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39 Morning At Home

    Inside a luxurious bedroom of Dream Rise House, Zed was lying asleep. The curtains of the room automatically opened followed by the window. The sunlight fell on Zed's face but he continued to be in sleep.

    [[Sir, it is time for you to wake up]] Claudia's voice sounded inside the room.

    "Claudia, five more minutes," Zed mumbled.

    [[Sir, you can spend your entire time sleeping when you are an old man. But now you are a young man with no time to waste.  Unless you want to miss the golden opportunities the life has offered you]] Claudia said.

    "...You read too much of those inspiration books," Zed helplessly stood up from his bed.

    Being an advanced artificial intelligence, Claudia was installed throughout the villa and the underground laboratories to manage every activity. In fact, she was even installed on  Zed's cell phone, smartwatch and the vehicles owned by him.

    Giving his secret of multiple identities, he couldn't trust a human to run his house or manage his daily affairs. This is why he spent a lot of resources and time to create Claudia on his own. He allowed her to have a free thought process which made her evolve with every passing day.

    After freshening up, Zed arrived in front of the wardrobe room.

    The wardrobe consisted of hundreds of dresses with each dress tailored made with special materials in order to be compatible with both Kiba's and Zed's abilities. There was a slight difference between the heights of Kiba and Zed so the dresses were specifically designed to be flexible enough to suit both forms.

    Zed wore a white blazer over a light blue long sleeved dress shirt with a matching trouser.

    [[I have created five bracelets based on the design you gave.]]

    A drawer opened up containing five identical silver bracelets. It is almost impossible to notice that there are faint signs of electric circuits on the bracelets.

    [[One of them is for you.]]

    "I designed them for Felicity. She needs protection and not me."

    [[Of course, they are for her protection. But that doesn't mean Zed doesn't require protection.]]

    "I am Kiba as well..."

    [[It goes without saying that Kiba doesn't need any protection. The same doesn't apply for Zed though. The bracelet is a worst-case scenario preparation for situations when Zed can't rely on Kiba.]] Claudia reasoned.

    "I guess you are right," Zed grudgingly took one of the bracelets and wore on his right hand.

    [[I am always right, sir.]]

    Zed ignored her words and moved towards the dining room where a humanoid droid was waiting for him. The droid offered him a cup of coffee.

    [[The breakfast is ready as well]] Claudia said.

    "Thanks but I am getting late so I will have my breakfast at academy canteen," Zed said.

    [[As you wish, sir]]

    "Any progress on finding the identity of my 'caretaker'?" Zed suddenly asked in a serious voice as he sipped in the coffee.

    [[No. I have checked every database within the city and a dozen other cities. But there exists no trace of his identity. It is as if he was a ghost before he arrived here.]]

    "Every time it is same," Zed muttered.

    [[If he was alive we could have found...]]

    "I made my choice back then so I can't revert it back nor do I want to," Zed said in a firm voice.

    -------

    *

    Ten years ago in a ruined apartment:

    A middle-aged man was sleeping on a bed. His clothes were torn with his body reeking smell of alcohol and sweat.

    The door was silently opened by a kid. There were barely any clothes on the kid which made it possible to see the various wounds on his body. His black hairs were dirty and so was his face.

    The only striking feature of this kid was his eyes which were as blue as the sky. He tiptoed toward the middle-aged man.

    The kid made sure the old man was sleeping before removing out a knife from what clothes he has. His hands were trembling and there was sweat on his face but in his eyes there was hesitation. The kid used all the strength he could muster to strike knife at the throat of the middle-aged man.

    The man screamed in pain and opened his eyes. He wasn't dead for the aim of the kid wasn't precise enough but the wound was fatal nevertheless.

    The man covered his neck with one hand while the other hand slapped away the kid. The kid fell a few distances away along with the knife stained with blood.

    "Zed, you ungrateful bastard! I took care of you but this is how...cough," the man stopped in between as he coughed up blood.

    "You take away what I earn and spent it on your alcohol. When I don't earn enough from begging, you won't allow me to eat for days. Every day you will beat me for your current state...You call this caring?" Zed regained his balance and picked the knife before continuing, "If what you did is caring then allow me to express my gratitude by sending you to hell!"

    He leaped towards the caretaker with the knife once again aimed at his throat.

    " I wouldn't have lost my powers if not for protecting you! I saved your life from them...you ungrateful bastard!" The caretaker landed a kick on Zed's face. Zed's face was filled with blood but there were no signs of fear on his face.

    "I hate it when you call me a bastard," Zed pierced the knife on the retracing leg of caretaker.

    The caretaker fell down on the floor with a thump.

