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594 Dont Live To Impress Others! I/II

    As Zed thanked Ashlyn, everyone at the party became dumbstruck.

    He had accepted her invitation and would live with her?

    In the distance, Hansen and Stina frowned.

    Their adopted daughter had practically invited a stranger into their house.

    With the recent events, they had shifted to their other home, with far more enhanced security thanks to Dharma Chakra.

    Now, with her inviting this youngster, she was compromising their security. Sure, the kid might not be related to that man who attacked them, but with the plan being this close, it wasn't the time to compromise by having a guest.

    At the same time, the debutantes encircling Zed and Ashlyn stared at Ashlyn with hatred.

    How could this cursed witch entrap Zed with just a single statement?

    They eyed Zed and realized the reason.

    With him being new to the city, he must be unaware she was a Cursed One!

    Yes, that would explain why he got swindled by her beautiful outer shell.

    After all, even if they had met in the forest, there was no way Ashlyn would reveal what she was:

    A cursed existence! A failure of the era of evolution!

    The debutantes decided to expose her secret, but just then, one of the young suitors - Usman- broke through the crowd and stepped before Zed.

    "I challenge you!" Usman announced, startling everyone, especially Zed.

    Since the party acted as a debutante ball, the suitors could challenge others for a duel, in order to showcase their might and prove they were more deserving of the woman they fancied.

    Usman wasn't doing this for Ashlyn, but rather to steal the limelight so that the debutantes who stupidly ran away for Zed's affection would realize their mistakes and know who was worthy of their affections.

    The other suitors realized this, and they cursed him for acting fast. If only they had thought it first, they could have robbed the limelight.

    Zed looked at Usman.

    He has no interest in some stupid battles to impress women and win their hearts.

    For that, Kiba was there.

    If Kiba wanted, leaking his charm - that he always sealed - was enough to make the women drop their panties.

    Still, declining a request to challenge would be disrespectful, something that went against his persona as Zed.

    So, he slightly bowed before Usman while covering his right fist with the open left palm.

    "Please go easy on me," Zed requested as he accepted the challenge.

    Usman smirked.

    Seeing him so submissive, he couldn't help but feel the rumors were far too exaggerated, just like that was often the case.

    The old codgers nodded appreciatively at Usman. Not because of his stupid desire to win women, but rather for giving them an opportunity to see Zed in battle. This would help them in deciding if what they heard about him has any truth.

    ...

    A few minutes later.

    Across the party hall, there was a massive battle stage, with its ceiling being almost a thousand feet away from the floor. Except for the closed top, the stage resembled an arena.

    Zed silently stood at the center with a respectful expression. Hazy flames surged out of him, bathing him in a red hue.

    Usman leaped from the entrance and landed some fifty meters away from Zed.

    He was three years older than Zed, and if the sensors in his watch were working fine, Zed was at the initial stage of Level IV. But he was at the peak of Level IV!

    Just the difference in power level was enough for him to defeat Zed.

    Lifting his hand to the side, transparent green energy appeared on the palm, and in the blink of an eye, it stretched out, turning into a sword.

    Grabbing the sword like an expert swordsman, Usman pointed it at Zed and said, "My sword knows no mercy so admit defeat while you still can!"

    In the audience, as the young women saw Usman's cool pose and heard his domineering words, many of them cheered for him. For a moment, they forgot they had left him for Zed.

    The fellow suitors scoffed.

    Snorting coldly, a young suitor said, "What a show-off! He is purposely using a sword to make himself look like he's some knight!"

    "Bastard! He's impressing the women even now!"

    The suitors reeled from jealousy, and theyagain cursed him for his quick wits. Now, after defeating Zed, his reputation would skyrocket.

    After all, a simple win would leave behind no impression. But a cool, overpowering win would turn into a legend, spreading far.

    Even as they swore at him, Usman charged at Zed, for he showed no sign of admitting defeat. This was what he wanted, and now, once he started beating him, he wouldn't give him the chance to admit defeat. He would only stop after turning him into a bloody pulp.

    With his determination surging, his energy stirred out, making him look like a ferocious lion pouncing on a helpless prey.

    His sword chopped out diagonally.

    Flames amassed in front of Zed, turning into an ethereal shield. As the sword slashed, green energy erupted like a beam and heavily collided against the shield.

    An explosion ensued, and the shield split, splashing out flames. By now, Zed had retreated, and he lifted his hand to unleash an attack.

    Usman grinned. His speed suddenly accelerated, and he appeared right above Zed.

    "You are far too slow!" Usman roared as he slashed down.

    As the sharp sword arrived for Zed, flames erupted under his feet, and using its impact as propelling force, he jumped back.

    The sword slashed into the tiles he was standing barely a moment ago, sending their broken fragments into the air. Through the fragments, the sword followed, disintegrating them, and cleaved into Zed before he could land on the floor.

    "I already said you are too slow!" Usman reminded him icily.

    The audience gasped, and he grinned, knowing he had succeeded. Yet the next moment, his eyes constricted, and he realized the real reason the audience gasped.

    The sword slashed through "Zed" in front of him, splitting him into, but instead of blood and gore, there were only water vapors.

    "A virtual phantom created by condensing water vapors?! How!?"

    Just like water vapors distort the air, the slashed Zed did the same before fading away.

    Usman didn't wait to see this after the phantom started splitting.

    For Zed to create a phantom amid his strikes and moving away, it meant he was launching an attack from behind!

    At sound speed, Usman spun around. His eyes reflected a fist - engulfed in flames - approaching his face, emitting scalding heat.

    The target was his head, but now that he had turned, his face turned into the target.

    Terrified, he frantically pulled his face to the side, and the fist narrowly slipped past. Even though the fist missed, the heat dried his face, making it seem as if he was sunburned.

    Ignoring his skin that was ready to peel-off, Usman slashed down to chop the arm that was moving past.

    Lifting his right leg covered with flames, Zed kicked the knee to the side, smashing it into Usman's ribs.

    "Urgh!"

    Usman was knocked backward by dozens of meters.

    The spectators were stunned, especially the young women who were cheering Usman barely a minute ago.

    "Did you see what Zed did there?!"

    "His reflexes are lightning fast!"

    Even though Zed's punch had failed and his arm moved forward due to the battle inertia, he was still able to kick and turn the failed attack into a success! All the while, not suffering a single scratch or losing balance!

    Usman's eyes flashed with hatred.

    He was doing everything to impress the women and awe-inspire the men.

    Now, with just one little mistake of going easy on Zed to look cool, his face had turned ugly.

    He traced the dry patches of his skin and then ran a hand over his ribs.

    After what happened to his face, he had covered his body with protective energy, and this was why his ribs weren't burned or dried.

    Snapping his teeth, Usman raced towards Zed. This time he left behind afterimages, and as he ran in a zig-zag manner, it was impossible to know where exactly he was.

    Instead of doing anything to stop charging Usman, Zed jumped up. Fire erupted underneath his feet like pillars, instantly taking him hundreds of meters high in the air.

    "Childish trick!" Usman snorted in contempt.

    Does this bastard think jumping like a frog would save him!?

    He slashed his sword straight, and a thin green light flashed out. The light condensed into a vertical line, and it cut at Zed.

    As the line hurtled towards him with fierce winds, Zed pressed his hand down. Flames burst out in the form of an enormous python, its roar unleashing a rain of fire.

    "!" Usman was startled.

    The phyton opened its mouth and shot down, to devour the green line.

    "There's no way the python could devour my energy!"

    Usman was sure because the phyton wasn't real; it was just a manifestation of Zed's flame powers.
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