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129 Hospitality

    Sweet Love Club.

    Zed along with Jessica and Loren left the club through the back door. They were now out on an empty street free from the confines of the crowd.

    There was no longer any chaos or the noise from the club.

    "Finally some relief," Loren relieved the breath of fresh air.

    She has enjoyed the ambient environment in the club along with the drinks but the last five minutes were nerve wrecking with the jostle of the crowd.

    "I'm sorry," Zed looked at Jessica and Loren before continuing, "This is my fault."

    "Why would you think so?" Jessica disagreed with his view, "You made us have a great time."

    "Yes," Loren agreed with Jessica. She has enjoyed the dance and the care he provided to them.

    "Haah~" Zed gave a deep sigh and turned around.

    How could he tell them that what happened earlier was a scheme run by the bartender?

    The bartender felt it was a good opportunity to get in good graces of Zed by manipulating the crowd.

    After all, it was natural for the bartender to assume Zed would love to spend time alone with Jessica and Loren.

    Zed could pretty much understand the motives of the bartender so he couldn't really fault him either.

    Buttering the employer was nothing new for employees and rather something natural to advance the careers.

    What the bartender didn't know was that Zed didn't really appreciate the scheme. If he truly wanted to have Jessica and Loren, he could have them by far better methods.

    But he didn't since he has no wish to take advantage of them.

    He has his own bottom lines especially when his current form was concerned. While both Zed and Kiba have the same consciousness, the roles he has decided for them were different.

    He has fixed goals for his Kiba form and the same was true for Zed form. He didn't wish to change them.

    Zed form existed to enjoy the life his parents failed to provide. During his youth, he envied children with stable background who had food, clothes, shelter, and fun.

    Just as angry he was on his parents for discarding him, he felt more anger to be denied of the basic pleasures of life.

    This was why after he gained his powers, he fulfilled his dreams of having a home filled with everything he ever wanted.

    A home so big that it could shelter hundreds if he felt like so.

    Even his admission to the academy was to remove anger and frustration on his parents. Of course, the wisdom shared by Veronica helped him see past his hate, and he decided to quit the academy.

    It was a different matter that he met Felicity on the same day and the meeting changed everything.

    Zed might be the dormant side of his personality but it was as important as Kiba. Their conduct and behavior were different.

    "It is getting late," Jessica's words brought Zed back from his thoughts.

    "Yeah, my mom would kill me if I stay out late," Loren added glancing at her watch.

    "Let's get Olly and then return," Zed entered to the club to bring Olly.

    When Zed returned to the counter he saw Olly drinking whiskey.

    "Don't drink so much," Zed took away the glass of whiskey from Olly's hands and placed it back.

    Olly turned around and looked at Zed with multiple emotions.

    "Just how can you be so good at fooling others?" Olly asked.

    Olly's entire opinion about Zed has changed after seeing the chief bartender giving the crowd money. He believed Zed was a womanizer with deep schemes.

    "What are you talking about?" Zed was confused.

    Just when has his current form fooled others?

    "Still pretending to be the noble guy," Olly mused inside as he left his chair and moved towards the exit.

    -------

    10 PM.

    Athol's house was located in a residential area on the outskirts of the central district. He put his eyes under the retina scanner and a moment later, the door opened up.

    A domestic droid welcomed Athol inside his house by taking away his office bag and offering him a glass of water.

    "That bastard thinks he is some hotshot in the city," Athol thought as he removed his shoes.

    The words spoken by Zed were still fresh in his mind and this made him frustrated to no end.

    Athol had been living alone for last two years ever since his divorce. His ex-wife got the custody of their two children so the house was empty for the most times.

    "That kid even dared me to frame him," Athol gritted his teeth as he recalled how his ass was set on fire by Zed.

    Sure he might have attacked the kid first but how dare the kid retaliate?  He was a police captain and he commanded respect!

    Athol gulped down the entire glass of water to calm himself and moved to the sink at the end of the living room to wash his face.

    ~Splash~

    Athol felt relief after splashing water on his face. The droid offered him a towel to wipe the face.

    "I should order something to eat," Athol thought as he moved towards the dining room.

    ~crunch~

    Athol stopped suddenly. He felt he heard a sound of something crunching so he listened more carefully.

    "It is from the dining room," Athol took out his laser gun as he walked forward. A minute later he arrived at the open dining room.

    "What the **?" Athol muttered in disbelief.

    Some distance away from him, a man clad in a white shirt and black pant was sitting on the host chair on the dining table.

    A circular box was lying open on the table with a slice of pizza on the man's hand. From what Athol could tell, it was mushroom and pepperoni pie pizza.

    The pizza was topped with mozzarella, pepperoni, mushrooms, and sauce among other things. The fragrance of the pizza could make even a stuffed man hungry.

    The man has his eyes closed as he slowly consumed the pizza. His face showed how much he loved the pizza as he savored each bite from the single slice.

    "Zed?" Athol was shocked, to say the least.

    He was thinking about this annoying bastard from last few hours after the interview and didn't expect to see him again in such a manner.

    How did this kid enter the house without activating the motion sensors and other security checks?

    No!

