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185 Iron-scaled Fish

    Ruby introduced Xander and Kyron to Kiba. She mentioned the three of them were from Deles City and have arrived in Desolate Blood Forest to collect herbs and beasts.

    "My name is Kiba." Kiba proceeded to introduce himself. "I'm from Delta City."

    "Oh! I think I have heard of that city!" Ruby put a hand below her chin as she wondered where she has heard, "Yes! The city was in news for some explosion."

    "Yes," Kiba let out a heavy sigh, "Anyways, you guys are from far away."

    Delta City was in the eastern hemisphere while Deles City was in the western hemisphere. He didn't know much about their city, but he was sure there would be many differences between their cities.

    "Yeap! We need money for our families!" Kyron said in a friendly tone, "That reminds me why are you here?"

    "I'm here to expand my horizons," Kiba answered.

    "Oh!" Ruby looked at him with surprise. "An adventurer! How brave!"

    "Haha, that sounds embarrassing." Kiba scratched his cheek in an awkward fashion.

    "No! You are truly brave!" Ruby disagreed.

    "Brave but fool," Xander said with contempt, "He doesn't seem to be carrying any camping stuff."

    "I wanted to experience the hardships so I came here with nothing," Kiba explained.

    "Fool," Xander said as he and Kyron started gathering the corpses of the wolves. They put the corpses in what appeared to be plastic bags.

    Ruby, on the other hand, applied ointment on her wounds.

    Sss

    The wounds closed up in no time as if there was no injury, to begin with.

    "Our camp is a mile away." Ruby further informed him. "If you don't mind, can you help us in carrying the corpses?"

    "Sure." Kiba stepped ahead to take three plastic bags.

    Soon, the four walked towards the camp. During the journey, they didn't meet any beasts besides wild hares and squirrels.

    Ruby walked along with Kiba, shoulder to shoulder. She was close to him and this brought some angry glares from Xander throughout the journey.

    Xander didn't try to hide his contempt and hate for Kiba from others. He openly mentioned he didn't trust Kiba and also asked Ruby to be wary of him.

    "I have faith in him." Ruby defended Kiba with her sweet voice.

    "Suit yourself." Xander gave a final glare before moving forward.

    "Please don't mind him." Ruby apologized to Kiba.

    "There is no need." Kiba assured her.

    Ruby has changed her glasses and her face was now clear of her dust and blood. She was now as clean and pure as snow; her face and her curvaceous figure were a sight to behold.

    Kiba gave her few quick glances and his cheeks were red.

    "Is there something on my body?" Ruby asked with a confused expression.

    "N-no," Kiba said before rushing ahead with the corpses in his hand.

    ...

    A few minutes later.

    The four reached the camp which was set up next to a stream. Kiba helped them put the corpses in one corner.

    The camp was large enough and in ten minutes they prepared another room for Kiba.

    "We should prepare for lunch," Ruby suggested after some time. Xander and Kyron nodded before moving inside the camp to bring utensils.

    "Kiba, you can bring us the fishes from the stream," Ruby added as she set a fire.

    "Ok," Kiba agreed.

    He arrived at the bank of the stream and noticed the water level was higher compared to the stream he saw before.

    "The streams should be originating from one river." Kiba mused as he moved his eyes on the stream.

    The water sparkled under the sunlight and from time to time, he noticed small fishes. Kiba put his hand inside the water to catch the fishes.

    His luck was rather good and he was able to collect two in less than a minute. He once again rushed his hand inside the water to hunt for fish, but then suddenly the stream rolled up.

    A small fish inside the stream expanded and morphed into a humongous fish. The fish has dark scales while its mouth filled with snow-white fangs.

    "Iron-scaled Fish."

    It was a mutated fish, having scales not any weaker than iron. Such types of fish were usually seen in the river and not stream, so it was shocking for them to be in this region.

    RUMBLE.

    The fish opened its large mouth to clamp down on Kiba's hand. Kiba retraced his hand quickly and saved his arm from being severed.

    The fish swung its tail towards him while jumping out of the water.

    Kiba leaped up in the air to dodge the strike but the fish seem to expect this. The sharp jaws left the mouth of the fish and rushed towards him.

    Their speed was fast and even before Kiba could blink, the jaws crunched down on his right hand.

    CRACK

    Much to the disbelief of the fish, even before its jaws could touch the skin, the teeth started cracking apart. It was like his hand was covered with a metallic armor.

    BANG

    Kiba landed on the ground and threw away the broken jaw. The next moment, the fish opened its mouth and spat out a column of water on Kiba.

    CRASH

    Kiba collided on the trunk of a tree and fell on the grass.  The fish flew towards him like a sharp knife, unaffected by the lack of water.

    Swoosh~!

