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208 Price

    "This is totally unfair!"

    The thing the five men regretted the most was not having a female companion in their team. Had they known a woman was key to their survival, they would make half their teams of women.

    Alas, there was no medicine for regret. Kiba had no use of them so their fate was set.

    "AHHH!"

    The five men cried out for the final time as Kiba's aura barged through their defenses, killing them.

    Ruby looked at their corpses and muttered a silent prayer for them. She has no regard for them so there was no way she would feel bad.

    The only reason she prayed was the poor reason by which they died.  She was sure no one else ever died for such a reason. It made her feel pity for them.

    "Well," Kiba waved his right hand and a head-size fireball shot out of his palm. "They are poor chaps just like those before. So there is no reason for you to search them for resources."

    "Ah...yes," Ruby nodded, startled.

    She has rather forgotten checking the corpses but now it was far too late to even get minor resources.

    The fireball landed on the corpses, burning them out of the existence.

    "You are not here for herbs and fruits?" Ruby politely enquired as they stepped up on the slope.

    No matter how poor the five deceased men were, even the low-level herbs they had could make some decent profit in society. Yet Kiba showed no interest which confused her.

    The sky was turning dark as the time for sunset arrived. They walked towards a large tree to rest. For now, they didn't plan to use the portable camp. Instead, Kiba wanted to live in open for the time being and have dinner in open.

    "They are not the main reason why I'm here," Kiba answered in a nonchalant manner. "But there are few special commodities that I do need to find if I get a chance."

    While the countering agent for nanites was the most important ingredient for the cure for Felicity, he also needed supporting ingredients to fully heal the genetic damage.

    Originally, he planned to 'borrow' those side ingredients from the government facilities in Delta City and neighboring cities, but after Eva informed him that he needed to visit the forest, he decided to find what ingredients he could find in the forest itself.

    Claudia was always on the lookout for those ingredients in the civil society, so even if he didn't acquire them in the forest, it was still fine with him. Of course, it would be far better if he could get them here since he had time now and it would also save him efforts after he returned to the city.

    "What commodities do you need?" Ruby further asked.

    She has intel on a few rare items, so she wanted to prove her usefulness. She just didn't want her role restricted to his slave in the bed.

    "Stardust Mushroom, Iceblood Flower, Vermilion Moon Fruit, Seven-petal Golden Rose, Level V Three-headed Cobra's gall," Kiba listed out a few more items, in a relaxed manner, as he walked ahead.

    Behind, Ruby was terrified and rooted on the spot, unable to believe the items he has just mentioned so casually.

    "They are super rare and high-level items targetted by top treasure hunters," Ruby thought as she gulped down. Every single of the herb would lead to a bloodbath, yet he was listing them out like they were some cabbages he can get from a street vendor.

    "Then again he is a super freak," Ruby calmed her astonished heart. "He has defeated so many people without the least bit of efforts. So there is nothing surprising in him considering the items as ordinary vegetables."

    Just the sights of the battles she witnessed from far away made her admire him. She was sure being his slave was not a bad fate when she considered all the factors.

    "It must be good to be this strong at such a young age," Ruby remarked in a sweet voice as she caught up with him.

    Kiba looked at her and then shook his head. "I wish that was true."

    "Huh? Why?" Ruby asked him in confusion.

    With the abilities he displayed so far, along with the confidence he showed in his upcoming visit to the core section, she was sure only the top echelons of the world could pose a risk for him. Yet he didn't seem exactly pleased.

    "Don't misunderstand. I really like the powers I have, for they give me the freedom to do as I please without any worries," Kiba clarified with a smile. "It is just that everything in this world comes with a price."

    Ruby was completely bewildered by his words. He was pleased with his powers but not exactly happy with the price he was referring to.

    "Do you only have a short time to live?" Ruby asked after contemplating for a long time.

    She knew how mutants got more powers through physical enhancements. The technological advancement gave the chance to acquire more power, but there were often severe consequences, especially if there was a major increase in strength.

    Some mutants lost their sanity while others gained power at the cost of life force. After hearing Kiba's words, she believed he must be close to death. It made sense to her given the powers he had.

    "Nope," Kiba shook his head. "I can easily live for a century or two unless I am killed."

    While he didn't know about Zed, he knew the life force he carried as Kiba. The Cosmic Spark has given him far more time to live than other humans.

    "You are not dying?" Ruby was stunned. Earlier she was sure that he must have gained the power at the cost of his life.

    "Obviously not," Kiba said as he sat down under the tree. "If I was close to death, or only have a short time to live, I would be spending my remaining time in my home, accompanied by women and alcohol."

    Astonished, Ruby sat down next to him and rested her back against the tree. She might not know him for long, but she was sure he was not lying now.

    "People often believe life is the greatest price one can ever pay," Kiba said as he looked at the setting sun. The sky was orange, the remaining rays of light turning the forest into a beautiful scenary. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

    Ruby observed his expression and then closed her eyes. The more time she spent with him, the more confused she became.

    Initially, she believed he was a powerful sadist who liked to toy with others just like humans played with ants, but then there were times like now when he was a complete mystery to her.

    She didn't know what to truly think of him.

    "What is the price you paid?" Ruby asked slowly.

    "I haven't paid the price yet," Kiba answered, his eyes focused on the sun. "But I know for sure, a time would come when I would need to pay for what I have gained."

    "And what is it you have to pay with?" Ruby brought her eyes on the sky as the stars came in the picture.

    "I have to pay with..."
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