26 Acclimatization

After quite a few minutes of crying that soon devolved into hiccups, the sisterly duo managed to pull themselves together enough to let Devin stand up and dust himself off. Turns out they had seen the giant hole on the news and the report that the Fantastic Four had been involved and got worried. So when he had not come home that night they began to fear the worst. When the second day had come and gone with no news or response Izabela had called the authorities to see if he had been hurt, but at the time they were still sorting through the debris. Devin decided to tell them a little bit of the truth so as to give a reasonable explanation seeing as they cared so much.

"I was indeed caught up in what happened, but I am fine and here now so there is no need to worry." Devin said as he gave each of the siblings a smile to show that everything was good.

"Are you sure that you're okay? It looked like an explosion had happened. You aren't lying to us are you?" Izabela asked before narrowing her eyes in what looked like a suspicious glare.

'I'm lying, but not about my health.' Devin thought before replying.

"I am fine. I checked myself over and didn't find anything except for a couple of bruises. Although I could really go for a shower and some food." Devin said as Izabela continued to stare like that would get him to confess anything that he was withholding. The younger siblings merely followed from one person back to the other like they were watching a tennis match going. With a sigh Izabela slumped back against the back rest of the couch.

"Alright, you go take a shower while me and Yana prepare dinner." Izabela said as she stood up and headed towards the kitchen with Yana following behind. Devin turned and looked at the young boy who was left standing off to the side curiously.

"Henric, are you okay?" Devin asked as the boy seemed too quiet. Henric seemed to freeze as he looked at Devin realizing that he was now alone in the room with Devin. Henric nodded his head once before bolting out the door like a small rabbit. Devin scratched his head in confusion for only a few seconds before shrugging and turning towards the stairs to get his shower.

The concern the siblings showed was really touching and Devin appreciated as they were the closest thing he had to a family at this point. That being said Devin could feel an undercurrent of tension in all three of them even if they don't show it. They were hiding something from him and it didn't concern his disappearance.

Turning the shower on to warm, Devin managed to take his shirt off before Izabela opened the door and stepped in with an armful of towels. Seeing Devin shirtless caused Izabela to go as red as a tomato. A sigh from Devin caused Izabela to look up and meet his eyes.

"Izabela, I expected this more from your sister, but it seems you are truly Yana's sister." Devin said as he gave her a raised eyebrow causing her to stutter in her embarrassment.

"I...I..." Izabela stuttered as she tried to articulate a sentence while her face positively glowed at this point.

"Bela, if you want to see me like this so much all you'd have to do is ask." Devin said as a flirtatious smirk stretched across his face while he pulled the waistline of his jeans down slightly more. This had the exaggerated response Devin was looking for as Izabela threw the towels onto the bed and ran back out the door, slamming it shut. Devin removed the rest of his clothes and grabbed a pair of towels from the bed before heading to the bathroom.

Stepping into the heated stream of water allowed Devin to relax for the first time in awhile or at least since that initial call from Sue that day. Clearing his mind, Devin replayed the events that had happened and it was at this time that he remembered the two new prizes he had worked so hard to earn. With a thought Devin brought up the mission window and clicking on the rewards acceptance showed numerous rewards, but only two had his attention. Devin saw the vouchers for the bloodline as well as the new dragoon spirit.

Looking through his memory Devin knew that there were seven spirits left, six if he ignored the Divine Dragoon Spirit since he can only get that after getting the others. Each one was powerful, but after the situation that came about with Sue becoming a hostage, Devin realized that even with the amount of firepower he had with the Red-Eyed Spirit he couldn't heal unless he spent all of his points on healing items from here out. His best option is to pick a Spirit with healing capabilities which narrowed down his choices to three.

The White-Silver Dragoon Spirit had numerous healing abilities, but few offensive abilities. The another is the Darkness Dragoon Spirit that has offensive abilities with various side-effects including a spell called Astral Drain that sapped an enemy's life to heal the user and anyone allied with the user. The only problem with this ability's healing was that it could heal physically but couldn't detoxify or heal mental problems that were afflicted. The White-Silver could remove these problems easily.

The last choice was the Blue Sea Dragoon Spirit, but this was possibly the worst option as he would have to level up the spirit to unlock the healing spell Rainbow Breath which is similar to the White-Silver's spell but doesn't heal 100% of the damage if remembered correctly. The only thing that Devin wasn't sure on and was a little nervous of was that in the game the White-Silver Spirit was able to revive allies after their health had depleted and they died and Devin worried about if this was possible, not because if it should fail when the time came God forbid, but if it should succeed. What would be the result?

Devin weighed the three options back and forth carefully before coming to a decision. Just as he was about to click on the accept button he froze as another memory from when he first arrived in this world surfaced. The memory of when he accepted the Red-Eyed Spirit and the pain he had received produced not just a little bit of hesitation on his part. Better ask Alice, just in case.

'I am not a wimp, I am not a wimp, I am not a wimp.' Devin chanted before taking a deep breath and letting it out.

'Alice.' Devin called out in his head.

'Yes master?' Alice responded as always. The one constant in all of this.

'When I accept this new spirit will it be as bad as last time?' Devin asked with his fingers crossed it was the contrary.

'Sir, it will not be the same.' Alice said causing the tension to pour out of Devin. Unfortunately, it returned tenfold a few seconds later.

'It will be multiple times what it was last time.' Alice said causing Devin to dread what he was about to do.

