was wondering if you wanted to go somewhere?"

"What do you have in mind?"

"You're interested?"

"I am. It's been a while and I think it's time we reconnected again. So where is it?"

"I've been taking some time, here and there researching the different universes. I found one of them and I visited it for a couple days to get an idea of what it's all about. I won't spoil it for you, but there is a tour of sorts that travels around."

"A vacation huh? Alright, when is it?"

"They run two times a year. The next one doesn't start for another two months though."

"It will be Jev's birthday around then. That could work. I can drag him and Ayanni along."

Lera didn't want to ask either one, but if Paroppe was going to do it herself, she didn't mind.

"Do you still want to do it?"

"It's a bit of a ways away, but I should be able to talk Ayanni in moving his work around it. How long does the tour last?"

"A month."

"That's a long time… I can do it though. I know Ayanni is going to come with, but Jev is going to have a fit. Not being within the city scares him. He really wants to be next to our parents." Lera wasn't sure what to say to that. "Is there anyone else coming along?"

"I just thought we, as a family, would go."

"What about that boy… Byyuan? Don't you want to invite him along?" Paroppe's tone changed when she asked. It had been a while since the had last met. Something like a year…

"I wasn't planning on asking him."

"Do it anyways Lera. The more people there are, the more fun we will have right?" Paroppe's shoulder bumped against Lera's.

"Alright."

Lera had a faint idea why Paroppe was being like that. Though she wasn't completely sure.

---

"Come sit, Lera."

Byyuan had Lera sit in the swing next to him.

Being friends with Lera was in a way nostalgic to him and natural. In his past life he had a silent friend like her. Though nowadays what separates them is the fact that Lera has become more talkative. Not all the time…

'Shy little girl.'

Even if she claimed her age to be in the late thirties, Byyuan couldn't accept that. After Lera had told her everything, she was more like a teenager than anything. Someone who grew up fast, but was still young and naïve.

The funny part of that was the rumors going around his school talking about him either being into older women or she was taking advantage of him. If anything it would be the other way around considering age, but for the most part he didn't feel that way. She was just a friend that he liked to talk to. Of course telling Lera his secret did allow them both to connect better, but not like that.

"What did you want to talk about Lera?"

"I was setting up a vacation of sorts and I was wondering if you wanted to come with me?"

'Something new?'

Lera had been getting better at speaking for herself. Now she was setting up something like that party last time. He did want to go, but with his parents… It might be difficult to convince them since he wasn't eighteen yet.

"I'm interested in Lera, but I need to think about my parents first. How long will this trip take?"

"A month."

That was going to be difficult, not to mention almost impossible for him to explain. A weekend trip he could explain that he and his friends were going out for a party. He was always honest to his parents, just because that is what they deserved. He would lie if it involved his past in any way, but that had only happened once. He hadn't lied since then and he didn't want to either.

"They won't like it and it will be difficult to convince them."

"Do you want me to… talk to them?"

"Don't worry Lera. I'll handle it myself and let you know at my earliest chance on whether or not I can go with you. Send me all the information about it and I will work on the rest."

"If it's not too much trouble."

"Don't be a worry wort. I already told you not to worry. You're supposed to be older than me. As if." Byyuan started to swing his short red hair and waved against the wind. "If you think about it, we were both born in the same world, so we share something. A friendship, trust, something that we both can use to connect to. Something like that is shallow though. Just because of a connection, we should be friends? No, Lera, we are friends because we interact and talk to each other. We are friends because we choose to be. I think you know what I mean. I will be your friend and you don't need to worry like that around me."

He was aware of the connection that she had to 'her family'. Paroppe, Jev and Ayanni. Three people she considered more than anything in this��� life. World wouldn't really fit. In a way Paroppe is her sister. Someone she can confide in and actually talk about anything with. Although he was sure that she only talked about positive things. Youth…

But Jev has a bad attitude towards her. Byyuan had only met Jev a few times and most of it, he could see that Jev avoided Lera all the time. Even during the 'birthday' party. Yes, even knowing what Lera could do, there was a small bit of hesitation that Byyuan felt, but he never acted on that. He could see Lera for the girl she was. Someone who cares for everyone and wouldn't hurt a fly. At least not on purpose. She was a clutz that was for sure.