    Why was this kid eating a pizza in his house?

    "Pizza is life," Zed faintly muttered but in the silent room, his voice was loud enough for Athol to hear.

    "What are you doing here?" Athol asked trying to make sense of things.

    "Ah!" Zed opened his eyes in surprise, "You are finally here?"

    "I'm finally here?!" Athol felt his blood boiling by the words, "It is my home so obviously I would be here!"

    "I mean you were late," Zed took out another slice of pizza from the box, "Anyways, have a slice."

    Zed motioned his hand containing the slice towards Athol as if Athol was a dog and the slice of pizza was a bone.

    Athol looked at Zed's actions with complete hate.

    "If you don't like pizza then tell me," Zed started munching on the pizza slice, "Your loss."

    Athol moved forward with his gun ready. He was sure there was something completely wrong with how Zed was able to get in and have a pizza fully relaxed.

    Athol looked around but didn't find anyone else in the home.

    "He is really alone," Athol couldn't believe it. He was sure the kid didn't have the ability to barge in without any help.

    "It is good anyways," Athol contemplated with a smirk, "I can kill him and no one could blame me for killing an intruder."

    Athol was confident in his ability to kill Zed. After the interview, he has checked Zed's profile and knew the extent of Zed's abilities.

    While he was surprised that a kid can use a domain, he wasn't afraid. Athol has complete confidence in his abilities and experience along with the weapon given to him as a cop.

    There was no way the kid could harm him! He fully believed in his own abilities!

    Athol was in the middle of contemplation when he noticed the movement of the domestic droid.

    "Impossible," Athol looked with disbelief.

    The droid has taken out a goblet glass and filled it with coke. The droid then placed the glass in front of Zed.

    "Thanks," Zed expressed his gratitude to the droid in middle of eating. He took a sip of the coke followed by a bite from a slice of pizza.

    "How can the droid work for him?!" Athol knew how secure the droid was from external hacking but yet the droid was behaving like Zed was its master.

    Five minutes later~

    "Thanks for the hospitality," Zed looked in appreciation at the owner of the house.

    "Son of a bitch," Athol was so shocked by the actions of the droid that he was out of his senses for minutes.

    "I'm not lying," Zed shook off his head, "You paid for the pizza so obviously I have to express my gratitude"

    "I paid?!" Athol took out his cell phone from the pocket. He opened his bank app and saw the charges of pizza in the statement.

    How?!

    This kid managed to hack my account?!

    "Why are you here?" Athol secretly typed an emergency help code on the cell phone while looking at Zed.

    He was sure there were more helpers for this kid outside even if they were not in the house. It was impossible for the kid to hack his account and droid by himself!

    So just as a sign of caution, he dialed for help. It was better to be safe than sorry!

    "You are wasting your efforts," Zed left the chair with the glass of coke in his hand, "Besides I'm alone so no need to make this complicated."

    "What?" Athol glanced back at the cell phone screen and noticed there was no signal, "What have you done?"

    "You should already have an idea on what I have done," Zed continued after taking a sip, "And you should know why as well."

    Athol suddenly felt a chill down his spine. He felt like he was sealed in an ice hole as he recalled the words Zed has spoke after he called him a bastard for the second time.

    Athol's expression turned ugly at his own behavior. How could he dread a kid so much just because of few words?

    "Kid, take this!" Without any warning, Athol fired from his gun. The gun was made to tackle mutant opponents and has the power to kill even strong physical-type mutants.

    A red light, in the shape of a bullet, manifested from the muzzle of the gun. The next moment, the laser bullet struck towards Zed's chest.

    Athol's eyes were filled with joy as he saw the bullet penetrating the chest. The glass of coke flew out from Zed's hand, and it shattered on the floor with coke spilling all around.

    "You wanted to kill me for calling you a bastard and trying to frame you?" Athol smiled as he saw droplets of blood flowing outside, "Boy, you are too naive."

    He felt delighted how the kid didn't even get to time react after he used the gun. This was far easier then he thought, and he silently praised himself for his swift actions.

    He was able to kill his enemy and he didn't even need to fear retaliation from his seniors! Everything was perfect!

    What a joy it was to get rid of this annoying kid! The night couldn't get better than this!

    "Never underestimate others," Athol's smile turned to smirk as he turned around to get a drink for himself.

    "That's good advice."

    Athol's smirked turned rigid as he heard a new voice from behind. He glanced back and his eyes turned wide.

    All of the color from Athol's face faded to white, and his jaw dropped open in complete disbelief.

    He took a step backward and fell on the floor horrified by the scene in front of him.

    There was still a man in front of him clad in a white shirt. The shirt was still stained with blood at the chest area.

    Everything was just like a few moments ago except for a single change!

    A change which made him dread to no bounds!

    The man in front of him was not Zed!

    "H-how?" Athol tried to make sense of things with no result.

    He knew the new man in front of him and this only further terrified him.

    Kiba!

    One of the strongest known mutants in the city!

    How did he replace Zed?!

    "But the one who needs to follow that advice is not me," Kiba put a hand on his shirt and the traces of blood disappeared, "Now allow me to pay you for the hospitality."
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