Hey everyone, Dodo here. As some of you might know I've dedicated most of my time to explore my drawing skills, but I still like to write every so often. So why am I here?

Well, it's been a while since I properly re-read this story, and in doing so I came to realize there's lots of things that changed regarding my vision of the story. And given how my vision of the story and characters is a lot more grounded and solid now, I felt these chapters needed to be updated to avoid inconsistencies. A remake of sorts, if you will.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the updated versions as much as you did the original one.


"You punks! You're not supposed to run around the pool!" Yelled the angry teacher at his students while chasing after them "Also, what's with those swimsuits!? Where the heck are your uniforms!?"

"Come on, teach! This is supposed to be a vacation trip!" Said a female student while looking at him with a smirk.

"That doesn't mean you just get to dick around either!" Snarled back the angry teacher "Get your asses back here!"

Both girls were quick to give their upset teacher the slip as they ran back indoors. Their blazers waving in the wind, making the symbol of their school waver.

Eden's garden academy. A renowned educational institution which took it upon itself to educate the younger generations and nurture them into excelling members of society. This institution was both well known and greatly respected at an international level for not only their perfect quality of education and student formation but for also nurturing some of the greatest and brightest youths of humanity.

In order to achieve this, the academy divides itself into four smaller schools. Each one represented by a color and a specific field of studies. These were the blue school, the green school, the purple school and the silver school. Each student had the freedom to choose which school to join, and while the different schools would operate mostly on their own terms and ways, the four would often unite for certain occasions.

One such occasion was the annual graduation event, during which the senior classmen from each school would go on a joint trip overseas. This was so the students, now on their way to become fully fledged members of society, could both celebrate their achievement and display the school's ability to coexist with each other.

It was originally meant as a form of cultural nurturing but soon the tradition became more of a vacation than anything else. Because of this, and as one may expect from a large group of young and hyped up people, they were loud and very lively, running from one place or the other and gathering in small groups to fool around. Everyone, except for the casual misfits that chose to either just sit back and sleep through the trip or those that simply preferred the idea of silence and to enjoy the view of the ocean. One such young man was among this particular group.

This young man, dressed in the blue uniform, was leaning over the rail, his sunken, weary brown eyes calmly staring at the seemingly endless ocean and sky stretching as far as the eye could see. His mind seemingly lost in pensive thought as the wind made the bangs of his blonde hair framing his face waver slightly.

Although deeply lost in his own thinking process, the train of thought was suddenly cut short by a strong slap on the back.

"Ow!"

Upon turning his head around, the young man saw another student wearing the same uniform as his, except that the frame and insignia on the blazer were green. He was slightly taller and a bit more on the buff side. His hair was dark brown in color and his blue eyes, seemingly filled with a sense of confidence, were focused on him. A carefree and cheerful smile on his face.

"Yo! How's it going, Max?" Said Alex

Max didn't reply, but instead gave his one and only friend an uninterested expression.

"Hey now, don't go giving me that face...I was just being friendly here" Replied Alex while sweat dropping with a somewhat weak smile

"What's wrong? I thought you said you'd be picking up women"

"It's called "pick chicks", not pick up women" Replied Alex while pointing at him "And yeah, I was doing that up until I suddenly wondered what YOU were up to"

"I've been here" Replied Max bluntly

"Aaaaand what else?" Asked Alex with a raised eyebrow

"Nothing else..." Replied Max again.

A short moment or two of silence took place as Alex looked at Max while blinking before wrapping one arm around his neck and making a rather irritated expression.

"You know! We're on a boat! A sailing boat! A cruise ship! A vacation! A pleasure trip!" He said with a popped vein mark "This is pretty much a golden chance to get that cherry popped, and you're telling me that you've been here doing nothing!?"

"Why...Does everything boil down to sex with you!?" Snarled Max while struggling to free himself from his grapple "I told you already! I'm not interested in that sort of stuff!"

"What are you, a Mormon!?" Replied Alex "We're gonna start University next year! This is the best chance to get rid of it, or are you planning to reach thirty years old and still drag around that v-card!?"

"Like I said, I'm not interested in that!" Snarled Max "Besides, you know I hate dealing with women!"

Alex kept his friend locked on his grapple for a moment or two before finally letting go of him and letting out a sigh,

"Yeah, yeah...I get it already, mister "I don't like women''..." He said with a disappointed tone "Even so, talking with one wouldn't hurt you know. You might even get a sudden twist of luck!"

Despite his attempts at lifting up the mood with some casual humor, Alex received no response. Max was already leaning once again on the rail, his back turned on the green student. This silent treatment was usually his way of "kindly asking" to be left alone. Alex could not mistake this for anything else, he had already experienced it far too many times.

"Listen now..."

"Ah...Ahhhhh..."

"Ah?"

Suddenly, both men heard a female voice wailing. Turning their heads to look towards Mike's right side they saw a girl with long brown hair leaning her entire upper body over the rail, her head lowered as she opened her mouth widely and let out everything that was within her stomach.

"Bleeeerghhhh! ! !"

"Ehhhhhh!?"

Max and Alex's eyes widened, both of them breaking a cold sweat as the woman continued ejecting what was most likely her lunch for a moment or two before she finally finished, a dizzy and sickened expression on her face as she sat down on the floor.

"Is...Is she seasick?" Asked Alex.

"Maybe..." Replied Max with a raised eyebrow.

"Uwaaaaaaah...The ocean took my lunch!" She said with teary eyes. Her voice drowsy and weak.

"(No...I think you're the one that gave it away...)" Thought Max while looking at her and sweat dropping "(Or rather, I don't think you can even call that "lunch" anymore either...)"

