1

"To put it in very simple terms, you act like the majority of High Society, and I don't really like the majority of the High Society because most of them are selfish bastards."

Michael's golden eyes glowed vibrantly as he stared straight into the eyes of Maria's mother.

An awkward silence filled the room all of a sudden. The only sound that reverberated through the office was Kaleb cursing Michael and his balls of steel.

The Zenovia siblings were not sure why but Michael was extremely talented at offending Descendants and members of High Society. He was like a child with no filter.

Maria pressed her lips together and tugged at her mother's robe, trying to hold her back and not let the situation escalate. However, Maria's mother couldn't be held back at this point. She broke into a hearty laughter, taking the sibling duo by surprise.

Maria's mother, Giuliana Seraph, continued to laugh while pulling her daughter in front of her to look at her lovely child.

"I acknowledge that he is an interesting young boy. You were right. He is a little bit cute as well," Giuliana told her daughter, "Though he is a bit too straightforward for my liking. Is that your type? Straightforward, handsome, a little bit cute, and ambitious? Well, that's not too bad. Definitely better than liking lazy slugs."

"Mooom!!" Maria blushed and tugged at her mother's robe, trying to pull her out of the office. She felt like dying. Why was her mother so embarrassing?!

Giuliana turned to Michael and nodded sharply, "I think I owe you an apology for my behavior. Please ignore what I stated earlier. I needed to see more about your personality. Reading reports and analysis about your power and personality might be helpful to create an image of my little girl's Primal Amplifier, but I had to see it with my eyes to actually believe everything. It's the same with patients. I need to see them first before I can tell them whether I am powerful enough to cure them, or if they're incurable."

Michael watched Giuliana Seraph for a while as the Stigmata around his eyes dimmed down. His eyes didn't glow anymore and he continued to listen to her.

"I'm sorry for my late introduction. My name is Giuliana Seraph and I'm the matriarch of the Seraph family. When I heard that my little girl managed to find her Primal Amplifier among the participants of the Battle Exchange, I was both surprised and happy. But I was also worried. Dark Heavens attacked Piloq and I was worried that someone might try to do something to my dear daughter. That was when I decided to rush over to Piloq and the ancient city. I had enough time to research you and your family, which was both calming and worrisome."

She took a deliberate pause to judge Michael's reaction but when he did not comment, she continued,

"It is a good thing that you're not a Descendant because it will solve various problems with political issues. We won't have to affiliate with any Supreme Family, or High Noble since you don't belong to either. However, the worrisome part is that you have this unique, ancient power, a power that is as fearsome as the War Empress' power, if not worse. I'm talking about Hesta Fang, your sister," Giuliana Seraph said, her voice still sonorous and kind, but the intent of her words cutting deep into Michael's heart.

"You're pleased that I'm not a Descendant but my power worries you because it will attract the attention of the Supreme Human Alliance and High Society. That makes sense. I am also a bit worried about the next few days and weeks," Michael acknowledged. "But that doesn't explain what exactly you want from me. Do you want me to find a way to remove the Mark of Fate, or were your earlier words the truth? Do you want to take the risk and invite me to the Seraph Family and grow closer to Maria? Is that what you, or the Seraph family wants, Mrs. Seraph?"

Even Alice was starting to feel confused. Giuliana Seraph acted like a Cold Witch before just to test Michael and now she seemed to hesitate to reveal her true intentions. That was certainly not something anyone would expect from the matriarch of one of mankind's most influential families.

"What I want and what the Seraph family can afford are nowhere close. I want you to come with me to the Seraph family mansion. That way you and Maria could grow closer, thereby strengthening the Mark of Fate. We never had a 7-Star Healing Soultrait, or a Primal Amplifier with eight or more powerful Soultraits. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I do not want to miss it, to be entirely honest," The matriarch started.

"Unfortunately, the Seraph family cannot afford to upset the rest of the High Society at this point. The situation with the human traitors is getting out of control and we're already busy searching and annihilating the remaining traitors within High Society. I know that the Supreme Human Alliance wants to kidnap and manipulate our Heavenly Chosen children, but they are not too keen on investing a tremendous amount of resources into that task just yet. However, the same cannot be stated about you. You…are a ticking time bomb," Giuliana Seraph explained in all honesty.