'Why is it so much more painful?' Devin asked as he wondered what it would be like once he got the final spirit.

'In order to gain power there must be a price. Strength can't be attained without sacrifice. In order to prove that you are ready for the weight and pressure that comes with greater power you must endure the trial of the fusion.' Alice explained as Devin thought about it, causing him to harden his resolve.

'Ok, what about the bloodlines? Does that come with a trial?' Devin asked so as to make plans for the future. Just in case.

'It isn't really a trial per say, but the first bloodline is extremely painful as the entire body is remodeled to the race that is chosen. After the first time the pain actually lessens by considerable degrees with each additional one.' Alice replied causing Devin to bang his head on the wall of the shower as the water still poured over him.

'Alright, thank you Alice.' Devin said as he started to was off the dirt and grime from the underground.

'Your welcome, Master.' Alice said before going quiet. Looks like I'll have to find a secluded place away from the others to accept the rewards tomorrow. Finishing up with the shower, Devin stepped out and toweled off before stepping back into the room and pulling out a black tee and a pair of jeans. He padded barefoot down to the kitchen to see how the others were doing. Looking into the kitchen, Devin saw Izabela and Yana finishing up the food. Izabela saw Devin peaking in and a look of embarrassment flashed across her face before she his it away.

"Devin can you get Henric for dinner? I think he is in the living room watching TV." Izabela asked as she set a bowl full of salad on the table.

"Sure." Devin said simply before turning around and taking the few strides to the living room. Devin saw Henric sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV watching some cartoon about five men in spandex uniforms fighting a monster and displaying weird poses while shouting out something about gin something or other. This made Devin question whether he should allow Henric to watch TV anymore.

"Henric, it's time for dinner buddy." Devin said. This caused Henric to press a button on the remote to pause the TV and jump up, a smile now on his face as he started to tell Devin about the cartoon show, occasionally strike one of the poses from the show.


Dinner was delicious and Devin washed the dishes while Henric rinsed. Everyone spent the rest of the night in the living room doing various things. Henric continued his show while Yana read a book on the couch. Izabela had taken up knitting and sowing to pass time and was currently working on a scarf in shades of lavender. Devin was using his laptop to order the equipment he would need to set up his media tracking system to keep an eye out for information on various individuals he knew would be essential. He had meant to do this when he got back from Sokovia, but that had gone south quick.

Eventually everyone decided to turn in for the night and saying goodnite. Devin had just finished changing into his white, cotton sleep pants and T-shirt when a knock on the door sounded.

"Come in." Devin said. Soon the door opened to reveal Izabela once again, wearing a pink silk pajama set.

"Is everything okay?" Devin said in concern for why she was here so late.

"Um, I need to talk to you about something." Izabela said nervously as she wrung her hands.

"Sure. Come in." Devin said as he offered Izabela a seat on the bed while he stood. They stayed that way for more than a minute as Izabela seemed to collect herself and what she wanted to say.

"Before I say anything I want to ask you a question. What would you do if one of us was not normal?" Izabela asked as she peaked up at Devin even more nervous than before.

"You'll have to explain a bit more. Are one of the kids sick or something? Are you?" Devin asked as he ran through various possibilities of what she could be talking about.

"No, not sick, but if one of the kids had a special talent would you be okay with them?" Izabela asked, now even more nervous. Even bordering on scared.

"Bela, if one of you indeed have a special talent then that is great, but you're acting like I would throw you all out because of this for some reason." Devin said in confusion before he remembered what "special talent" could mean in the Marvel Universe. Izabela relaxed slightly at his reassurance.

"Izabela, are you saying that one of the children might have powers?" Devin asked, which caused Izabela to freeze in fear. It was only after a minute of silence that she finally responded with a silent nodding of her head.

"Bela, I won't throw you all out just because one of you developed an ability. I would have taken you all in even if I had known you all had powers from the beginning." Devin said as he gave her a kind smile. At the sight of that warm smile, Izabela finally began to truly relax. She then began to tell Devin how there were a couple a couple of kids bullying Yana and Henric at school and after Devin went missing strange occurrences began to happen around the both of them.

"So that's why Henric looked so lost and sad when I came back this afternoon." Devin commented as he rubbed his chin in thought.

"Your disappearance hit him really hard. When we lost our father years ago it was hard but because of him always being passed out drunk or at the bar, Henric rarely saw him, but you are the closest thing Henric has seen to a father figure, despite the short time he has known you." Izabela told as she looked at the man who had basically pulled her and her siblings out of the mud and made them shine with his kindness. Silence one again resumed as Devin digested this new information, but it was Izabela who broke it.

"So, what happens now?" Izabela asked as she hoped that Devin had a plan.

"Tomorrow all four of us are going to sit down and have a chat. I want to know more about what is happening at the school as well as what happened when these strange things happened. I also need to tell you three something as well." Devin said as he rearranged his priorities for tomorrow in his head.

"Okay, thank you." Izabela said as she stood up from the bed with a relieved smile. Stepping forward she wrapped her arms around Devin's midsection while laying her head on his chest in thanks. Devin returned the hug.

"Bela, even if the whole world would turned their back on you three, you will always be able to count on me." Devin whispered before letting her go and stepping back. Izabela reached up and swiped away some moisture at the corner of her eye before once again saying thank you. The two then bid each other goodnight and headed to bed. As Devin's eyes closed and he drifted off, Devin began to make plans for tomorrow and the future.

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