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200 Soft Spot?

    The surviving subordinates of Joel cried out as the golden stream of light swept past them. Before they could even curse, frightening waves from the chasing red column of light incinerated them to ashes.

    Joel felt the deaths of his subordinates but he didn't stop. He knew now was no time to mourn his subordinates.

    The only thing that mattered now was to survive no matter the cost.

    Green energy surrounded his legs as he ran at a fast speed, trying best to create a safe distance.

    "Hey," Kiba's voice came from behind, "Time out."

    Joel clenched his teeth and green radiance radiated out of his body, transforming into a rectangular barrier.

    He stopped in the path and concentrated all his energy on powering the barrier.

    Kiba made a grasping motion towards Joel as he shot forward.

    "Ah!" Joel was alarmed. He felt his body going out of control as he flew towards the incoming red column of light.

    "Shit!" Joel's body sweated out profusely. The sweat vaporized in no time under the assault of the waves from the red column of light.

    BANG

    The green barrier around him shattered into pieces as the column of light ruthlessly collided with it.

    "No!" Joel cried out for the last time as his body came under the assault of frightening energy mass.

    The red column of light didn't stop, though it turned weaker than before as it continued to chase Kiba.

    "Well," Kiba flew faster and brought his eyes on the tank. "Time has come for you to say goodbye."

    The two men driving the tank felt their scalps turning numb as they saw the golden stream of light dashing towards them.

    "Fuck! The attack can't be stopped now!"

    "We are going to die by the very attack we launched!"

    "You don't have to miss your friends," Kiba quickly grabbed the turret of the tank. "You are going to join them."

    The tank's weight was in tons and even strong physical-enhancement mutants would find it almost impossible to lift.

    Kiba's hands were engulfed with golden radiance as he lifted the tank like it was nothing, much to the horror of the men inside.

    The red column of light was about to catch up, and Kiba didn't wait for another second as he threw the tank at the column of light.

    The two men inside the tank rolled but even before they could regain the balance, the tank struck the red column of light. While it was true that the tank has a strong defense in the form of metal shelling, it proved futile against the heat it was now facing.

    BOOM

    The tank exploded into flames with a loud sound. The tank was engulfed by dazzling radiance before it forever disappeared from the existence.

    Woosh.

    The thickness of the red column of light further reduced. It was now as thick as a light beam after spending most of its energy on the tank.

    "Almost done," Kiba waved his hand and a golden force field surrounded him.

    BANG

    The red light fiercely collided against the force field. Terrifying shockwaves rippled out, destroying the surrounding vegetation.

    In a few seconds, the red light disappeared without landing any damage on its real target...

    Far away, Fiona witnessed everything and shook her head in disappointment.

    Kiba's body flickered and he appeared right in front of her.

    "You are truly cold," Kiba said with a faint smile.

    "Am I?" Fiona asked without any signs of worry on her face.

    "You didn't help them," Kiba reminded her of her attitude throughout the battle.

    "They were here to help me and not the other way around," Fiona explained in a cold voice. "So why would I help them if they are going to prove useless?"

    Kiba was startled by her words but then he started laughing. He liked her reasoning no matter how cold it sounded.

    "Shall we start?" Fiona asked.

    "Sure," Kiba nodded his head.

    Fiona raised her right leg in the air before striking it towards Kiba's face at supersonic speed. Her foot was engulfed in a blinding orange radiance as it struck down.

    The air sliced apart with a screeching sound while a suffocating pressure lowered on Kiba. The air particles charged up under the orange radiance and they exploded out.

    Kiba slightly leaned back to evade the attack.

    SHUA

    The air current landed on the ground and cracked it apart.

    As Fiona retraced her leg, Kiba clenched his fist tightly and punched out.

    Fiona's expression didn't change in the slightest and the punch passed right through her.

    BANG

    Behind, a tree exploded into fragments as the energy from Kiba's punch landed on it.

    "The dual nature of light," Kiba thought.

    The next moment, both of them transformed into streams of light as they began the fight in the earnest.

    Their speed was far too fast for the eyes in the forest to comprehend. The only thing that the beasts and the birds in the vicinity saw was a collision of two light beams.

    In the air, Fiona opened her palm and then clutched it.

    Swoosh.

    The morning sky turned dark while the sunlight in the region concentrated above her hand. The temperature in the area lowered while small icicles formed up in the air.

    An orb resembling a sun hovered over her hand.

    She took the orb in her hand and shot towards Kiba.

    "Fiona, right?" Kiba asked as he waved his hand and a powerful golden streak of light blasted out. The streak of light transformed into a giant screen.

    "Yes," Fiona confirmed and threw the orb on the screen.

    In the dark sky, a terrifying explosion that was enough to make one completely blind and deaf spanned for a mile.

    Extremely frightening energy waves swept out, severing the darkness with flames.

    From miles away, it was like the sun has suddenly appeared in the middle of the night.

    As the explosion subsidized, both Fiona and Kiba shot back.

    "Not bad," Kiba extinguished a fire which has fallen on his shirt.

    "I'm not sure if I like that compliment," Fiona wiped the blood from the corner of her mouth. "After all, you are not really fighting in earnest."

    "Well, you are..." Kiba was about to continue when he suddenly turned his head towards the north. His vision zoomed in to see the red tiger and her cubs surrounded by a team of ten humans.

    "You noticed?" Fiona asked.

    "Yeah," Kiba sighed before turning towards her. "You don't know when to stop."