Taking a closer look at her, Max noticed she was wearing the Eden academy's uniform. But unlike his blue uniform, the woman was wearing the purple uniform. He also noticed the insignia on her uniform was slightly different from that of a regular student, displaying not only the academy building but also a depiction of a blossoming flower looming tall over it.

"(This woman...Is she...?)" Thought Max with surprise

Before Max could properly finish his train of thought, Alex walked past him and approached the young woman before kneeling next to her.

"Hey, are you okay?" Said Alex "Do you need a hand?"

The girl remained in her mixture of sickened and saddened for a moment or two longer before turning her to look at the green and blue students.

"Eh?"

For a moment her gaze was placed upon Alex yet her eyes were quick to divert away to Max instead. Her eyes displayed a hint of curiosity and intrigue that made the young man feel quite uneasy. So much so that he wasted little time in attempting to walk away. Yet upon attempting to do so she was quick to call out to him.

"Ah! Wait!"

With an equal amount of confusion and surprise, Max turned to look at her over his shoulder. As they once again made eye contact, the young woman shuffled and scrambled in an attempt to figure out what to say. In the midst of this, Alex alternated between looking at her and Max with just as much of a bewildered state as Max's, although his mouth was quick to curve into a smirk as a sudden realization came to mind.

"(That face...)" Thought Max while sweat dropping "(He's got a really shitty idea in mind, doesn't he?)"

"Say, you look like you could use a visit to the ship's doctor" Said Alex before gesturing at Max "Would you like my friend here to carry you there?"

"Why are you offering me to help her?" Asked Max.

The young man's expression displayed he was clearly not amused by the idea but this was blatantly ignored by Alex, who continued to focus on the young woman.

Much to both of their surprise, she spoke up.

"Erm...! Yes!" She said with sudden motivation "Please, help me!"

"I refuse!" Replied Max with his arms crossed.

"Eh!? Why!?" Asked the woman with a panicky expression.

Alex quickly stood up on his feet and drew near Max. With one arm wrapped around his shoulder, he turned both of them around and whispered to him.

"Com on now, bro! Can't you see what's happening here!?" Whispered Alex "For whatever reason, this chick seems like she's interested in you! And she's not just any chick either! She's one of the four flowers!"

"And how is that a good thing, exactly?" Asked Max.

"Because it's a big deal!" Replied Alex "It's one of the four flowers! It's basically like getting it on with a celebrity!"

Among the many youths within Eden's garden academy, there was one group that excelled the most. This group was formed by four female students, each one considered the greatest within their own school due to their extraordinary grades and skills, bound to go down in humanity's history as great figures. Respected and admired both by students and teachers alike, each of these four elite students was given the title of "flower" of their respective school.

Alas, Max was never one to care much about such things. And while he unfortunately was familiar with the blue flower, he knew next to nothing about the flowers from the other three schools.

"Plus, just look at her!"

Both youths turned their heads to look at the girl over their shoulders. Her big, teary eyes still focused on Max.

"Not only does she have a cute face but she's super stacked too!" Whispered Alex.

Upon hearing his friend's words, the blue student couldn't help but notice the purple student did indeed have a large chest. It was nothing otherworldly of course, but still ample enough in size to be notable even through the uniform's shirt and blazer.

"I haven't seen bazookas like those in years!" Continued Alex with one hand on his chin and a smirk "And trust me, I've seen plenty"

When faced with this comment Max could only roll his eyes.

While many students, especially those from the green school, knew Alex Burgeron for his extraordinary physique and ability to excel at nearly every sport, those within a more personal sphere knew him for being quite the womanizer, a trait he never denied and instead relished like a medal of sorts. This was also one of the reasons many felt confused regarding his long-lasting friendship with Max, given how one had a glaring enthusiasm for wooing any woman he met while the other wanted nothing to do with them. Or with anyone at all, as for that matter.

"Uhhhh...Hello?" Said the girl.

"Ah! So-Sorry!" Replied Alex while quickly looking at her, then at Max again.

"I don't care if she's famous or not, I'm not doing it" Chipped in Max.

"Ok, what about this then?" Insisted Alex "If you help her out and have a proper conversation with her, I promise to not bother you about women again for the rest of the journey home. Deal?"

Max didn't reply right away, allowing Alex to persist even further.

"Please, humor your best pal here, will you?" Said Alex, poking Max on the cheek "Please?"

The young man suddenly popped a vein on his forehead.

"Pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-"

"Oh, for the love of-! Fine! I get it already! Just shut up!" He snarled with an irritated expression "But you better keep your word or I'm tossing you into the ocean!"

Pushing the green student away, Max turned to face the young woman and glared at her.

"And you! Don't go thinking I'm helping you because I want to!" Said Max while pointing at her "I just want this guy to get off my back for a while"

"Thank you...erm..." She said cheerfully while looking at him before going silent for a moment "...Brian!"

"Don't give me some random name just cause you don't know my real name, woman!" Snarled Max with a popped vein on his forehead.

With a reluctant sigh, Max drew closer to the purple flower and allowed her to get up on his back for a piggy ride. Both men then proceeded to take her indoors and began to traverse the hallways in search of the medical office.

Along the way, Max could feel the purple flower's gaze solely focused on him. It made him quite uncomfortable despite his best attempts to ignore it.

"Let's see...It should be this way...Or maybe that way?" Said Alex while looking left and right.

"You're completely lost, aren't you?" Asked Max.

"Of course not! We're still going the right way!" Replied Alex, looking away and sweat dropping "Okay, maybe a little..."

"God damn it, Alex!" Snarled Max "This woman's fat ass isn't exactly easy to carry around, you know!?"

"Eh!? My butt is fat!?" Asked the purple student with a shocked tone and expression.

