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218 Compassionate

    The light from the flare was low so others could not see Kiba's face as he proceeded to check Ruby's shoulders.

    Even if they could, they would find his expression as harmless and saintly. Ruby though knew it better than to think he was anything but sagely.

    With everything she has witnessed so far, including the deaths of her comrades and the way he killed those trying to capture them, she knew his honest expression meant he was having dishonest thoughts.

    For better or worse, Ruby was right in her assessment. His one hand checked over her shoulder while his other hand wandered over her breasts.

    His fingers brushed over nipple through her green sweater, sending an electric current in her body.

    "Have you found anything?" Alexia enquired.

    "I think so," Kiba answered as he took Ruby's nipple between his thumb and index finger.

    "What is it?" Alexia hurriedly asked.

    "I have to check further to know for sure," Kiba said as his face closed in with Ruby's breasts.

    From behind, he looked like he was closing in the front of her shoulder, but Ruby felt his lips touching her breast through the green sweater. His hand moved to tuck the sweater gently, exposing a bit of her cleavage.

    Like a hungry man at the sight of a feast, Kiba's lips closed on her cleavage, kissing it slowly. He took her skin between his lips, sucking on it, tantalizing Ruby's senses.

    "Oh god," Ruby muttered, her head leaned back as she tried hard to not moan loudly.

    She didn't want to admit, but doing this in open and in front of everyone, while they remained oblivious to their true actions, was a turn on for her. The prospect of being caught in this dangerous habitant of beasts made her further excited.

    "So what is it?" Alexia asked, her eyes filled with slight worry.

    She has heard the faint sounds muttered by Ruby and this made her feel something amiss. She wondered just what sort of danger she was affected by for her voice to be this weak.

    "Well, everything is fine for now," Kiba said as his lips parted from Ruby's cleavage. "We will have a detailed examination later on."

    He adjusted her sweater properly and then stepped beside her. Ruby wanted to curse for stopping at such a crucial moment.

    "Ok," Alexia said, confused by his answer.

    She felt now was not the time to waste given how more lizards were present here and other members of her team, including Ashyln, were facing mature lizards outside.

    Once again they resumed their journey. They meet a few more lizards, but this time they have learned from past experience and defeated the lizards before severe damage could be landed on them.

    After five minutes, they arrived at the end of the cave. The ending portion was rather exposed to the outside.

    Sunlight fell on the floor which was not made of rocks but soil.  On the soil, herbs emitting medical fragrance were visible. The herbs were hundreds in numbers of various types.

    "Wow, so many herbs," Mina was stunned.

    She didn't think a cave habitat by lizards would have such quantity of herbs. It has to be known that growing herbs not only require a suitable soil and environment, but they also need proper care such as changing the soil and providing fertilizers.

    For lizards, to be experts in such stuff was definitely not expected.

    "They must have a high-level lizard to guide them," Ruby said after some contemplation. "But it shouldn't be here otherwise we would have been defeated by now."

    Just like humans, beasts also have a sense of kinship. They would leave appropriate safeguards and treasures for the well being of their kin.

    Monroe was about to speak when he noticed a rock-white herb with brown spots on its leaves. This herb was small in size but it was releasing a powerful vitality.

    "A level IV Rock Essence Herb," Monroe said in disbelief.

    He now realized why the camouflage ability of the beasts here was so strong. This herb has the ability to enhance physical abilities of any organism especially if it was a defense.

    In lizard's case, it was both camouflage and strong physical body. If a human consumed it as a genetic pill, his physical endurance would increase countless times. It was one of the rare items, at least in this part of the forest.

    The meteorite, which formed the core region, was obviously a strong exception.

    "We are rich," Monroe shouted in joy. The eyes of others lit up as well.

    Kiba, on the other hand, has a look of pity on his face as he observed the herb. His senses have enveloped the cave and he realized the importance of this herb.

    The herb's roots were extended throughout the cave. It relied on the cave to grow since the rock inside was its source of vitality.

    Different herbs need different types of environment to grow, and this cave was the environment needed for this herb to evolve.

    The problem now was how the roots have taken root in the cave. If the herb was plucked out, the roots would decompose and the cave would collapse.

    He hypothesized it was intentionally done by the high-level beast who planted the herb so that its younger generation doesn't become greedy and pluck the herb in haste. Instead, it most likely wanted the herb to survive for generations.

    Every year, the lizards could use some of its leaves while ensuring it was treated properly. The high-level beast would have believed none of its posterity would dare risk the life of every lizard in this cave for this herb.

    While greed was a flaw in every species, there was also a sense of honor and shame.

    "Kiba," Mina called out. "You should guard us here while we collect the herbs."

    "Sure," Kiba nodded.

    He looked on as they proceeded ahead to collect the herbs in special equipment they have brought.

    "Haah," Kiba released a low sigh. "This is the way of world. The greed of a few risks the lives of many."

    He closed his eyes and felt the presence of young lizards hiding in a corner far away. Their eyes were filled with sadness as they observed the actions of humans. They were small and helpless so all they could do was put their trust on the adult lizards.

    Most of the adult lizards have rushed out of the cave after not hearing from the lizards who went out earlier.

    The few who remained alive were defeated by Mina and others. There were two adult lizards left, growling in anger and confusion on what to do. They had no confidence in taking on Kiba and others but they knew they have to do something otherwise every one of them would die.

    Even if they survived, how would they fare in this dangerous forest without a home of their own? It was hard to survive without the comfort of herbs and habitat.