Ayanni… Byyuan figured that his love for Paroppe barely outweighed his passion for knowledge. A strong girl Paroppe was for being able to reign him in. He knew a man long ago who had to go through the same issue. In the end, he married the man… well her back then did.

---

Inside her room on board the ship, Lera looked around. It wasn't as big as the living room area where she would sleep in her Void Home, but it was good enough. The bed was even softer than her couch. Actually, that was a bad thing as she considered it. The amenities around would help most people keep themselves comfortable.

She looked around and called out, "Lights Off", to the AI helping the ship. When she visited this universe on one of her days off, she learned about their universe. Wars amongst humans and various races. Humans were split into factions that had their own systems they controlled galaxies included. Civilians were actually rare. Only if you had a family, connections, or lots and lots of money, were you safe enough to avoid conscription at an early age.

So for their group, she had to create a background for them. They're a part of the Talaon Corporation. A charitable group interested in finding sentient races out there in need of food and delivering it.

Coming up with the idea came naturally to Lera. It was something that she wanted to do once she learned more of this universe. Like the universe that held the planet where Thrann and his friends are from, there is no magic. They are technologically advanced and many races of creatures, humans included, fight in wars. Planets are mostly used for resources and space is just a large battlefield.

The planets where civilians put their homes are rare and even rarer are the ones who live in total peace. This whole universe knows war and this ship they are currently on is no stranger to war. As she was putting together knowledge their group should be aware of, this ship has weapons on the outside. Though as The Captain said, they have armed escorts as well. So they should be safe from the outside, but if there is trouble she will get them back home right away.

---

[We need to talk. Alone.]

Back before their trip, Lera saw a message sent by Jev. She teleported to him. He was in his parents garden where he was walking about.

"This trip… I understand that they want to go with you and that is fine." His blond hair flowed slightly against the wind. His orange eyes were turned away from Lera as he smelled the flowers. "But… bringing them to a war infested universe is something I cannot stand. Of course my opinion doesn't matter to them when they vote me, but you need to promise me at the first sign of danger we leave. You freeze time and what not, make sure everyone is healed, and we end up back here. Safe and sound." He turned around anger flaring from his nostrils towards Lera. "Understood?"

"Yes…"

---

She did agree with Jev, but the people she would leave behind to suffer… That was something she needed to be ready for if that happened. It wouldn't be easy to stop warships from firing on armed vessels, but maybe she could protect the civilians on board this one. To at least give them a chance to flee instead of fighting.

Even if she wanted to believe that everyone was important regardless of what they have done, she was more concerned with her friends in the end. They were a priority for her and she would always follow that.

She rolled around in her bed.

---

"Our tech pads will be able to search for information like when we were in Hapho right?"

"Yes, like any place we visit, they will work everywhere."

Their group was discussing the specifics of the month long trip in a cafe in Suul. Byyuan was there with them sipping tea listening in. He said he had worked something out with his parents, so he was coming with them. Ayanni was skimming through the information Lera had given all of them to look over. Something like his question wasn't in the packet, but she still answered him.

"Ayanni, what did I say about work on this trip?"

Paroppe cut into the questions before Ayanni could go on further. She was frustrated and furious.

"I know, but we have the chance…"

"Don't you dare finish that sentence! I know there are things you want to find out about Ayanni, but this is a vacation. No work unless I say you can and I will let you know when you can!"

Jev put his hands on Ayanni in support for him and his other hand on his sister's shoulder to have her calm down. They were still in public.

"Sorry…" Ayanni apologized, but Lera didn't miss the smirk on Byyuan's face.

---

The tea that was served was delicious. The scent of it reminded her of the stars. It was a place she frequented before they closed and would bring some tea with her as she teleported back to that hill outside the city where she could stare at the stars and lean her back against that tree.

Sleep slowly came to her and the AI overseeing the ship made a note to keep an eye on her and her friends.


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