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187 True Love?!

    (A/N: The starting of this chapter relies on events mentioned in Chapter 95 and subsequent arc)

    The State of Avalon.

    The Hestia Estate was located some hundred miles away from the Valley of Fire. The estate was always surrounded by an invisible dome, making unrestricted entry impossible for even powerful teleporters.

    Inside a large hall in the estate.

    Lord Harley was sitting on a chair, his emaciated face filled with a sour expression. In front of him, a virtual projection of a man was in a kneeling position.

    The man has a look of reverence on his face as he waited for his master to speak. He could understand the troubles of his master and that made him hate the gods.

    Lord Harley was no longer close to death after consuming the Life Retrieval Fruit, but the fruit has only given him an extension of a few years at most.

    For someone of his age and stature, death was the most dreadful entity in the world. He wouldn't mind spending everything he has as long as it could buy him an extra day to live.

    "The government team has failed in Delta City?" Lord Harley bitterly muttered.

    "Yes, my lord," the man in projection replied, "There are only two investigators who survived the recent incident, but now one of them wants a transfer. The other officer isn't capable enough to complete the job. Not to mention, almost all high profile investigators in other cities are refusing to help in the task. So it wouldn't be far too stretched to say the mission has failed."

    "Haah~" Lord Harley released a heavy sigh. He made a swiping motion towards the projection, and the next moment, the projection faded.

    "Revolutionaries, you really screwed us." Lord Harley blamed Lizenea and its elders for the recent events. "You hurt where it pains us the most."

    *knock*

    Lord Harley's thoughts were disturbed as he heard knocking sound. He cleared his thoughts before saying, "Enter."

    The door opened up and Kurtis stepped in.

    "You summoned me?" Kurtis asked after giving a deep bow.

    "Yes," Lord Harley pointed to a chair opposite to him and said, "First, have a seat."

    Kurtis walked to the chair and sat down.

    "Let me get to the point." Lord Harley looked at him with a stern expression. "Just what happened in the monastery?"

    Kurtis' was startled.

    "You know?" Kurtis asked in disbelief.

    "In normal times, I wouldn't be able to know since you used a Dharma Chakra coin, but this time you messed up enough for me to notice." Lord Harley answered.

    "..."

    "So now answer my damn question." Lord Harley reminded him in an annoyed tone. "Just what type of request you made for Akshobhya to be in such a perilous state?"

    "It was personal business," Kurtis got over his shock and said, "I'm not inclined to share details. The rules of Sovereigness Hestia dictates---"

    "Don't bring those rules here," Lord Harley interjected in loudly, "This is not the type of situation where you should hide behind the rules."

    Kurtis clenched his teeth. He obviously knew the situation he has created.

    After all, Akshobhya was a powerful and reputed Psychic Hunter, but now he was in a state where death would be a relief.

    The monastery wanted nothing more than strangling Kurtis for bringing the crisis. But the existence of Dharma Chakra and its sacred laws prevented the monastery from taking any step.

    "I really don't know what took place," Kurtis answered briefly, "And I won't speak anymore."

    Lord Harley was angry at the answer.

    "Good." Lord Harley stood up. "Now scram before I forgot the rules."

    Kurtis was incensed but he didn't say anything and started walking towards the exit.

    "Like my losses were not enough. I now even have offended Lord Harley." Kurtis thought bitterly. "But I can't afford to tell him the truth."

    "If the family ever learns my request and my use of that eye..." Kurtis felt his blood boiling up when he thought of the owner of the eye. "That bastard of his is truly lucky. He survived..."

    "Kurtis." Lord Harley called out.

    Kurtis stopped and looked behind.

    "If you have tried to do what I think you have." Lord Harley gave a brief pause, "Then even the family couldn't save you from Rebecca. She did forgive the family for their role in the Solitary Snow Island crisis...mostly due to her obligation, oath and the teachings of Sovereigness. But after over two decades of separation, I am sure, she no longer have the same patience and respect for the family."

    Kurtis felt a chill down his spines. He didn't wait for another moment and left the room.

    Behind, Lord Harley closed his eyes.

    "He truly did the unforgivable." Lord Harley was able to determine the truth from the reactions.

    Lord Harley shook his head and walked towards a window. He opened the window and gazed out in the garden, where a girl was sitting on a wheelchair while a woman was standing next to her.

    "The truth should never come out." Lord Harley closed the window.

    In the garden.

    Rebecca plucked a flower from a plant and then gave it to Kirstie.

    "Thanks, mom," Kirstie looked at the flower for a minute, before placing it on the armrest of the wheelchair. "I wish I could have plucked it myself."

    "I wish the same, my love." Rebecca leaned down to kiss Kirstie on her forehead. "And someday, this wish would definitely come true."