    "Stop? Why though? Didn't you say that you arrived here to hunt me and my team instead of saving the tiger?" Fiona asked in a curious tone.

    She was sure he didn't believe her actions were evil since she was only following the law of the jungle. Everything was just a part of the food cycle. The strong prey on the weak.

    "Honestly, I feel offended," Kiba said as golden current surged out of his body. "Since you dare divert your manpower when you are facing me."

    Fiona was startled as she saw the golden current fusing with the air and making it chaotic. The air turned turbulent and slowly, it transformed into a hundred feet black vortex.

    As the vortex spun, a shocking gravitational force emanated out from it. The vortex sucked everything in its path, while it moved towards the tiger and her new enemies.

    The tiger was terrified and she placed her cubs under her before clutching the ground with her crystalline claws.

    "Just what is going on here?!"

    Fiona's other team was shocked out of wits. They felt the vortex was the mouth of a giant beast that has appeared to devour them.

    One of them fired a rocket towards the vortex, but much to their horror, the rocket was devoured as if it was nothing.

    "Ahh!" The one who launched the rocket was swallowed by the vortex.

    The other members dashed away, but soon their pupils dilated in disbelief. Their blood flow turned chaotic while their skin tore apart.

    The devouring force from the vortex engulfed them and strings of blood flew out of their bodies.

    The black vortex soon had a hue of crimson as it sucked blood.

    "Save me!"

    Wrinkles appeared on the bodies of the survivors as they continued to lose their vitality.

    In no time, their bodies were as dry as an old corpse and they fell on the ground.

    Swoosh.

    Every single body was sucked in the vortex.

    The tiger looked in disbelief as bodies inside vortex disintegrated into flesh and bones before turning into powder.

    Ssss

    The vortex slowly stopped spinning and disappeared into thin air.

    The tiger stood up and looked at her surrounding. She has a good guess on why the vortex appeared.

    Far away, in the sky, Fiona's heart thumped loudly. She knew he was strong but not to such an extent that he could kill her entire team like it was nothing.

    "Calm down," Fiona placed a hand on her heart. "The world is large and filled with strong people. There is nothing for me to be shocked about."

    Fiona brought her eyes on Kiba and said, "You were hiding more powers than I thought."

    Kiba didn't reply for a minute or so, "Well, I only hide my powers from strangers unlike you."

    "...you know?!" Fiona asked, startled.

    "I noticed after we started our fight," Kiba said with a soft sigh. "You are just a phantom of your real self."

    "I prefer to call it Light Projection," Fiona's voice was no longer cold. "Anyways, can I ask you a question if you don't mind."

    "Sure, go ahead," Kiba said as he flew towards the ground.

    He was no longer in the mood to fight since it would lead to nowhere given the nature of his opponent. Even if he destroys the projection, she would remain alive. Not to mention, she could leave this place as long as she wills it since she was just a projection of light.

    "You have a soft spot for mothers, right?" Fiona asked before landing on the ground.

    Kiba was startled by her question but after a moment or so of thinking, he nodded his head.

    "I guess this explains why you continued to protect the tiger," Fiona said with a bitter smile on her face.

    While she didn't care much for her teams, she still felt pain at the deaths of 26 subordinates.

    Kiba didn't reply in return. He might not wish to admit it due to his ego, but this was indeed the reason why he helped the tiger, despite him believing in the law of the jungle.

    Months ago, he has carried out a bloody carnage in the slums of Delta City. He has killed every single of the overlords and their subordinates. The deaths he caused were in thousands.

    The police and slum dwellers hypothesized the slaughter was carried out to free the slum from oppression.

    While it was indeed true, the real reason he did everything was to help a certain woman and her two children. (Chapter 33).

    He was touched by the woman's actions when she gave her food to her children while she slept starved. This was why he gave her monetary support without wanting anything in return, something truly strange for a man like him.

    Of course, he helped the woman and now the tiger because he has the powers to do. There was no danger for him so he didn't mind doing what he wanted.

    In the end, what is the use of having so much power and money if one can't do as one pleases?

    For him, no rules or beliefs mattered as long as he could satisfy his whims. Perhaps this was the only philosophy he truly believed in.

    "The strong get the right to impose his whims on others," Fiona thought with a stiff smile. "I can only blame myself for being weak."

    "Goodbye," Kiba said as he walked towards the direction of his temporary camp.

    "Wait," Fiona called out.

    "Hmm?" Kiba glanced back at her.

    "You have come for the core region, right?" Fiona asked.

    "Yes," Kiba nodded his head.

    "Then would you like to collaborate with me to explore the core region?" Fiona further enquired.

    "Not really," Kiba shook his head. There were weeks before the core region opens up, and he has his own plans when he entered that area.

    "..." Fiona lowered her head in disappointment.

    She didn't try to entice him with resources because she was sure it won't work. After all, she has witnessed Kiba giving a Level V recovery pill to the tiger.

    "We can't collaborate but..." Kiba trailed off in between.

    "But?" Fiona's eyes brightened with expectations.

    While she was excited, she has her own bottom line which she wouldn't allow the opposite party to cross no matter what. The aristocrat blood inside her wouldn't allow her to demean herself.

    "I have a proposal in mind," Kiba said as he thought of his experience as Zed in the meteorite in Delta City. "If you agree, I will help you once in the core region."

    "What is it you want?" Fiona asked.

    "Just your influence," Kiba answered with a smirk on his face. "Use it in such a manner that everyone in the forest desires to enter the core region."
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