178 The Determination of Insects

    (A/N: This chapter is two chapters merged into one!)

    The Garden, Dream Rise House.

    Kiba was sitting on the ground with his back resting on a pine tree. The wind gently passed through the plants and a soothing sound of rustling entered his ears.

    Delightful fragrance followed in the air along with the chipping of the birds and the tinkling of wind chimes.

    With a smile, Kiba continued his focus on a tablet screen in his hands. The screen projected the live experiments being conducted in the lab under his guidance.

    [Specimen C-18 and C-19 are now deceased]

    A message popped up on the screen along with the images of the dead revolutionaries. One of them has decomposed into a bloody paste while the other has exploded into blood and gore.

    Kiba's smile didn't waver and he swiped away the message. He observed the readings from the experiments and compared them with the ideal result.

    "We could improve the composition of the cure," Kiba opened a window on the screen, "The roots from the stardust mushroom should act as a better healing agent in the genes. The petals from the seven-colored golden rose could help in subsidizing the stress."

    Kiba added a list of seven flowers and animals which could help him in the formation of the drugs he needs.

    "I guess we will need to 'borrow' the materials," Kiba mused with a hand on his chin, "Hopefully the government facilities in the nearby cities would have them."

    [[I will start a search for them]] Claudia said before moving on to an important topic [[We still lack an alternative to neutralize the damage of nanites in the coding region.]]

    "I know," Kiba placed the tablet on the grass, "And that's the worst problem we have."

    [[Yes.]] Claudia obviously knew he has a method to neutralize the damage but that was out of options unless he has no choice.

    "Give me some coffee," Kiba looked at the sunlight passing through the leaves. In a city filled with skyscrapers, the beauty inside the garden relaxed him.

    A humanoid droid stepped towards him with a cup of coffee in his hands. The sweet aroma of the coffee waked him from his thoughts and he took the cup from the droid. He took a slow sip from the cup and savored the rich taste.

    [[Sir, Lady Eva wish to have a conversation with you now.]]

    "Oh?" Kiba lowered the cup in surprise.

    [[Should I establish a link]]

    "Yes," Kiba nodded before taking the tablet in his hand. The screen flashed and the video conference started.

    "You are sitting in a garden?" Eva asked in some surprise as she saw the background.

    "Yes...and don't say it was unexpected," Kiba knew the types of thoughts running across her mind.

    "I won't," Eva smiled in response, "I have better things to speak now."

    "Hmm?" Kiba looked in her eyes. One of the qualities he liked about her was that she wouldn't go in circles before arriving at the main topic.

    "I assume you are using your lab to find a cure for Felicity," Eva continued without waiting for his response, "And most likely thinking of a way to neutralize the effect of those nanites."

    "Yeap," Kiba was startled. Not because she guessed those things since they were rather obvious to her, but because her choice of words denoted she has an answer to his problems.

    "Just don't get your hopes too high before I complete," Eva has a serious expression on her face, "From what I can tell, a team of revolutionaries acquired the nanites from the core region of Desolate Blood Forest."

    "Oh!" Kiba listened to her words with interest...


    The Throne Room, Atlantis.

    Large stone pillars supported the hall and each of them was joined with polished braziers. The fire inside the braziers was strange for it resembled fire in appearance but didn't bear any other similarities. Instead of heat, the fire radiated a cooling sensation.

    Currently, Poseidon's eyes moved from one brazer to another. As he did so, he tapped fingers on the armrest of his throne.

    A red carpet stretched from the throne to the doors of the room. Below the dais, on the red carpet, many members from the different species of the sea race were in kneeling position.

    Anthea was standing on a step of the dais. She gave a quick glance to the kneeling subjects and her husband before fixing her eyes on a hovering crystal at the center of the hall.

    Lights projected out of the crystal to form a giant virtual screen. The screen was divided into two, the first half displayed the details of the recent happenings in the Delta City, while the other half has an image of a black-haired youth with blue pupils.

    The subject of the image was none other than Zed.

    "That kid is someone whom Holy Seer sees as a danger for our very existence," Anthea thought of the recent happenings, "Someone we can't afford to offend no matter what."

    Anthea made a motion with her fingers and the projection on the screen changed. The screen now displayed the background of Zed.

    "An academy student with no actual background to speak of," Anthea mumbled the details, "Textbook example of rags to riches story. Nothing extraordinary."

    She was sure nothing could be further from the truth. After all, when she saw the image of Zed the first time, she recalled him sharing facial features with someone whom she has met a long time ago.

    If she didn't know it better, she would have thought the report was fake.  The truth was that the report was compiled by the high ranking members of Atlantis in secret.

    They used their influence through government channels to access the information. Furthermore, they ensured that there would be no clues of their search left. While this took extra efforts and time, the officers thought it was utmost necessary given the warning Poseidon gave them months ago.

