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135 Life & Waterfall

    Morning.

    Dream Rise House.

    Zed was sitting alone in the living room around a black table. The end of the room was open and showed the captivating waterfall in its full glory.

    "Shimmering and falling, breaking into a thousand shards of spray. Crashing water scares and attracts soul."

    The famous words of Mikhail Lermontov truly defined the impressive power and beauty of nature.

    Zed enjoyed the spectacular feeling of fresh falling mist on the face. It helped him forget the horrifying act he carried out yesterday.

    Two droids silently entered the room carrying trays filled with breakfast.

    Orange and pomegranate overnight oats, orange-spice challah buns, cranberry streusel coffee cake, caramelized onion casserole, herbed egg-potato bake, and olives along with fruits and tea.

    The droids placed the dishes and drinks on the table and left Zed alone. He continued to gaze at the waterfall while trying to clear his thoughts.

    "I can't change what I did," Zed's heart was filled with conviction, "Only thing I could ensure is that I don't repeat my actions."

    He couldn't change the past so he could only move forward. There was no other choice for him, and he knew it.

    He turned around with his eyes now on the breakfast. There was no more sadness and gloominess in his eyes.

    "Claudia," Zed took a bite from an apple, "Please make arrangements---"

    He suddenly stopped and turned around as he noticed a droid entering the room. The droid was carrying a small black box.

    "You truly know me far too well," Zed mused with a smile. She could predict his thoughts much before he formed them.

    The droid opened the box to reveal a black ring carved with almost undetectable red inscriptions similar to electronic circuits.

    [[The ring would turn to white when you are in your Kiba form.]]

    Zed didn't say anything and placed it on a finger of his right hand.

    [[The ring is more powerful than the bracelet but there is a very big flaw compared to before.]]

    Zed nodded his head for he knew what was the flaw. The bracelet could jolt his mind because he was caught off guard.

    But now he knew about the true function of both the bracelet and the ring. This also meant that the next time he lost sanity, the first task he would try to do was to destroy the bracelet and ring.

    "Make more arrangements," Zed resumed the breakfast, "Just don't tell me what those arrangements are."

    [[Understood.]]

    Only surprise factor could help him so he gave Claudia the complete freedom.

    ~beep~

    [[You have visitors.]]

    A white screen appeared above the table showing the real-time footage from the entrance of the villa.

    "Emily?" Zed muttered in surprise. He hasn't seen her after the one night stand a few days ago.

    Emily was standing outside along with three cops and the parents of four fools. Emily placed a crystal card on a virtual scanner to show the authority she carried.

    "Let them in," Zed said slightly annoyed.

    A few minutes later~

    Emily and others entered the living room and walked to the black table.

    "I assume you are not here for breakfast," Zed said as he munched on a coffee cake.

    "I'm Emily," Emily showed her identity card, "A special investigator from the government."

    "I know," Zed placed the cake back on the table.

    "You know?" Emily asked surprised. She had only shown the clearance she had at the entrance and not her name or position.

    "Your name and picture were on the internet," Zed wiped his hand with a tissue, "After all, as a commoner, I have to know about the people conducting a freak experiment on us."

    "Ah!" Emily flinched in realization.

    She obviously knew the identity of the investigators was revealed by the masked terrorist. She was surprised earlier since Zed showed an expression as if he knew her well.

    "We are not conducting any experiment," One of the four fools' parent said, "So stop the nonsense."

    "I doubt you would confess if you were conducting an experiment," Zed continued with a faint smile, "Besides the conduct of you four has shown me that you are capable of much worse."

    "You son---"

    "Silence," Emily waved her hand towards the four investigators, "Don't talk when you're not asked to."

    The four could only silently nod their heads no matter how bitter they were inside.

    "Miss Emily, forgive my lack of manners," Zed pointed towards a chair opposite his, "Please have a seat."

    "Thank you," Emily took a seat.

    "Tea or coffee?" Zed asked politely.

    "Nothing," Emily looked at him in the eyes, "We are here for an investigation."

    "Oh," Zed didn't look surprised, "Investigation on the complaint of those four idiots?"

    "No," Emily shook off her head, "It is on the death of Captain Athol."

    In normal times, she wouldn't be conducting an investigation on the death of a local police officer given it wasn't related to the task given by the government.

    But thanks to the current environment in the city, and the strange fire involved, she was forced to take the case.

    The media showed the incident as a gas explosion but the cops knew better with the CCTV footage from the neighborhood.

    How can the fire from a gas explosion intentionally leave the houses and move towards humans outside on streets?

    If not for the deaths of people outside,  even the police would have believed Athol died in a gas explosion.

    The incident occurred ten hours ago and so far, the cops were able to force the media to not reveal the names of victims.