    "Your life would become hell in the slum if I am not there to help you. You haven't even awakened your abilities..." The caretaker tried to reason now that he has lost what little strength he had due to his injuries on the neck and leg.

    "If I wait for my abilities to awaken then I am sure you will never give me an opportunity to strike you like today.  As for my life becoming hell...it is already hell," Zed pierced the knife in the heart of caretaker.

    "You...are cold-hearted like your mother. Everyone in your family is the same," The caretaker died after uttering his final words.

    Zed fell down on the floor exhausted. A moment later,  he vomited on the floor.  It was his first killing and just the thought of his actions made his body tremble...

    *

    ----------

    In the present,  Zed remembered his first killing with an amused expression.  He has killed many people without batting an eye but the first killing gave him a sleepless night.

    At that time, he hasn't even awakened the mutant powers he was born with. Now though he has gained powers which the world could never imagine.

    "How time changes," Zed mused.

    He wanted to know the identity of his caretaker not just because he wanted to find out about his own parents. The main reason was to find those who tried to murder him after he was born.

    His caretaker has mentioned dozens of times about how he lost his powers trying to protect him. The caretaker has also claimed how Zed's mother promised him a lot of money and resources for protecting Zed but in the end, she went back on her words.

    Instead in the process, the caretaker lost his powers.

    Zed didn't know the entire details of his birth but he knew someone has tried to kill him moments after he was born.

    From the attitude the caretaker showed and the words he spoke in his drunken state, Zed was sure the caretaker was a powerful mutant before he lost his powers.

    For someone like him to work for Zed's mother can only mean that she was a very powerful and influential figure. The people who tried to kill him should be equally powerful as well.

    "Do anything it takes to find the identity of the caretaker so that I can track my origin. I have a score to settle," Zed said.

    [[Sir, you should move on with life. Why focus on the past when you have the present?]]

    "Claudia, I don't really care about my origin or my parents. I just want to kill those who tried to kill me after I was born," Zed has a ferocious smile on his face as he said this.

    It was his rule to never forgive anyone who tried to harm him no matter what. This is why he didn't spare Lisa even after she agreed to become his slave.

    So how can he forgive anyone who has tried to kill him?  Sure, he didn't have any memories of his birth and the attempted murder but that doesn't change the fact someone tried to kill him.

    [[I will increase my search range.]]

    "Good. I will upgrade your hardware later on which should help," Zed said with a sigh.

    Revenge was one of his objectives in life but it was nowhere as important as his dreams. He would rarely ask Claudia about the progress she made in her search.

    He wasn't the type to spend his entire time on things like revenge because life has given him far more important things to care about.

    Claudia knew about this, and hence brought a topic her master truly cared about: beauties.

    [[I have added the contact details of Meghan Adley from the card she gave you. Would you like to call her?]]

    A virtual screen appeared in front of Zed showing the pictures of Meghan in a bikini.

    Zed no longer thought about revenge but focused his attention on the pictures of Meghan.

    "Not today."

    [[Are you sure? She is very hot according to the comments on the internet.]]

    "Haha, I will contact her two days later."

    [[Understood.]]

    "Book a room in advance though."

    [[Judging by her pictures you will be spending a lot of time with her. So should I reserve the room for a week?]]

    "That would be great," Zed said with a smile.  He was confident Meghan wouldn't disappoint him given the attitude she showed yesterday.

    "Damn...I almost forgot!" Zed said after remembering the events of the party.

    [[Yes?]]

    "Claudia, add two tasks to my schedule before I forget them."

    [[What are the two tasks, sir?]]

    "The first task is my date with Carole. It is on 14th December at Close Horizon."

    [[I doubt you will forget the date even if I don't record it.]]

    "Well, it took me a lot of efforts to convince her so I don't want to take any risks."

    [[I have added it to the schedule. What is the other task?]] Claudia enquired.

    "I am invited to judge Miss Delta pageant. The dates are not out yet so watch out for them," Zed answered.

    [[Understood, sir. If I may say, I certainly don't understand why you are invited to judge.]]

    "Are you doubting the capabilities of your master? I have a lot of experience in judging beauties," Zed said with a confident smile.

    [[Sir, I can never doubt you, but I think you might be having a misconception on the meaning of judging a pageant.]]

    "Misconception?"

    [[Yes, sir. A judge has to evaluate the contestants based on their style, conduct, personality, etc.]]

    "...I certainly know that."

    [[You know, sir? Please accept my sincere apologies. I thought your idea of judging was limited to judging the beauties without their clothes.]]

    "......"

    [[I further thought you will be having a misconception of judging the contestants based on their performance in bed.]]

    "..........."
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