    Poseidon has wanted the government to offend this 'kid' and suffer casualties. Poseidon might be a part of the governing council but he would like nothing more than to see the human race suffer.

    In the end, the government was a human organization at the core even though it has a treaty with Atlantis. Someday, in the distant future, when the delicate balance of power breaks, there would be a war of epic proportions. The allies of today would become bitter enemies of the future.

    "It is just like Holy Seer warned," Poseidon made a swiping motion towards the crystal projection.


    The crystal shook and then turned into fragments of dust.

    "Never underestimate a person due to their weak outer appearance," Poseidon repeated the words spoken by Holy Seer, "She knew we wouldn't find anything even if we try so she warned us of the greater danger."

    The entire room turned silent with no one speaking a single word. They all tried to think why the Holy Seer would warn them of him.

    A few minutes later, a siren raised her head as if wishing to speak.

    "Ligeia, is there something you wish to ask?" Poseidon looked at her.

    "Yes, my king," Ligeia respectfully answered. Her voice was sweet and enchanting, carrying a charm which could make even the strongest hearts waver.

    "Go ahead," Poseidon gave her the permission.

    "Couldn't we request Holy Seer to gaze in the future to know more about this kid?" Ligeia offered her suggestion. She felt this should be an easy task for someone of Holy Seer's level.

    Alas, much to her horror, the words let to an unimaginable reaction from Poseidon. His expression turned unsightly and he clenched the armrests with a terrifying force.

    With a loud bang sound, the armrests broke into fragments of gold.

    Ligeia, Anthea, and others were shocked by the action. Before they could react, they felt suffocating pressure surging out of Poseidon.

    "You think I don't know something so obvious?" Poseidon gritted his teeth.

    From the last two months, he has hated himself for requesting Rhea to peek in the future and the consequences that followed.

    But now Ligeia was asking him to request Holy Seer once again. He didn't dare fathom the danger Rhea would face if she tried to gaze into the future now.

    "I didn't mean this," Ligeia quickly clarified but yet the pressure on her increased further.

    "Stop," Anthea's body blurred into a series of afterimages as she arrived in front of Ligeia. She waved her hand and out of nowhere, droplets of water appeared around Ligeia. The droplets turned into silver curtains of water, similar to a waterfall.

    The pressure surging out of Poseidon struck on the curtains like arrows. The curtains sunk and suppressed as more pressure manifested.

    Anthea, seeing her husband showing no signs of stopping, raised her hands up.


    The stone pillars shook as the inscriptions of the sea beasts on them turned life-like. In just a few moments, various fantasy beasts leaped out of the pillars.


    "You are my king and theirs," Anthea aimed a finger at Poseidon, "But I have sworn to protect them just like you have. Do you truly want me to remind you of your oath?"

    The beasts looked at Poseidon with a ferocious expression on their faces. The air behind them was filled with a sinister dark aura.

    Poseidon remained silent with his gaze on Ligeia and other members of sea race.

    "You have the authority to dictate and lead us in the way you think is best," Anthea continued in a grim tone, "But you have no right to murder people of our race unless they have done the unforgivable. This is the rule set by Holy Seer and no one has the right to break it. No one and that means even the king of Atlantis."

    Poseidon was the king but Rhea was the god. The masses might have enough guts to rebel against the king but never the god.

    In Atlantis, the rules formed by Rhea were like the verses from holy scripture. Almost everyone followed them by the heart including Anthea. This was the reason she showed no hesitation in facing her husband to save the life of an official.

    "No amount of stress and anger can justify what you wish to do," Anthea said as a blue sword manifested in her hand. Golden droplets of water appeared behind her and clad on her body like armor.

    She was ready to risk everything if it meant carrying out the oath she has sworn.

    "Queen,"  Ligeia muttered. She couldn't understand how her one suggestion resulted in such a situation.

    As the tension in the room increased further, a heavy sigh suddenly reverberated all around. It was difficult to say where the sigh originated from, but everyone felt it like a whisper in their ears.

    The sigh carried an extraordinary might along with it. The suffocating pressure from Poseidon disappeared while the beasts turned into streams of light and returned to the pillars.

    "Holy Seer?!" Poseidon's pupils dilated and without any hesitation, he kneeled down.  Anthea quickly followed and dropped down to her knees.

    "No need to do this," Rhea said with a voice filled with exhaustion, "Poseidon, I told you to not blame yourself for my condition."


    Anthea was shocked by the weakness in the voice of Holy Seer.

    "What must happen will definitely happen," Rhea continued, "There are around eight months before the crisis arrives in the human city. But I have a premonition, I would face trouble much before than that."

    Poseidon's heart started beating rapidly.

    "I don't know what use I would serve for that existence,"  Rhea's voice contained bitterness, "But there is no doubt that I'm part of the plans."

    "..." Poseidon clenched his fists tightly.