"Don't worry, it's the good kind of fat" Chimed in Alex while giving her a thumbs up "The type all men love"

"Speak for yourself" Interjected Alex

"Hey, you three!" Said an unknown voice.

Diverting their attention towards the other side of the hallway, the trio of students saw someone approaching them. A man with tanned skin, short brown hair and a short beard. He was dressed in a sailor's uniform.

"Please don't go making a ruckus in the hallways, you might bother the other passengers" He said

"Sorry about that" Quickly replied Alex before gesturing at the purple student "Our friend here was feeling seasick and we were taking her to the infirmary"

"She's not my friend" Commented Max.

"You wouldn't happen to know the way, sir?" Asked Alex

The sailor looked at the trio for a moment, focusing mostly on Max and the purple flower, before nodding in agreement and speaking.

"Yeah, I can take you there" Replied the Sailor "The medical facility is on the lower decks, come on"

"Thanks, dude!" Said Alex cheerfully.

With the sailor now guiding them, the trio continued their travel. Going past a few more hallways before heading down a set of stairs.

"Excuse me, mister blue student?" Asked the purple flower tentatively "Hello? Helloooooo?"

The girl kept her eyes focused on Max yet he persisted in ignoring her. Of course, ignoring her became much harder after she began to poke his cheek while calling out to him. And it didn't take long for him to react.

"I swear I'm gonna bite your finger off if you don't stop poking me, woman!" Exclaimed Max.

"I-I'm sorry!" She replied tentatively.

Max looked at her over his shoulder for a moment before sighing. Part of the deal was to make conversation with her, so he might as well get it over with as soon as possible.

"What do you want?" Aked Max impatiently.

"My name is Lily Testaroni" She said tentatively "Since you're helping me, I thought I should at least introduce myself"

"Again, I'm not helping you because I want to" He replied "Also, my name is Max Rockwell, and the big oaf over there is called Alex Burgeron"

"Nice to meetcha, Lily" Chimed in Alex while looking over his shoulder.

Lily grew pensive for a moment, one hand on her chin as she focused on something that lingered in her mind.

"Burgeron? I think I heard that somewhere before..." Said Lily.

"You probably heard it from the "Get your burger on!" saying" Replied Alex with a hint of pride "It's a pretty popular cheer the green students do whenever I participate in a game"

The purple flower looked at Alex with a hint of amazement before it eventually turned into shock.

"Wait, so it's not about burgers then!?" Said Lily with a mixture of surprise and disappointment "I always thought that was a slogan for a popular burger sale"

"...Eh?"

Alex blinked a few times with bewilderment at the young woman's words, but the thing that truly caught him by surprise was the chuckling he heard from Max, who almost immediately tried to hold it back.

"Max, did you...Did you just laugh?" Asked a shocked Alex

"No..." Bluntly replied Max.

"You did laugh!" Repeated Alex, this time with amazement "I can't believe it! You actually made him laugh for the first time in years!"

The green student was beyond baffled by this rare occurrence, yet the young man was adamant in denying it. Granted, the sneaky blush on his face betrayed his words.

"I did not laugh!"

"I don't really get what's going on, but I'm glad I helped" Chimed in Lily with a cheerful smile.

"Why you-!" Snarled Max.

The young man was just about ready to give the cheerful duo a piece of his mind, but that was abruptly interrupted by a sudden tremor that shook the entire hallway.

Unfortunately, that train of thought was suddenly interrupted by the hallway shaking with enough intensity to make everyone lose their balance.

"Wha-!?" Cried out Alex.

"Kyah!"

Lily wrapped her arms tightly around Max's collarbone while the young man fell to his knees and struggled to keep his balance with one hand and a knee on the floor. Alex and the sailor, on the other hand, quickly leaned against one of the walls and used one arm for support.

"Ughhhhhh...I'm feeling sick again..." Said Lily with an ill expression.

"If you even think about puking on me, I'm dropping you headfirst!"

"Hey, what the hell was that just now!?" Asked Alex.

"I'm not sure. A wave probably hit the ship. It's not often but it happens" Theorized the sailor while getting his balance "Hopefully it should be over now"

Almost as if to correct him, yet another sudden tremor took place. This one was followed by the sound of a speaker echoing through the hallways, repeating the voice of a middle-aged man.

"Attention everyone, this is your captain speaking!" Said the captain of the ship "All hands on deck! I repeat, all hands on deck! This is not a drill!"

The trio continued to weather one tremor after the other as the announcement continued, the captain's voice steadily being drowned out by the sound of the waves raging and hitting the ship's hull.

"All passengers must head indoors immediately and in an orderly manner!" Continued the captain "Follow the instructions of the staff members and remain within your quarters unless they tell you otherwise!"

Right after hearing the announcement, the sailor reached out for his handheld radio and turned on the frequency.

"Cecile cruise! This is Rick Monteja!" Called out the sailor "What's going out there!? Over!"

A short moment went by before someone's voice came from the radio. And while the tree students couldn't hear what it said, Rick's expression made it clear it was in no way anything good.

"Roger that, Cecile cruise! Over and out!"

Cursing to himself, the sailor put the radio away before turning to look at the three students.

"You guys, do as the announcement said and head back to your rooms at once!" He said.

"Woah! Hold the phone!" Exclaimed Alex "What the hell is going on!?"

The sailor turned his head to look at Alex, seemingly hesitating for a moment before speaking up.

"The ship ran into a storm. Damn thing popped out of nowhere!" Explained Rick "Hurry up and go to your rooms! Now!"

Rick quickly turned around and blasted off, heading for the staircase back to the upper levels.

After a moment or two, Alex went after him in a rush.

