[an error occurred while processing this directive] The E-Scale or Level of Esper ability was a common place item being used by the Espers for recruiting purposes. Rune had been implementing the scale over the past year. Lutz is an E-20, which is considered as high as you can go. Those who can only use common techs are considered E1-E3. For example: Rika (Defense and Healing Techs only) E2, Chaz E5 (Megid), Gryz VERY limited techs, but he does have one, E1. Kyra E19, this high ability is what gives her the rank of TemLe.

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Chapter 1

Chaz looked into the nursery at his child. He sighed with contentment. There had been some complications with the delivery. The doctors said that it would be impossible for them to have another child. Rika and the baby had pulled threw without any serious problems, but next time they may not be so lucky. Hahn walked up to Chaz and he put his arm on his shoulder. Chaz practically jumped out of his skin.

"Hey, sorry about that," said Hahn.

"Yeah, that's OK. But, next time could you make some noise before you sneak up on someone like that?" said Chaz.

"This coming from the famed 'Fastest Rayblade of the Desert'." said Hahn with a smirk. Chaz flinched upon hearing the title which local people had given' him. Now Chaz knew why Alys hated being called the 'Alys the Eight-Stroke Warrior'. Chaz glared at Hahn.

"I should use an Explode aimed at your head," said Chaz.

"Oh, yeah? And maybe I should should just NaZan you to the basement." said Hahn. Hahn put his hand on Chaz's shoulders, "I know. I'm sorry for upsetting you. But, the Guild needs you to keep your head on straight."

"No it doesn't," said Chaz bluntly.

"Chaz?"

"Well, it's become quiet lately. There's been no major crimes committed, there's been no reports of underground movement. Nothing."

"And this worries you?"

"A great deal," said Chaz, this response caught Hahn by surprise, "You see normally there are a lot of crimes. Some big, some small, but they do happen. When everything gets very quiet, like it has been, that usually means that something big is about to happen." Chaz turned and and saw the skeptical look that his friend was giving him.

"Chaz, I realize that this whole bit with Rika is causing you to...."

"No Hahn," said Chaz suddenly, "Alys called it 'The Calm before the Storm.' It has happened three times recently. It happened twelve years ago during the Bio-Monster Scare, it happened ten years ago before the appearance of Zio, and it happened last year, before the appearance of Lassic."

"And it's happening now," said Hahn.

"Yes. It's the same pattern. I fear that the survivors of Lassic's fleet may try something. I don't know what, but my instinct is telling me that such is the case. It's also possible that someone else may have taken over where Lassic left off," said Chaz.

Hahn nodded solemnly at Chaz's words. He did make a lot of sense. A doctor walked up to them.

"Mr. Ashley?"

"Yes?"

"Your wife is ready to see you now."

"How is she?"

"Both she and your daughter are in perfect health."

"Thank you, doctor."

Both Chaz and Hahn walked into Rika's Room.

"Not a word of this to Rika, Hahn. I don't want to upset her, when it could very well just be my nerves," said Chaz to Hahn on the way to Rika's Hospital Room. Hahn merely nodded.

Rika looked up as the two walked in and she greeted them with a warm smile. They smiled back at her. Chaz walked over to her, he took her hand, and kissed her on her forehead.

"How are you feeling?" asked Chaz.

"Much better now. Hahn, Thanks for coming. How's your wife?"

"Good. She sends her love, she wanted to be here, but her classes come first."

Rika nodded, "Of course. Chaz, how's...."

"The doctor says that she's a perfect little girl, just like my wife," said Chaz and with that he gave her a kiss on the cheek.

"Hey, you two. The doctor ALSO said that Rika needs her rest," said Hahn with a bit of a smirk on his face.

"Cute."

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Rune stood at the door for about an hour. It wasn't too late, but it was late enough. He felt so awkward, but then just as he was about to knock on the door of Kyra's Room.

"Reverent Lutz?"

Rune jumped out of his skin, and he nearly created a little mess all over the floor of the Esper Mansion. He had always considered himself a lady's man. And considering his looks, most women would agree with him, but there was something about Kyra that was different.

{Listen to yourself Rune. Just get your report from her.} True, he could of sent someone else to fetch it, and it would have made this whole thing a little less awkward, but ....

"If you're looking for the TemLe, oh Reverent One, I saw her in the study."

"Oh, thank you. That saved me the trouble of standing out here waiting for her to open the door."

The Esper bowed politely and as he walked away he mumbled under his breath, "Yeah, right."

Rune walked towards the study, he walked in and found that Kyra had her nose in a book. Rune walked right up to her, she didn't move. He turned around and started to leave very quickly.

"Did you want anything, Rune?"

Butterflies appeared in his stomach. {Come on, Rune. Just ask her for the stupid report.} "Ah....Report," he said suddenly.

Kyra blinked and stood up, "Two of the Musk Cats seem to have Esper abilities."

"Oh?" said Rune with interest.

"Yes, an E10 and an E8," reported Kyra.

"Interesting."

"There could have been others, but we only checked the ones who were willing to train at the mansion."

Rune nodded. Kyra started to go back to her book. {Come on Rune, ask her. You've faced the Profound Darkness for crying out loud! How hard can this be.}

Kyra looked up at Rune and smiled at him. "Is there anything else that you wanted, Rune?"

{Then again, the Profound Darkness was a ugly, evil, Black Energy spewing menace to all of the life on Algo. Kyra on the other hand...}

Tom turned the corner. He had already risen threw the Esper Ranks quite quickly. But, with a skill level of an E18, it was no wonder. Some of the Espers even thought that he had more potential then the Lutz. He was also well sought after by many of the women Espers of the Mansion. But, that was another story entirely.

Rune turned when the young talented Esper came into the room he quickly went over to him and led him out of the study.

"Ah, Tom. I was just looking for you...."

Kyra just watched them leave, while Tom merely shrugged his shoulders.

"Rune, you are one strange person," said Kyra as she went back to her book.

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A man knocked on the door to Rika's Room.

"Yes?" asked Chaz.

"A have a telegram for A Chucky AshTray."

"I'm sorry," said Hahn, "but you have the wrong...."

"Chucky Ashtray," repeated Chaz, whose face was turning a little red, "I... ah...I mean, that's for me."

Hahn and Rika turned and looked at Chaz with a bewildered expression.

"I'll explain later," said Chaz taking the telegram.

"I can hardly wait," said Hahn with a VERY large grin on his face.

"Knock it off, Hahn," said Chaz whose face was a very bright red at this point. But, once he read the telegram, his face turned from a bright red, to a pale white.

"Chaz?" asked Rika with concern, "What is it?"

Chaz sat down in a nearby chair. His jaw practically hit the floor.

"I thought she was dead," mumbled Chaz, "The fire."

"Chaz?" asked Hahn with growing concern.

"My...my sister," said Chaz.

"Sister?!" asked Rika and Hahn at the same time, who were just as confused as ever.

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