The matriarch of the Seraph family was still going around in circles. Fortunately, Maria was getting tired of her matriarch beating around the bush.

"What my mom wants to say is that she hopes you can transfer to the Ascending Phoenix Academy. The University is in the solar system which is far more secure than Kelta in the Lumina Stellar System. It is unlikely that either of us would get kidnapped there, and we can stay together. Of course, only to strengthen the Mark of Fate!" Maria tried to hastily correct herself with the last sentence but she was already blushing.

Michael raised an eyebrow and shook his head, "I won't transfer to the Ascending Phoenix Academy."

"Why?" Maria exclaimed the moment Michael finished his sentence.

"Isn't it obvious? The Suicide Squad's members had more members of the Ascending Phoenix Academy than any other Academy or University. Meanwhile, the Saphirelake Military Academy did not have a single traitor among them. I do not really plan to leave my friends alone either, just because your Soultrait deemed me compatible enough to force the Mark of Fate onto me. I didn't ask for this. If you or the Seraph family wants something, you have to approach me. I'm not a puppet that can be controlled according to your will and tossed around wherever you deem fit."

Giuliana Seraph only watched Michael for a second or two. She had met stubborn people like Michael, but most of them didn't have several trumps and leverage over the Seraph family so it was easy to manipulate them. Unfortunately, that was not the case this time.

"That means, if Maria transfers to the Saphirelake Military Academy you'll be fine being around her and strengthening the Mark of Fate?" The matriarch asked, ignoring that Michael had spoken dismissively of the glorious feat of becoming the Seraph Family's strongest healer's Primal Amplifier.

"Huh?" Alice exclaimed loudly, all of a sudden. She stared at the Matriarch, who smirked. It was almost as if transferring Maria to the Saphirelake Military Academy had been her plan all along.

"We will donate more than enough resources to the Saphirelake Military Academy to ensure that the academy's safety can be upgraded. After all, there will be several Heavenly Chosen children and a ticking time bomb like Michael," The matriarch stated before pointing out something else. "I believe the Berserkers and Warlock Centaurs will be willing to establish a trading route to Kelta and the Saphirelake Military Academy with Michael attending the academy. How about asking them to join the military academy as well? An academy that allows the races of the Tritan Alliance to grow stronger altogether sounds great, don't you think so?"

Alice's eyes narrowed as she stared at the Seraph family's matriarch for a while, not a single sound escaping her lips.

Had it been the matriarch's plan all along to transfer Maria to another academy, the Saphirelake Military Academy, to be precise? If that was the case, she played her cards perfectly.

Giuliana Seraph made others point out the dangers of the other academies and universities, following the fact that the Saphirelake Military Academy didn't have a single traitor in their rows. She made sure to point out that Michael's powers were not intriguing to the Seraph family and that she was solely focused on Maria's Mark of Fate, thereby gaining more trust from Michael.

Michael did not trust the Seraph family wholeheartedly but he couldn't deny that he didn't understand her intentions. From acting like a cold witch to testing his personality to asking him to transfer academies, Giuliana Seraph didn't even pressure him into doing anything even though she was certainly capable of doing so. She merely presented the facts in such a way that it would lead to the outcome she wished.

"Maria is nice. I don't see a problem being around her as long as our courses overlap. If our courses are not similar, it might be a little bit problematic since I will be busy in the Origin Expanse, but that shouldn't be much of an issue," Michael responded after a while. Alice was still suspicious of Giuliana Seraph's actions, but Michael did not care much.

It would be quite helpful if the Mark of Fate grew stronger. After all, the Shard of Archangel's Grace inside him was useful. He could use Maria's Soultrait as long as he accumulated enough power by staying near her. There was no reason to reject the offer.

"What do you say, Miss Zenovia? Do you think it will cause problems if my little sweetheart transfers to the Saphirelahe Military Academy?" Giuliana Seraph asked Alice, who could only answer quietly.

"I think it should be fine…"

Meanwhile, Kaleb felt like screaming at the top of his lungs, but no words escaped his lips. The scream echoed through his mind.

'Nooooooo!! The enemy infiltrated our home grounds!! MAYDAY!!!!"