"Hey, Alex! Where are you going!?" Called out Max "Damn, you dumb oaf!"

With little time to think, Max put down Lily and chased after Alex. Despite this, she was quick to follow behind him as well.

"Max, wait!" Said the purple flower "Don't leave me alone!"

Both of them Climbed up the stairs leading back to the hallways, which were now packed with people, many of them drenched and some panicking as they followed the staff's directions.

After some struggling and squeezing their way around the fleeing passengers, Max and Lily made it to a door leading out into the open, where they saw Alex and Rick.

"Alex!" Called out Max.

The young man received no response, but he paid little attention to this as his attention was quickly focused on their surroundings instead.

Just as the sounds echoing inside had suggested, a powerful storm was raging on. A strong wind blowing hard enough to almost lift one off of their feet, rain pouring down with such intensity that one felt like it would get crushed by it, with the water seeping in all they way into your bones, pitch black clouds covering the sky, making it look like it was midnight and the ocean waving and raging with an intensity one could only see in nightmares. It was almost as if nature itself was waging a war against something, with the boat caught up in the middle.

The voice of the captain along with the emergency alarm were still looping, but the sound was completely drowned out by the storm itself.

"What's going on!?" Asked Lily while looking up at her surroundings with a mixture of shock and fear.

"U-Uwahhhh!" Yelled a random man

"Run away!" Cried out a woman

"Help me!" Begged a student

"Everyone! Hurry back inside!" Said one sailor while pointing at the ship's doorways

Both students and common passengers alike were on the deck as well, running around in a panic while the sailors kept trying to help the wounded and guided everyone to safety.

Snapping back to his senses, Max quickly approached the green student and put a hand on his shoulder.

"Max, what the hell is going on here!?" Asked Alex while looking around him "There wasn't a single cloud just a moment ago! How did it turn into this crazy storm!?"

"I don't know! But we can't stay here!"

"Hey, you three! What are you doing here!?" Yelled Rick while approaching them "I told you to stay inside! It's dangerous out here!"

"He's right! We have to hurry up and-!" Said Lily before being cut off by a scream.

"Hey! Look at the sky!" Yelled one of the passengers while pointing upwards

Turning their attention to the screaming passenger, everyone still on the deck diverted their gazes towards the direction he was pointing at. Max, Alex and Lily alike raised their heads to look at the sky, their eyes widening like plates and an indescribable sense of terror creeping up their spines.

Nothing, absolutely nothing could have compared. Even a volcanic eruption or a meteorite impact would have paled in comparison. At least both would have made sense inside their minds.

Way up above in the skies, a crack appeared. A white, shining crack similar to one you'd see on a broken glass covered the sky. It didn't seem quite big from their point of view, but considering how clearly it could be seen from so up above, one could estimate the cracks in the sky covering a space of about a couple of football fields.

"(Eh...?)" Thought Max with widened eyes, a blank expression on his face, as his bewilderment surpassed any other emotion right now.

The cracks made a sound that could be heard even over the raging storms, echoing like the cries of a whale. It grew bigger and bigger, covering more of the sky while echoing an electric sound, similar to what you'd hear when a generator or machine is being powered up, before the white light grew brighter and suddenly exploded, the cracks turning into a large hole in the sky and shooting down a massive beam of light that pierced through the ocean.

"Whoa!?"

The waves then suddenly changed, adapting to the beam of light and spinning around it, as if the ocean was one giant tornado and the beam was the eye of the storm, drawing everything within its reach closer to it, including the ship as well.

Everything shaked more and more violently as the ship got sucked into the twister of water, causing it to bend towards the center and making the footing even more uneven. This, combined with the slippery floor from the rain, caused those who were outside to slip down towards the edge and forced them to grab onto anything they could for dear life.

Those unlucky enough to not grab onto something fell out of the ship and into the water. Their screams are hardly able to be heard over the rage of the storm and this unnatural phenomenon.

"Kyaahhhhhh!"

"Uwaaaaaaahhhhh!"

"Nooooo! I don't wanna dieeeee!"

"Mommaaaaaaaaaa!"

Lily and Alex managed to grab onto the doorframe leading into the hallway while Max and Rick held onto a pillar supporting a staircase.

"Holy shit!" Cried out Alex as he held tightly.

"Everyone! Hold on!" Yelled the sailor.

Everyone held onto the first thing they reached as hard as they could. One by one, people continued to lose their grip, slip up or be pulled away by storms and fall into the ocean twister. The three students and the sailor kept using all the strength they could muster, but their muscles slowly began to give in under the pressure of the storm and their own body weight. In the end, Max was the one to lose his grip first.

"Shit!" Cried out Max

"Max!" Said both Lily and Alex

As he slipped down the floor, Max desperately struggled to hold onto something before suddenly getting a grip onto the rail. He tried to hold on, but the slippery metal and his muscles weren't able to do so, causing him to lose his grip once again. It was at the last moment that the sailor quickly let go, slipped down the floor and quickly extended his hand to grab Max's while wrapping his other arm tightly around the railway.

Suddenly, the pressure coming from the light beam became stronger, the feeling of being pulled towards it far more powerful than before. It was almost as if this light, whatever it may be, was trying to take them with it. He couldn't understand why or how, but Max sure didn't feel like finding out.

Seeing his struggle, Alex let go of the doorway and slid down towards the rail as well, holding onto it tightly in the same way as Rick before extending his hand towards him

"Take my hand! Quick!"

Max listened to his friend's words and extended his other hand towards him, trying with all of his strength to reach out, but at the last second, the sailor's grip was loosened, just as the tips of Max's fingers grazed those of Alex's.