    She believed now would be the best time to get his reaction before the victims' identity is revealed by media.

    Zed's calm expression rapidly turned into shock as he heard Emily's words.

    "H-he is dead?" Zed asked in a low voice.

    "Yes," Emily answered in a serious voice.

    She was sure his reaction was real. If not, then she believed he was a great actor deserving an award for such a genuine performance.

    "What has that to do with me?" Zed's expression turned normal.

    "You murdered him!" One of the four fools' parents jumped in, "We have proof so there is no use pretending!"

    The other three nodded in agreement as well.

    Emily didn't say anything but continued to look at Zed. As an investigator, it was her role to use different tactics to carry out an inquiry.

    "Arrest me then," Zed said annoyed.

    Emily's eyes turned wide in surprise. This wasn't the normal response a suspected criminal or even an innocent would give.

    "What's wrong?" Zed glanced at the four who were struck on the spot.

    This didn't go by the script they were supposed to follow! He should have called himself innocent or ask for a lawyer!

    There is no way he should have asked them to arrest him!

    "I see," Zed had a look of understanding on his face seeing no response, "You four and this miss are trying to frame me after your last attempt failed."

    "No, we don't have such intentions," Emily was shocked by the allegations.

    They were supposed to allege him as a killer, but instead, he was leveling allegations on them.

    Is he truly a twenty-one-year-old kid?!

    "No need to pretend, Miss Emily," Zed shook off his head, "I know how pure-hearted you investigators are."

    Emily didn't reply but instead, glanced at the four idiots.  Before coming here, she had enquired the details so she knew their activities well.

    Now was the worst time to dwindle what little goodwill they had in the city by trying to frame someone.

    But yet they did the unforgivable and what was truly worse that they failed spectacularly.

    Emily felt like slapping them very hard but alas, she had to control now.

    "Please don't misunderstand," Emily cleared her thoughts and said, "Captain Athol died 6 hours after your meeting with him at the police station. So we are just carrying out a standard inquiry."

    "I don't care if he died," Zed said in a cold voice, "Heck, I'm even glad that he is dead."

    Everyone looked at him in disbelief. He was actually saying such things openly?!

    "I understand why you would feel so," Emily released a sigh before continuing, "But more people have died along with Athol."

    "And what does everything has to do with me?" Zed asked.

    Emily took out her cell phone and passed it to him. Zed saw video footage of a blue fire wreaking havoc on a street by killing people.

    "I see," Zed passed back the phone, "So all fire-related incidents in the city are caused by me?"

    "We don't mean that," Emily clarified further, "But the fire was definitely controlled by a mutant."

    "That fire was blue," Zed opened his right palm and a small red fireball materialized, "I'm not strong enough to use blue fire."

    He wasn't lying about this. Blue fire was different from the red fire he could use.

    Of course, the truth was limited to his Zed form. Kiba could pretty much manipulate all types of fire.

    Emily has checked Zed's history so she knew he was stating the truth in this regard.

    "The mutant who killed Athol and the others was more powerful than a twenty-something kid could be," Emily contemplated in her heart.

    She has seen from the CCTV footages how the fire amplified to kill the people after they used their abilities to defend themselves.

    She didn't think he was of that level but since they lacked any leads, they have to start somewhere. Zed was a possible suspect due to the standoff between him and Athol at the police station.

    "What about your parents?" Emily asked a minute later.

    In a few cases, the parents' ability pass to the children. From what Emily knew, the nine great families and many organizations have methods to ensure the children possessed the abilities of their parents.

    Of course, Emily was sure Zed didn't have such powerful background. She has read his report and knew he was a slum dweller who made a fortune thanks to lucky chances.

    But there were many cases where even without any interference, the children inherited the abilities of their parents. This was why she asked him about his parents.

    .

    "I don't know about their abilities," Zed answered in a plain tone, "They died when I was young."

    "I'm sorry," Emily lowered her head, "I meant no offense by bringing such a sensitive topic."

    "....." Zed didn't reply and instead pointed towards the door. .

    This was enough to make them understand his intentions.

    "We shall take our leave," Emily left the chair, "Thank you for your time."

    Zed didn't say anything and resumed his breakfast as they left the room.

    "Claudia," Zed completed the breakfast.

    [[Sir?]]

    "The tea has turned cold."

    [[Apologies, sir. Fresh tea would be ready in a minute.]]

    Zed left the chair and walked towards the end of the room. He smiled as the droplets of water fell on him from the waterfall.

    He rushed a hand in the waterfall to take a handful of water.

    "Life is just like a waterfall," Zed sipped in the water, "It begins to end somewhere."

    "Before my life ends," He closed his eyes as the mist enveloped him completely, "I have to live the life to the fullest."
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