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18 Ivans Sudden Departure

 The 985 new employees were dismissed and assigned a booklet with everything they needed to know. They were allowed a week of free time to spend with their families before they would begin full time training in learning the galactic common language. The training was expected to take anywhere up to a year with Mazur's revised course, so the process was going to take time.

"Valeria, Iris, you two will also be taking part in this course," Ivan said to the young girl and young woman waiting for him off the stage.

"Yes, Mr. Ivan." "Okay."

"Iris, I also want you to relay a message to the higher up. In addition to attending the learning course, I want the scientists to study with Mazur, while the hunters need to learn to take part in a martial practice to become more adept at hand to hand combat, spear wielding, and knife tactics."

"Understood," Iris nodded briefly before writing it down onto a small notepad she carried around with her.

The three of them left the venue and returned to the hotel. Ivan collapsed on the couch wearily with his arms outspread. Valeria had began putting more meat on her body from constant meals, but she was still a weak, skinny girl. She curled up on a chair and quickly fell asleep with light breathing.

"Iris, have they arranged a place for you to stay?" Ivan asked as he closed his eyes and rested his head back on the couch, a barely distinguishable smirk visible on the corner his lips.

"They haven't told me anything... about that." Iris understood that this was because they were expecting her to stay in this presidential suite and ideally form an intimate relationship with Ivan.

"You know what they expect of you, but you want to be in control of yourself, don't you?" Ivan yawned nonchalantly as he picked up the sleeping Valeria under his arm and walked off to the bedrooms, leaving Iris behind in the living room. "Sleep on the couch, or sleep with me, do what you want. Mazur will most likely spend the night in the lab, he has a lot of work to do in a short amount of time, so his bedroom is also available."

There were three rooms in the presidential suite and they were exclusively for Ivan, Mazur and Valeria. She was expected to sleep with either Ivan or Mazur, but if she had to choose, she would pick Ivan as Mazur's appearance was off-putting in an intimate scenario.

Given the choice to control her own life though, she sat up half the night indecisively before she grabbed a spare blanket from the linen closet. She took off her outerwear, revealing her sensual figure in lingerie. She quickly wrapped herself up in the blanket before lying down on the sofa and going to sleep.

*****

Ivan woke up in the morning to find the other side of his bed empty and felt a little disappointed in his heart, but had already anticipated what she would do so it was within expectation. What he was surprised with, was the Valeria hadn't snuck into his room overnight and fallen asleep in the corner.

He left the room and found out the reason Valeria hadn't snuck into his room. She was still asleep in her bed in the exact same position he had dropped her down. He understood she was most likely extremely tired from yesterday and fell deep asleep last night.

Ivan admired Valeria's defenceless form before he woke her up with a few prods.

"Grud morning," Valeria slurred, still half asleep.

"Time to get up, I have to go hunting today so I won't be back until tonight. Stay in the hotel with Iris and wait for me to return. Mazur will be here later, stop running away from him."

Ivan had to wake up Valeria because if she got up to simply find Ivan gone, she would go on another desperate attempt to search for him.

He then found Iris asleep on the couch wrapped up in a blanket like a dumpling. He tugged one of her ears a few times, ignoring her drowsy protests before she finally woke up. Iris stood without minding the blanket and inadvertently exposed her near naked figure before Ivan, causing the latter to raise his brows in surprise.

"Larger than anticipated," Ivan commented without shame.

"E-Excuse me!" Iris stammered upon seeing Ivan check out her chest and figure. She hastily grabbed to blanket she was sleeping in and covered her figure as her face turned red in embarrassment, ironically the same color as her underwear.

"Hurry up and get dressed," Ivan paid no mind to the atmosphere and moved at his own pace. "I need to go hunting today, so I won't be able to attend any interviews. You also need to make food for Valeria, she will stay here with you today."

"Ah! H-Hang on a minute!" Iris desperately tried to delay Ivan as she still had several question, but the latter simply faded out of existence in front of her.

Of course, this was simply him diving into the fourth dimension, but Iris couldn't possibly know that. She stood there dumbly with her mouth ajar as she watched Ivan disappear.

"W-What was that!?" Iris went to grabbed Valeria in a panic, completely forgetting about the blanket she was covering herself with and Valeria's Kivsharr status.

Years of being forced to fight for her survival caused Valeria to respond instinctually to Iris' sudden offense. Valeria's eyes sharpened, and a small fist mercilessly hit Iris' jaw. She also planted a foot into the former celebrity's stomach and knocked her down to the ground in a heap before she jumped back and took cover behind the couch.

Iris coughed and wheezed for breath in pain on the floor, she not only had to the wind knocked out of her, but also felt like her jaw and perhaps several ribs had broken. The Vulpes race were more fragile than original humans but had more physical strength, meaning broken bones were a very common thing among conflict.