"(Eh?)" Thought Max with widened eyes. A white, hopeless expression reflecting on them "(You're kidding me...right?)"

His mind went blank as he and the green student locked eyes for a moment before suddenly realizing his predicament.

"Uwaaaaaaahhhhhhh! ! !"

"Maaaaaaaaaaax ! ! !"

The last thing Max saw before being swallowed up by the waves was his friend reaching out to him.

*Scene*

The water felt as cold as ice, seeping deep into his bones, the little air in his lungs already leaving him, his body being dragged like a rag by the waves, unable and helpless to do anything.

As his consciousness slowly drifted away, everything around him became darkness. It remained like this for a moment or two before flashes of light began to move around the darkness, a drowsy, heavy feeling overcoming his body.

He could hear weird static and machine-like sounds around him, yet he could only see blurry images and brief flashes. This lasted for a moment or two before suddenly hearing a new sound. A blurred, seemingly incomprehensible sound that continued to go on for a while before suddenly stopping.

Once the sound returned, it was no longer blurred or incomprehensible but rather clear as day, almost as if the very meaning of those echoes reached inside his mind. It also came along with a new light, flashing in sync with the sound, almost as if it was this light's voice.

"(Max Rockwell...)" Said the voice."(Do you seek life? Or do you accept death?)"

The young man couldn't tell whether the voice was male or female or even both. Whatever it was, it wasn't a person.

"(No...I don't wanna die...)" Thought Max

"(Why?)" Inquired the voice

"(I...I just don't want to die...)"

"(So you seek life out of instinct, out of fear of death...That's your answer...)" Said the blurry voice echoing within his mind "(A simple, yet logical reasoning...Very well then...)"

After accepting Max's answer, the light suddenly became brighter, almost blinding, engulfing everything for a short moment, followed by the sudden appearance of a plumbob-shaped stone.

"(You shall have a second chance...)" Said the voice "(Best of luck to you...And never forget. Strive towards adversity)"

And those were the last words the young man heard before any light and sound engulfing him disappeared, giving darkness and silence the control over everything once more. This lasted for a moment or two before his ears caught a new noise, this one being the sound of the waves coming closer and getting away at a steady pace, almost like a calm heart beating. Oddly enough, there was also the sound of an animal, most likely a bird of some sort.

"Hmmmm..."

Slowly, Max opened his eyes and saw the blue skies above him. At first his vision was blurry, but it steadily became clearer as the drowsiness faded away as well.

"Hm...?"

As he kept looking at the sky, the young man's view was suddenly blocked by something that got on his field of view and blocked it.

The shadow it made by blocking the sun made it hard to identify, but it looked like a bird of some sort was looking down at him, tilting its head a few times with a bit of a speedy reaction in the same way as any feathered creature did.

"Eh?"

Max's eyes widened as he looked at the bird and the bird looked at him, both of them exchanging stares before the bird nudged its head down, poking him with its beak in the forehead.

"Ouch!"

In reflex to this sudden poke, the young man quickly got up, causing the bird to take a jump backwards, as if scared by his sudden movement.

"Ow...! Son of a bitch!" He said while rubbing his forehead with both hands before turning his head to look at his attacker "What kind of bird hits someone out of the blue like-?"

Upon looking at his feathered assailant, the young man saw it more clearly. It was a brown bird with a stout body and a large beak. The shape of its wings suggested it probably wasn't capable of flight and It walked slowly in two legs, just as any other bird.

Curiously enough, it had a little mark resembling the shape of a heart in its cream-colored belly area.

"(Wha-What? A giant pigeon?)" He thought while looking at it and sweat dropping "(No, it's too big...Maybe some sort of wild chicken?)"

As he looked at this bird, confused by its appearance, he noticed a few more roaming around. They were large in number, but didn't seem all too interested in him. In fact, they hardly seemed to even notice he was there, besides from the one that gave him a little poke in the forehead. They seemed rather harmless too, if a bit absent-minded as well.

Now fully awakened, Max gazed more closely at the bird that struck him. his eyes widening as he finally discovers the identity of his feathery assailant.

"Could it be...A Dodo?" He said "Are these Dodos!?"

The young man looked with awe at the bird while the bird itself seemed to stare at him as well. Both side analyzing each other in silence.

Never in his life did Max imagine he'd be able to see a Dodo, especially given the fact they were extinct, or at least supposed to be extinct. The mixture of awe and shock were so big that, even if just for a moment, he completely forgot about his current situation.

Eventually, Max snapped back to his senses and realized he was on a shoreline. Judging by the thick forest beyond the grazing ground of the Dodos and the way the ocean stretched far and beyond, he came to realize the place he was at may be some sort of tropical island.

"Did I get washed up here after the storm?" He thought to himself with a growing panic "Wait, what about the ship!? What happened to everyone else!?"

The young man's mind was racing uncontrollably, thinking non-stop in an attempt to put the pieces together.

Where was he? What was that supernatural phenomenon? How did he wash up on this island? Was he the only one that did? What about the other passengers? What about the ship itself? Did everyone else die?

The questions kept lingering and repeating themselves over and over again. Unfortunately, there was no way for him to answer any of those questions at the moment, which only added up to his frustration.

Even the mere act of thinking made his head hurt so much that he had to put one hand over it to try and calm down the throbbing sensation coming from within.

"Damn it...what the hell happened back then?" He muttered to himself while lowering his head slightly, his eyes suddenly catching sight of something that made them widen "Eh?"

On his left forearm, slightly below the wrist, there was a small plumbob-shaped object deeply embedded into his skin and flesh.

"What the-?"