    "I hope so," Kirstie controlled the wheelchair to move out of the garden.

    Rebecca followed alongside her.

    "Kirstie, let's plan for somewhere fun...Hiccup!" Rebecca stopped as she started hiccuping.

    "Mom?" Kirstie looked at her, surprised.

    "It is nothing...Hiccup!" Rebecca couldn't even speak as more hiccups followed.

    A servant rushed with a glass of water.

    Rebecca gulped down the entire glass and the hiccups subsidized.

    "Mom."

    "Hmm?"

    "Why did you hiccuped suddenly?" Kirstie asked.

    "...No idea." Rebecca answered. She knew the biological reasons but she didn't want to bore her daughter with such stuff.

    "I know the reason!" Kirstie said in her teenage voice.

    "Oh?" Rebecca looked at her with interest.

    "Someone is talking about you from behind!" Kirstie explained.

    "...."

    "Leyla said hiccups occur when someone mentions you sincerely!" Kirstie further explained in an excited voice.

    "I need to tell Leyla to not educate you with such nonsense," Rebecca said in a stern voice.

    "No! Mom, this is true! Someone must be speaking about you in an emotional tone!" Kirstie was sure of her theory.

    "...."

    ------

    Desolate Blood Forest.

    Inside a camp room, Ruby was sitting on a bed while Kiba was on his knees. He traced her left hand gently, observing the ring finger.

    The diamond solitaire ring looked absolutely dazzling on the finger.

    "My mom gave me this ring on her deathbed," Kiba said in a sincere tone. "She wanted me to give it to a woman who could make me feel loved and flustered."

    Ruby was unable to mutter a single word.  She was fully shocked by the event that occurred in the last minute.

    After all, as a part of her plan with her two companions, she has come into the room to give him sedatives. Her mission was even successful with Kiba drinking the entire glass of drugged saffron milk.

    It was just a matter of minutes before he would fall in deep sleep for days and then she could follow with her original plan.

    She thought everything was going well but then suddenly, Kiba wanted to return her gesture of bringing him milk. Curious, she allowed him to do so as he pleases.

    But now there was no more curiosity in her mind. Her thoughts were in a complete mess.

    How could she ever expect that his gesture would actually mean that he would put an engagement ring on her finger?!

    The ring was shocking enough, but then there were the words spoken by Kiba about the background of the ring.

    "His father gave this ring to his mother...and now he is doing the same with me?" Ruby contemplated in disbelief.

    Ruby raised her head and looked at Kiba. She could clearly see the raw emotions in his eyes amidst the tears.

    "This ring must mean a lot to him." Ruby thought in her heart. "It is the last gift from his mother but yet he..."

    "I never believed in love at first sight," Kiba spoke in a low voice, "But this was before I saw you against a tree, facing three wolves.  The situation was dangerous, but the first thought which ran across my mind was that you are the one! The woman I have been looking for in my entire life! I decided I would save you even if I lose my life!"

    Ruby knew she was gorgeous and that Kiba would definitely be attracted towards her beauty. Most of her plan was founded on this principle.

    But she never thought he would fall in love with her!

    "He loves me..." Ruby didn't know how to react. A part of her wanted to laugh at Kiba for falling in love with her due to her behavior throughout the day.

    After all, she has invited him to the team, helped him against the Ironscaled Fish, shared the sunset, offered him an extra share of dinner and now this milk. All the time she has been very sweet and gentle with him.

    It was obvious that he would be affected even though it was far beyond her expectations!

    But another part of Ruby disagreed. This part was touched by his words and gesture!

    Most people in the world waste their entire lives in search of true love but without any success.

    True love was rare to find and most people never even get an opportunity to feel it, much less discard it.

    But now, a man she has met just a day ago has declared her as his true love! His words, actions and the emotions he displayed left no doubt on this front.

    "No! I mustn't be swayed! He has fallen with the deceptive me!" Ruby tried to calm her heart. "Besides, the drugs would be taking over him in a few minutes!"

    "Ruby?" Kiba looked at her, waiting for her to speak.

    "Kiba...this is too much for me to contemplate," Ruby tried to make up an excuse, "I don't know how to react or what to say."

    "Then you don't have to," Kiba said with a smile that bloomed from his heart.

    Ruby opened her lips to speak further, but she never got the chance as his lips zoomed into hers.

    As soon as their lips met, a sweet and fragrant taste greeted her senses. She was completely stupefied as if a lightning bolt has struck in her head. She felt as if she was as light as a feather, flying high in the heavens, kissing the sun.

    "I..."

    She opened her lips to protest, but much to her shock, he used this as an opportunity to push his tongue in her mouth...
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