    "Poseidon, your request was just a tool. That existence could have found other tools to entrap me. So stop blaming yourself and don't let your worry for me hinder you in your responsibilities."

    "Holy Seer..." Poseidon's chest tightened with grief.

    "Rest assured I won't accept my fate like some puppet," Rhea said in a concluding tone, "Give my love to your daughter. Always remember she is the future of Atlantis."

    Poseidon felt the presence of Rhea disappearing from the room. He jumped to his feet and returned to the broken throne.

    "You all are dismissed," Poseidon sat down on the throne.

    Ligeia and others gave a bow to him before taking their leave from the room.

    "Anthea, thank you for stopping me from committing the unforgivable," Poseidon glanced at his wife.

    Anthea looked at her husband and didn't say anything. The golden armor from her body turned into golden droplets before evaporating.

    "You wish to know about the condition of Holy Seer," Poseidon could pretty much understand her thoughts.

    "Yes. Just what has happened to her?" Anthea enquired.

    "No one truly knows including Holy Seer," Poseidon answered in a cheerless tone, "She peeked in the future to find details regarding a treasure."

    "A fragment of Cosmic Spark," Anthea easily guessed.

    "Yes," Poseidon nodded his head, "The result was that she was infected by a mysterious gray matter from the future."

    "What is this matter?" Anthea felt a deep sense of uneasiness.

    She thought of the words spoken by Rhea and now the answer from her husband. Just what type of existence could infect an individual of the past from the future?

    "I wish I know," Poseidon answered with a self-deprecating smile, "The only thing I know for sure is that it has its own free will."

    "A matter has its own free will?!" Anthea muttered in disbelief.

    "Yes," Poseidon nodded bitterly, "The gray matter almost killer Holy Seer when she tried to share details about that kid named Zed."

    Anthea listened to the words in shock. She contemplated everything she knew so far and concluded everything was the fault of Zed.

    "Just what is that kid?!"

    "He has a strong parentage from what you told me about the person with whom he shares his facial features," Poseidon sighed before continuing, "But that's nowhere near enough to harm Atlantis much less Holy Seer. "

    "Yeah," Anthea bitterly agreed, "We truly know nothing about him besides the useless details our agents reported."

    The two spoke for a few more minutes before walking out of the throne room. A few minutes later, they stepped inside a bedroom.

    On the bed, a teenage girl was sleeping.

    She has long black hairs with a face that gleamed of innocence and purity. Her skin was fair, smooth and glistening with luster.

    Anthea sat beside her and removed the tiara from her head.

    "Melina," Anthea muttered before giving a kiss on her forehead.

    Behind, Poseidon looked at her daughter and wife.  He then thought of the millions of lives in Atlantis he has sworn to protect.

    "I will prepare to tackle whatever that is planning to harm Holy Seer."

    His expression turned into that of a man with strong and unwavering determination.


    The sky inside the Paradox Dimension thundered with red lightning. Green flames poured out of the clouds like rainfall and fell on the ground akin to meteorites.

    Titans dashed on the land dodging the green flames. Griffins flapped their wings with all their might as they rushed towards their shelters.

    The seasons in the dimension changed every week. Sometimes the weather invoked the feeling of heaven while the other times it made one feel the dimension was no less than a hell.

    The various species stopped their wars for resources and entered into a truce of peace at such times. They lied dormant under their shelters and gazed at the sky as if requesting the weather to change.

    A young Chimera peeked out of the make-shift window and noticed an area where the sky was clear. The chimera's eyes focused on a hovering castle which was bounded to the ground through blood-soaked chains.

    "Don't you dare look at the castle!" An ancient chimera struck its claws on the neck of the young chimera. The young chimera fell on the ground and looked at the adult chimera with confusion.

    "Why?" The young chimera asked.

    Ever since he was born, he has believed the chimeras were the strongest and bravest of all races. He thought the chimeras should make that castle as their home given the clear sky but now even looking at the castle resulted in a punishment.

    "The castle is the most dangerous area in the entire world. If you observe it for a long time then you would be considered as hostile and killed by those blood-soaked chains. Not only you, but those near you would suffer the same fate."

    The ancient chimera explained with strong traces of fear evident in his voice.

    "That castle is the doorway to the underworld!"

    The eyes of the young chimera turned wide with shock. He gave a quick glance to the blood-soaked chains and his heart palpitated.

    Just what was so horrifying in that castle for their race to dread it so much?

    The Castle.

    Inside the enormous hall.

    The skeletons of various races continued to stare at the throne of darkness and the entity sitting on it. The skeletons seemed broken and lifeless but yet an unyielding force streamed out of them. This force was regal and pure, and not even the seemingly lifeless state could corrode this force.

    The man on the throne of darkness opened his eyes with his head resting on his hand.

    "Insects would forever remain insects no matter what type of determination they hold."
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