Max took a moment to look at it carefully, despite seeming like some sort of crystal or rock due to its shape and color, it had an odd orange-ish glow in it's inner frame and seemed to be embedded quite well, besides from feeling perfectly smooth to the touch. It seemed to be made of some sort of metal, but he couldn't figure out which one. Not like that part really mattered to him right now, though.

"Daaaamn it! Come off, you little-!" He said to himself while placing his fingers over it and attempting to pull it out.

He kept struggling and pulling as hard as he could, but it was no use. The little object didn't budge an inch. Whoever implanted it into his arm, it made sure no one would be able to rip it out.

Oddly enough, despite digging so deep into his flesh, the object didn't feel uncomfortable or bothersome at all. In fact, it felt so natural that he didn't even notice its presence until seeing it with his own two eyes.

Most likely, someone implanted it into his arm through surgery, and a professional one at that. But what probably concerned him the most wasn't the object itself or the idea of it being surgically implanted into his body, but rather, the otherworldly feel this object gave off to him. No matter how or where he looked at it, this implant didn't seem like something man-made, or earth-made, as for that matter.

"Seriously now, just what on earth happened while I was out cold?" He asked, a notable concern in his expression "I didn't get beamed up by aliens or something like that, did I?"

As unbelievable as it may be, the supernatural events that took place during that storm were just as crazy as the implant on his arm, if not more. Could it be that they are related in some sort of way?

There were too many questions brewing up within his mind and no way to answer them. If he were to keep thinking, his brain would probably explode.

Giving himself a moment to calm down, the young man decided to try and get a clearer bearing of his surroundings.

Max got back up on his feet and looked around him. He looked at both sides of the beach as far as it stretched, running from his current point to a few feet before reaching the end of it, eventually stumbling into the forest area.

With a tentative speed in his steps, he ventured into the forest, making his way through the bushes and other types of vegetation by pushing them aside.

"Hello!? Anyone!?" He yelled while looking at his surroundings "Is anyone out there!?"

The idea of being stranded alone in an unknown island and that everyone on the ship may have died continued to linger, growing stronger with each passing second that went without him getting a response, but he didn't allow this to make him despair.

If he had made it out, if he had survived through that storm, then someone else should have done so as well. It was this thought that helped him hold on onto some semblance of hope.

Max kept running and running, losing himself in the vegetation before running out of breath and stopping right next to a tree.

"Oh, come on. This has to be a joke, right?" He said while taking deep breaths with his body bent and both hands placed on his knees "There has to be someone out there...There just has to be!"

As he tried to convince himself to hold onto this slimmer of hope, the young man suddenly heard the sound of footsteps. Quite slow and heavy, but they were footsteps nonetheless. Max quickly raised his head, hoping to see a group of people or something of the sort, but what he saw was everything but human.

Slowly and calmly, a pair of horns poked out into view, followed by a large, elongated buckler-like bonny head and a stout body. A large creature walking on all four showed itself.

It seemed aware of the young man's presence but displayed no concern or interest in him. Behind it, a few more similar creatures, most likely members of a whole herd, followed behind, seeking food among the vegetation.

Max remained motionless and speechless at first due to the shock of seeing such a creature. The Dodos were quite a shock, but these ones were downright jaw droppers.

"(A...A triceratops? A dinosaur!?)" He thought with widened eyes.

Dinosaurs, creatures that populated the earth millions of years ago and went extinct due to a natural catastrophe, are one of the most popular types of extinct animals, especially among children. But the keyword there was "extinct", meaning that they should have been wiped out from the earth millions of years ago.

The Dodos were one thing, something that could possibly be explained by. But right now he was looking at a triceratops, a creature that should have gone extinct millions, if not hundreds of millions, of years ago. And despite all that he was looking at a trio of them walking around, less than seven meters away from him.

He almost wanted to touch it just to make sure he wasn't going crazy or delusional, but part of him was telling him this was probably not the best of ideas. After all, even if they were herbivores, carelessly approaching and touching a creature with horns of that size would definitely have very, very bad results. So instead, he decided to make do with simply looking at them from a, hopefully, safe distance.

He could have probably stayed there and taken in the scenery for hours with no end in sight, but this was abruptly interrupted by a hand suddenly covering his mouth and pulling him back. On reflection, Max struggled to break free, but this quickly subsided after he heard a voice, a human voice.

"Hey, you! Calm down!" Said the voice behind him

"(What!?)" Thought Max after turning his head to look behind him

The individual standing behind him was not only a human, but a student as well. The green trims of his uniform gave him away as a student of the green school. And he wasn't alone either.

Along with him, two other people were behind him, one holding a big branch and the other a large rock. Both of them also students, but one of them was from the purple school, and the other from the silver school.

Seeing Max had calmed down and was no longer struggling, the green student let go of him and made a hand gesture to remain silent before pointing at the triceratops.

"Don't make any sudden sounds" He muttered while looking at the giant four-legged creatures "Those things don't seem violent, but they could lash out if you're not careful"

The young man looked at him, then at the creature while breaking a cold sweat. He already imagined approaching it wouldn't be a bad idea, but now he was even more convinced of how bad of an idea it would be.

Though none of them seemed uneasy by his presence, even when he was a mere few feet away.

"Where's your group? Are you alone?"

"N-No, I'm alone..."

The trio looked at each other, seemingly surprised by his answer, before looking at him again and speaking up.

"I see..." Said the student "Anyway, we should hurry up and get out of here. I don't want to stay around to these things for too long"

The two other students, along with Max as well, nodded in agreement and followed him, sneaking their way through the forest before reaching a small lake-like area. There, he found a group of people gathered around, all of them students as well. Probably around twelve or so, all gathered together around a makeshift campfire.

"Hey, everyone! We're back!"

Upon hearing the green student's call, the whole group diverted their attention towards them and were quick to approach.

