In the training hall basement of their apartment complex, two young men with black hair and dark eyes were standing opposite each other.
They were wearing combat suits and entered their combat stance at the same time.
"I will restrict my strength so that you won't cry later!" Danny mocked, but Michael just clicked his tongue disapprovingly, "Whatever!"
Michael hated that his brother took it easy. Unfortunately, that was for his good. Danny dashed forward and their spar began without delay if one could call it a spar, in the first place.
Half an hour later, Michael felt as if his entire body had been used as a punching bag. That was not far from reality. His black hair was slick with sweat and dirt while his face was decorated with purple bruises.
"As a member of the Fang family, we will have lots of chaos around us, but that can be exploited," Danny nagged when he appeared in front of Michael, "You have to make use of your territory's protection barrier when you enter the Origin Expanse. It lasts only ten days but that should be more than enough for you!"
While speaking, Danny retrieved a glass vial from the War Rune. He opened the cap and handed Michael the vial. Michael swallowed the red liquid inside it and felt a warm and soothing sensation spread through his body.
'This is the real deal!' He thought while focusing on the empty glass vial rather than his brother's nagging.
Danny was still speaking excitedly. He was way too talkative when it was about topics related to the Origin Expanse. Though, it was not as if Michale hated it. It was just Danny's nagging that got a little bit on his nerves.
"Remember, two hours over there is one hour over here. Don't get the dates wrong!"
"If you won't come back in time, I'm going to kill you!"
Michael meekly listened to his brother's nagging without retorting that he knew all of that already. His brother was in his element right now, and nobody could stop him, probably not even divine interventions.
"Danny, it's fine. Just let me have dinner and sleep. I will be fine tomorrow."
"I brought some food from Jenny's Diner. We can eat that if you wa–..." Danny said lightly, just to see that Michael had already gotten up from the ground the moment he heard 'Jenny's Diner'.
In the following hour, the brothers devoured enough food to feed a family for days.
However, that amount was nothing to the brothers. They'd always been gluttons.
How could anyone resist great food? That was blasphemy!
Michael returned to his room after dinner. He was tired from today's events and fell into a deep slumber quite easily.
Only a few hours later, Michael woke up with the first rays of sunlight shining through the window. It was still early in the morning, but he was already wide awake. The back of his right hand itched, pulling him out of the well-needed sleep.
A small, sphere-shaped rune formed on the back of his right hand. It was smaller than a marble and could easily be mistaken as a uniquely shaped mole.
Today was his 18th birthday, which was also one of the most important days in his life. His War Rune had formed, establishing a direct connection between him and the Origin Expanse! Now, the only thing left to do was to enter the Origin Expanse to confirm and reinforce his connection with the War Rune.
Michael quickly showered and changed into a combat suit before he rushed downstairs.
The first ten days in the Origin Expanse were the most important. He had to make use of them to create his path to a great future, and having a filling breakfast was the best way to ensure that the day started on the right track!
Michael finished everything he could find in the fridge and a bright smile formed on his face.
His heart was beating wildly in excitement, and he didn't even notice that he was subconsciously urging the War Rune to open the Gate to the Origin Expanse.
As a result, space cracked open and a radiant light illuminated the kitchen.
The crack expanded in size until it was large enough to let Michael through.
Michael stared blankly at the Gate. He swallowed his saliva and took a stride toward it.
However, it was just a moment later that a familiar voice rang in his ears, "Oi Oi Oi, what the hell do you think you're doing so early in the morning?!?"
Danny's hurried footsteps resounded through the entire house. Feeling astonished and confused, Michael halted in his tracks.
lightsΝοvεl ƈοmHe was just having breakfast.
That's not a crime!
Danny reached the kitchen a second later, staring at Michael with bloodshot eyes. His hair and clothes were disheveled, and it looked like he had a rough night.
"Doo tschou wansth somsething?" Michael asked incomprehensibly. His mouth was filled to the brim, but it was easy to understand what he was talking about. He handed Danny one of the croissants he found in the kitchen.
'It's okay. I will share my loot with you!'
Michael smiled at his brother, who groaned in frustration.
"You bastard…I thought you got too excited and–…" Danny grumbled, snacking on the croissant while glaring at Michael. It was not difficult to see that Michael was too excited and could not wait to enter the Origin Expanse anymore. Michael was too eager and was bobbing his head up and down restlessly.
Danny shook his head, but he couldn't take offense at his brother's action. He himself was the same four years ago.
He had always felt guilty for leaving his younger brother alone to build his territory in the Origin Expanse. He was not home a lot, but Michael never seemed to mind.
'How do I even deserve such a good little brother? Michael always understands me, and he never complained when I wasn't there for him…' Daniel marveled while watching his oblivious brother savor his last meal before it was time to enter the Origin Expanse.
The back of Danny's right hand glowed lightly as he flipped his hand with a light motion.
A thin longsword manifested in front of him.
"Huh?!" Michael nearly died of a heart attack as he stumbled backward when the sword manifested in front of Danny.
He took a second to regain his composure and curiously took a few steps forward.
"Is that an Artifact?"
It was the first time Michael was seeing an Artifact up close. While the thin longsword didn't look like anything special, it was a treasure if it was actually an Artifact.
The difference between Artifacts and ordinary weapons was quite simple. Artifacts were created with special materials, which allowed Lords and Adventurers to bind them to their War Runes. That way, they could enjoy enhancement effects. For example, his endurance was likely to increase by binding a Shield Artifact to his War Rune. The enhancement effect would vary according to the quality and Tier of the bound Artifact. Nonetheless, an enhancement in combat prowess, no matter how low, was extremely helpful.
"It's a five-star Tier-0 Artifact called Tigerfang. When I saw it in the marketplace, I was reminded of you," Danny explained shortly before he handed Michael the blade carefully.
"As long as you can bind it to yourself, Tigerfang will be yours!"
What was his brother talking about?!
Did Danny rob a bank to afford Tigerfang, or did he sell his territory?
Michael was curious but he was not sure if he wanted to know the answer.
'Danny…what the hell did you do?!'