Iris however, had never had a single broken bone in her body before, so this experience was especially excruciating for her.

"Valeria... what was... that for?" Iris said between bated breaths, finally managing to breath a bit better.

"..." Valeria just maintained her silence as she watched Iris from behind the couch warily, ready to defend herself if that's what she needed to do.

"Let me make some food first," Iris mentioned in defeat after realizing the young girl is simply that wary of everyone else other than Ivan.

After breakfast, the phone Iris kept in a small pocket of her clothes rang its jovial ringtone.

"Mr. Morr," Iris nervously answered the phone while trying to maintain a steady breathing.

Valeria twitched her ears as she tried to hear what was being said on the phone, but could only hear Iris' voice and not the recipient's. Valeria was feeling guilty for hitting Iris just before, Ivan had told her that she can trust Iris, but her body reacted instinctively in the moment.

"Yes, Mr. Morr, all of todays appointments must me cancelled."

"No, Sir... there are no problems."

"I am, it won't be an issue."

"I don't know, he simply disappeared."

"No, he was standing directly in front of me when it happened. He just... grew transparent before completely vanishing."

"Yes, he said he would be returning later this evening. He mentioned he needed to get some food, I'm not sure on the exact details."

"Yes, that may be the case."

"I understand, Sir, I'll do my best."

Iris turned off the screen of her phone and sighed in displeasure. She had never had to jump through political hoops or follows anyone's whims before, so she was incredibly passive in this situation. She secretly wished Ivan would truly teach her how to read people sooner, even how to guide and manipulate them, because she truly hated this feeling of helplessness.

"Do you want something to eat?" Iris asked Valeria once she put her clothes on, slightly afraid she would attack her again.

"Yes... sorry," Valeria murmured before running back to her room to get changed into fresh clothes as well.

The entire presidential suite had been filled with amenities, including a large range of various clothes in each room. Both Ivan and Mazur had come to enjoy the Vulpes clothing. While some outfits were slightly too gaudy for their taste, the overlapping fabrics were comfortable to wear and extremely easy to move in, an evolutionary development of clothing factoring in the Vulpes race's high agility.

*****

Ivan sneakily moved around the ground of a landmass. This area was a rocky outcrop, with most of the four-dimensional creatures here being of the carnivorous type. Ivan had considered moving to a different area, but he also needed to kill stronger prey for their tough hides and deadly teeth.

At this moment, he was hiding behind a rock as a massive whale covered in long tentacles flew by, its feelers stretching out in all directions, capturing and eating any beast foolish enough to be touched by them.

Ivan also noted they seemed to sense movement, as those who tried to flee or moved quickly were rapidly targeted and consumed.

A tentacle stretched past the rock Ivan was hiding behind, searching for food. To didn't dare move a muscle, standing as stiff as the stone he was leaning against as he watched the strange feeler exploring.

Electric blue veins ran all the way through the feeler, a pulsating blue glow of energy passing through it periodically. Ivan knew it was capable of even more, he had seen these feelers release a terrifying current of energy that caused the space surrounding them to have bright blue sparks of electricity to dance about like fireflies.

The feeler soon rescinded as the whale-sized creature moved on to the next area. All the hiding beasts of prey quickly came out of hiding and resumed their activity of hunting anything weaker than they were.

Ivan had become much smarter since he first started hunting. He no longer chased down his targets in the open in order to avoid attracting the attention and being targeted by dangerous predators. He instead used his small body size to hide in shadows and small crevices, waiting for his prey to pass by before catching them unaware with a surprise attack. Even if he didn't kill them in one attack, killing an already wounded beast was much easier than fighting one head on.

Today, Ivan managed to kill several beasts similar in size to the eel which his eel tooth spear was made from. He grabbed the corpses of the three predators, and tying a fresh bundle of firewood, ascended back up toward the third dimension.

He stopped by the Poseidon on the way back to where the others were waiting in order to feed the Symbions, the four tortoises were lying in their cells like corpses, so bored they simple lacked all energy.

Ivan grabbed a portion of the local vegetation, but instead of putting it in their cells, he simply opened the energy shields and let them out.

"You four are free to move about in the ship, I will arrange for you to go outside in the surrounding area later, but for now stay inside. There is a large pile of leaves in the cargo hold. I won't be able to come back too often, so until I arrange for you to go outside, find food there. Don't touch anything else stored there."

The Symbions couldn't understand everything Ivan said, but they had been around him for a long time and were intelligent enough to roughly understand what he said.

He passed through the cargo hold on the way out and had a look at the large pile of four-dimensional pelts, scales, and bones which could be fashioned into some rudimentary clothing, armor and weapons.

"We should have at least hundred people by now, still nine hundred to go," Ivan murmured to himself. "For now, time to head back to the hotel."