"Did you guys find any good food already?" Asked one of the people from the group gathered around the campfire.

"Not yet. All we could get are berries" Replied the blue student.

"Again!?" Complained one among the group.

Many people among the group were quick to display discouragement and disappointment by the offering of berries.

"If you don't like it, then get your ass off of the floor and go get something yourself!" complained the student dressed in White.

Everyone steadily went back to gathering around the campfire before someone suddenly caught notice of Max and addressed his presence.

"Hey, who's that dude?" Asked a male student while pointing at him.

"Ah, right" Said the student dressed in green before turning his head to look at Max "We found him earlier while looking around...I didn't ask his name yet, though"

"I'm Max...Max Rockwell" Replied the young man

"Max...I think I heard the name somewhere before..." Said the student dressed in blue.

Max was quick to break a cold sweat as the blue student pondered about his name. But thankfully that train of thought was quickly cut short by the green student.

"Regardless, I'm sure having more people around will be helpful" Said the green student before looking at him with a smile "Try and take it easy for now. We'll go gather some more food later, and you can help out if you want"

"Okay..." Replied Max while nodding.

"Oh, and by the way. My name is Jared. The other two you met are Carl and Barry" Said Jared while pointing at the purple and silver student in the same order as he said their names.

The young man was not all too sure what to do, so for the time being he decided to sit down a certain distance away from the group and tried to relax. Part of him believed it would be safer to be closer to the others, but he could sense an odd tension among them. Not like he could blame them for it either, especially considering the current situation.

Stranded on a mysterious island after an otherworldly storm, filled with dinosaurs and probably monsters he had yet to run into. It was just a given tension would build up.

So for the time being, he chose to keep his distance and keep an eye on everyone. It was safer that way. And besides, being around that many people was sure to only make him feel even more uneasy.

One thing he did notice after a while was that everyone else had an implant on their arm as well. Some tried to rip it off, others stared at it with slight fear and a few simply ignored it. This, in turn, caused him to look at his own implant as well. Just what on earth was this thing, exactly? What was the point of implanting it into their bodies? Was it some sort of tracking device? Or maybe a devious prototype meant for testing on them?

He just couldn't figure it out, but he also couldn't seem to get it out of his head either. It was almost as if something within him, perhaps the object itself, kept bringing it up.

Either way, he just had too little information to go by with right now. But one thing was for certain, though. At the very least, he wasn't the only one stuck here. There were other people from the ship that survived.

This thought brought him some ease of mind, along with the image of Alex and Lily.

"(I hope Alex and that woman made it out in one piece...)"

While raising his head to look at the sky, he wondered about the well-being of his friend, and a bit about Lily's as well.

Unfortunately, and just like every other question in his mind, he had no way of knowing right now. All he could do was wonder.

Yet this was not a one-sided feeling, as under the same sky, in the same island, Alex made his way through the vegetation, searching his surroundings constantly while Rick assisted in making a path by cutting down the vegetation with a makeshift stone hatchet.

"Hey! Max! Where are you!?"

"Hey! Keep it quiet!" Said the sailor while turning his head to look at him "Do you want another of those things to jump out at us!?"

From the moment they arrived on the island, they began to search for Max and any other survivors. Along the way, they got into a few unpleasant encounters with some less-than-friendly dinosaurs that had a taste for spitting out poison. Fortunately, the sailor and his hatchet were able to deal with them without too much issue.

Even so, avoiding these encounters as much as possible was in everyone's best interests.

"If it does, then we'll deal with it!" Snarled the green student.

A few feet behind them followed Lily, her breathing heavy and uneven as she tried her best to keep up with her two companions.

"Alex! Rick! Please, wait for me!" Said Lily with heavy breaths

"Hurry it up, Lily! We can't waste time!" Nagged Alex.

"I-I can't keep up anymore! Please, let's stop for a moment!" Requested Lily with long breaths

"Damn it! It's gonna take forever to find Max like this!" Complained Alex.

"Listen, you need to calm down" Said Rick while looking at him with a stern expression "I know you're worried about him, but rushing like this is only gonna get us killed...Besides, you saw what happened during that storm. It wouldn't be surprising if he-"

"Shut up" Interrupted Alex "There's no way he could die from something like that..."

The sailor looked at him for a moment in silence. He couldn't deny to be feeling the same way for his fellow crewmate, but if survival training taught him anything is that staying calm and focused was the key to staying alive.

"One way or the other, we won't find him if we get killed or starve to death...Right now, we need to regain our strength" Said Rick before turning his head "Besides, those two won't be able to keep this pace for much longer"

Hearing the sailor caused Alex to turn his head to look behind him. He saw both Lily, who was starting to regain some of her bearings along with a small girl in her early teens standing next to her. She had long hazelnut hair and brown eyes, along with wearing the plain uniform of their school given to every first-year. She was a girl he knew all too well, and one which would most likely bring all sorts of problems when they managed to find Max, despite her gentle and caring personality.

"(I'm glad we found her when we did, but I doubt you'll be all too happy to see her...)" He thought while looking at the girl.

While thinking about a way around the issues coming to mind, Alex diverted his gaze and looked up at the sky. A perfectly clear blue, contrasting the almost cataclysmic storm that should have taken place less than an hour ago.

"(I guess we'll just deal with that when the time comes)" Thought Alex "(For now, just make sure not to die! Max!)"

*Scene*

Somewhere far, far away, an ornate glass was filled with milk by a man with a set of regal leather armor of cloth and hide. Once he filled the glass, the man walked a few steps and sat on a chair located in front of an exquisite wooden desk.