    Before the fish could strike Kiba, it heard a sharp piercing sound. Startled, the fish looked behind and saw dozens of pointed nails striking towards its body.

    The fish turned around and rushed back to the stream while dodging the nails. The water rose up like a curtain and stopped the nails from piercing the fish.

    Some distance away, Ruby gritted her teeth in frustration at the failure of her attack.

    Before she could make any other move, she saw the water curtain breaking in two columns and then rushing towards her and Kiba.

    Kiba somersaulted in the air to save himself but then another large column arrived.

    "It is annoying to pretend to be weak," Kiba thought as he crossed his arms, "But then again that's the fun part."

    The water column crashed on him and he slid on the ground. He stomped his feet on the ground to prevent his body from dragging behind any longer.

    As he raised his head, he saw the mouth of the fish over him. His face has a panicked expression but deep in his eyes, there was only plain ridicule.

    BANG

    A giant boulder crashed on the fish and it fell on the ground.

    Kiba turned his head and saw Xander throwing another boulder.

    The boulder landed on the fish and its famous iron scales broke down. Shocked, the fish rushed back towards the stream.

    "Thanks," Kiba expressed his gratitude, "That was close."

    "Hmph." Xander rushed towards the stream to catch the fish but it was already long gone.

    ---

    Ten minutes later.

    The four sat on the grassland.

    "Are you all right?" Ruby asked Kiba with concern.

    "Yes," Kiba nodded his head.

    "That's good," Ruby sighed in relief.

    There was no more conversation as they cooked the fishes in a utensil. Soon, the air was filled with a delightful and sweet aroma. Just the breath alone could make one feel rich with extreme vitality.

    Even the seemingly ordinary fishes in this region were mutated, and their bodies obviously have a high nutritious value.  The dish currently was prepared with precious herbs so there was no doubt on how beneficial the meal would be.

    Quickly, Kiba was served with a sparkling and splendor soup.

    "It's amazing," Kiba slowly sipped in the special and wondrous taste.

    "Have some more." Ruby lovingly treated him with extra soup.

    "Thanks," Kiba accepted the soup.

    "I'm full." Xander took his leave, annoyed by their display.

    "He is not a bad person," Ruby said after Xander was gone.

    "I know." Kiba smiled in response, "He helped me back then."

    "Today was a tiring day." Ruby let out a small sigh.

    "Yeah, first the wolves and now this fish," Kiba agreed.

    "I just want to rest," Ruby faintly muttered before falling asleep on his arm.

    "Umm..." Kiba's cheeks turned red as he breathed in her sweet fragnance.

    "Haha," Kyron observed the scene and started laughing, "You are truly inexperienced with women despite your good looks."

    "No...I..." Kiba murmured in an embarrassed tone.

    "I was joking," Kyron controlled his laughter.

    "....."  Kiba glanced at Ruby with an embarrassed expression. His heart was beating rapidly and he gulped down as her hand slid over his stomach.

    He scratched the back of his head awkwardly and looked at Kyron, waiting for an answer to his problem.

    "Let's move her to her camp," Kyron suggested with another burst of faint laughter, "She is fully spent so she would sleep like a bear."

    "I should have thought of that!" Kiba's eyes brightened up and he nodded.

    "You should carry her," Kyron made a playful suggestion, "You need to gather experience on handling the women before you make a move!"

    "...." Kiba smiled bitterly.  Having no choice, he took Ruby in his arms and walked to a camp room while Kyron opened the door.

    Kiba put down Ruby gently on the bed. He covered her with a blanket and placed a water bottle next to the bed.

    "I should rest as well." Kiba hurriedly rushed out of the camp, "See you in the evening."

    Kyron looked at him with a smile as he left the room. But soon, his smile faded and was replaced with a sneer.

    "Such an easy target." Ruby suddenly opened her eyes and said.

    "Indeed." Xander entered from another side and sat beside her.

    Kyron took out a tablet from his shirt and observed the readings on the screen.

    "He has high potential but he hasn't tapped into it yet."

    "True but he is still strong enough for his age," Xander thought for a minute before adding, "He didn't bleed from the collision with the tree, nor did the jaws of Iron-scaled Fish injured him. Not to mention that he remained unscathed in his battle with the wolves."

    "His enhanced strength suppress the air around his body into an invisible armor," Kyron said based on the readings, "So it isn't surprising he wasn't harmed. He also uses the enhanced strength for jumping around."

    "We have struck rich." Xander said before turning his head towards Ruby, "You truly have done a good job."

    Ruby's lips curved up into a smile. She brushed her hairs away from her face before taking down her glasses.  She placed the glasses away and her eyes no longer have the sweet innocence from before.

    "All men are same," Ruby licked her lips, "They would do anything as long as you give them a chance of getting close to a hole."
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