His mind lost deep in thought as his green eyes focused once more on the words and drawings printed on old, yellow-ish scrolls of papyrus scattered over his desk. A worn out, open journal lying on the side.

After taking a sip of his glass, the man turned his attention towards the large, open glass door leading to the balcony outside. Sunlight seeping in from this opening and giving him a clear view of the outside world, including the wild forests in the distance.

And then, the sound of knocking came from a nearby door. It repeated itself at least three times before the man looked at it and replied.

"Come in..."

With his approval granted an elderly man, probably in his late 70s, opened the door and walked in. He was dressed in a very similar fashion to the first man but displayed a considerably older age as his skin was more wrinkly and his hair and beard were already clear white.

Alongside him came two men dressed in suits of metal armor decorated with black cloth over the chest and shoulders. They were both tall and very muscular men. The type of muscle that one could believe was capable of ripping someone's head clean off with a single punch.

"My apologies for the sudden disturbance, Imperator" Said the elderly man while he and his escorts bowed their heads "I have brought the latest report from the scouts"

"It has happened again..." He said, his gaze now focused on the journal "New blood has set foot on the island"

"That is correct, Imperator..." Replied the elderly man after walking closer and placing a few reports on the table "According to the scouts, a large batch of new survivors has arrived into the island, all spread throughout different beach areas, and some already venturing into the deeper areas. According to the reports, we can estimate the number of new arrivals to be between 300 to 400. And judging by their clothing, most of them seem to be of civilian or scholarly origins, and few display competent survival knowledge, let alone military-"

"The details of their lives prior to their arrival matter little to me" Interrupted the man on the chair "It only matters whether they are capable of surviving on their own or not"

The elderly man stopped talking and looked at the imperator, remaining silent for a few moments before speaking up.

"With all due respect, Imperator. These new arrivals may seem meager in the grand scheme of things, but they are nonetheless a factor to be taken into account" Explained the elderly man with a stern tone "Ignoring such a thing could deprive the new legion of potentially useful assets or even worse, allow the opposing forces to acquire them-"

"Ronan..." Said the imperator "Are you perhaps intending to defy my methods?"

At that moment, an overwhelming tension rose up between both men. A tension that caused even both escorts to break cold sweats as shivers ran down their spines, the grip on their weapons as firm as their muscles would allow.

Ronan and the Imperator glared at each other for a few moments before the former closed his eyes and spoke up.

"I would never dare do such a thing, Imperator" Said Ronan "I merely wished to state what I, as your main Lieutenant and advisor, believe to be a valuable course of action"

"I see..." Replied the Imperator before getting up.

Upon seeing him on his feet both escorts tensed up, yet the imperator himself calmly walked over to a small rack filled with bottles and uncorked one. He then proceeded to not only refill his own glass but also fill a second one.

"I find your wisdom valuable as always, Ronan, but there is no need to rush'' Said the imperator "Patience is a virtue, after all. Those who hold true worth to our task will eventually find themselves being led through our gates. And those who find themselves consumed beyond salvation by the rot of the old world will either perish under the trials of this garden or join the ranks of those unworthy of the new legion's path"

Now one glass in each hand, the Imperator walked over to his lieutenant and offered one of them, doing so with a welcoming smirk.

"Let them be guided by the call of this island, just as it guided us in the past" Said the Imperator "As for us...Let us toast for the new arrivals"

Ronan looked at the glass and its contents before taking hold of it.

"Toast...with milk, imperator?" He asked.

"Caring for one's health is never a trivial task, Ronan" Replied the imperator with a hint of humor in his tone "Especially at our age, don't you think so?"

Lieutenant Ronan looked at the glass, then at the imperator, whose attention was now focused on the view of the balcony. A sip of his glass as he lost himself in the scenery.

Even from behind, Ronan could tell the imperator's eyes were focused on the gigantic alien-like tower hovering in the distance, Its bright green lights visible even from the other side of the island.

The Lieutenant, on the other hand, drank from his glass as he diverted his attention to the closer surroundings. The buildings and streets below, as well as the red banners depicting the ever proud golden pteranodon wavering in the wind.

"Ronan, send word to the scouts" Ordered the imperator "Instruct them to proceed as usual"

"Understood...I'll make sure to send the message via Dimorphodons..." Replied the Lieutenant "It shall be done as you wish it, Imperator Alazar"

With his glass now finished, the Lieutenant put it down on the counter next to the bottles and saluted.

"Now then, if you'll excuse me..." Said Ronan

The Lieutenant then turned around and left alongside his escorts while Alazar quietly kept his stare focused on the obelisk, the smirk on his face still there as he averted his gaze to the implant in his left forearm.

"Now then...What have you summoned this time?" He asked with an amused tone "And what will you do, new survivors? Or should I call you...New specimens?"

A slight and muffed laugh came out of the man as he looked at the glowing object, wondering about just what sort of new workers, enemies and slaves alike he would obtain from this new batch of people. Would any of them prove themselves to be worthy to survive? Worthy to thrive? These questions delved deep within his mind, breeding a slight sense of excitement and interest within him.

And just in the same way as him, many other people began to take notice of the new survivors. From the depths of dank caves and half-submerged forests in swamps, to the snowy mountains of the north and the volcanic areas, where rivers of molten lava flowed freely. From all sorts of places in this island, groups and individual survivors alike spread all over the island watched in silence. Some of them curious about the new survivors in the same way as Alazar and preparing for the upcoming days, others not concerned about it and keeping to their own business. One way or the other, all of them were focused on the massive obelisks located all over the island.

On this island, on this world where only the strong survive and monsters roam freely, where life and death are only a fiber's width from each other, a new journey brews up for the unfortunate individuals caught up in it.

Right here, right now, the struggle for survival begins.