    "What the hell is going on with me?" Kiba felt himself getting affected by their negative mood.

    He has hardly felt such pity before, and if he did, it was usually for slum dwellers since it reminded him of his youth as Zed. Now, he felt the same pity for the lizards despite killing a few of them earlier.

    "I must be turning insane if I'm thinking what I'm thinking," Kiba brought the back of his hand on his forehead to check his condition. "I have killed innocent humans under the influence of my power but now I want to help other inferior species?"

    He felt his body fine so he observed the bracelet and ring on his hand. They were there to ensure that he doesn't give in to what his powers and start a killing spree.

    "No reaction from them so why?" Kiba felt a severe headache.

    He could understand if he felt an urge to exterminate everyone but defending lizards? This was definitely the last thing he expected from himself.

    "Fiona did say I have a soft spot for mothers but there are no mothers here!" Kiba wanted to cry but no tears would come out. "There is no mother tigress or a female human!"

    The urge in him to do take action was turning stronger. The only thing he was sure there was no one using psychic force on him to make him feel this urge.

    "Damn," Kiba gritted his teeth. "I understand why...Hope!"

    During his confrontation with Akshobhya, the reason why he went all out was due to the monk stating his plans of dissecting his unborn child to study the nature of his powers.

    He obviously felt guilty for risking her life, and later on, he swore to kill everyone who was responsible for that incident. (Chapter 112).

    As for how this was connected to his present urge, it was simple.

    Children!

    "I must have been influenced by Agatha's concept of karma and kindness," Kiba thought with a bitter smile.

    She has earlier spared the lives of Daniel and Sarah due to her belief that if in the future Kiba was in danger, someone would similarly spare him. (Chapter 76). This was rather a common belief of kindness in the society, even though most never realize it.

    Similarly, the main reason why people do charity and help others was karma. An unconscious belief that selfless actions of today would be rewarded in the future or in next life.

    He believed he understood why he felt pity and a desire to help the young lizards. This was a mix of his guilt for Hope and the influence of Agatha.

    This urge wanted him to believe if he protected the young lizards now, then the karma would benefit his daughter in the future.

    But there was another important reason he wasn't aware of. In fact, it was the only reason and he simply misunderstood the factors behind his urge!

    The reason was was his own powers!

    Inside his brain.

    In a corner, the gray particle was confined by the golden lightning. The gray particle resembled a body cell while the golden lightning has transformed into a cage-like structure.

    Seeing no scope of freeing itself, the gray particle decided to do the complete opposite of what golden lightning would expect it to.

    Instead of urging Kiba to exterminate the annoying species, the gray particle wanted him to save the insignificant living beings.

    The golden lightning has sealed its ability to incite Kiba in order to carry out violence, but now, it was igniting the compassion inside him.

    A completely opposite emotion.

    Obviously, for a person to feel compassion, pity or any other emotion, it depends on the personality and heart of a person.

    Emotions could not be artificially planted out of anywhere.

    After all, it is the events in one's life which decide the personality and heart of a person, and in turn, this results in various emotions of different levels.

    So it wouldn't be wrong to say the events, in the form of memories, were the ultimate factors responsible for emotions of varying depths.

    It has to be remembered that it was Kiba's memories of despair and hatred that freed the gray particle from Cosmic Spark.

    When Akshobhya brought his memories of the days he hated the world and the times he almost died of starvation and cold, the gray particle got the opportunity to mix with his bloodstream and take residence in his brain.

    Now, the gray particle used Kiba's memories concerning Hope and Agatha to make him feel compassion for the young lizards. After all, there were very few people in this world which could make him sympathetic to the plight of others much less beasts.

    The golden lightning was caught off guard by the actions of the gray particle. From times unknown, the golden lighting and gray particle were in conflict. They didn't have free will of their own or thinking process, but they hated each other and knew each other's nature.

    The golden lightning was sure of one thing...the gray particle didn't have anything good in the plan if it was making Kiba feel sympathy at such an odd time.

    The golden lightning was also aware that this would have serious consequences if Kiba accepted the urge as his own and take action.

    Sadly, it got no chance to stop the gray particle as, by the time it got ready, the chemical activities in the brain were already to the gray particle's liking.

    The bracelet and ring created by Claudia were factored to stop him when his anger and violence crossed the limit of his normal self.

    Claudia would obviously not stop him from being caring and sensitive to the plight of others. Not to mention, Claudia would never think it is possible for his powers to make him care about others when they always make him feel everyone is an ant which needs to be stepped on.

    Both Claudia and the golden lightning only factored extreme negative emotions. Never the danger of extreme positive emotions.

    In the real world, Kiba's senses observed Monroe and others as they removed the soil around Rock Essence Herb. They have already collected the other important herbs and now their full focus was on this special herb.

    It was just a matter of a minute or so before they uproot the herb. The young lizards in the corner were feeling their hearts churn by despair as they waited for their habitat to be destroyed.

    "I obviously care about my daughter and want her to be safe, but surely I can't be accepting Agatha's beliefs as my own so suddenly... This feeling of compassion is definitely forced!"

    Kiba clutched his head with both his hands. He then took a deep breath to calm himself.

    "Oh man, this is just crazy. I need to inject those relaxation serums to stop this useless urge otherwise I would royally screw up."

    Just then, he opened his eyes and they were filled strange radiance. In his pupils, a gray glint was visible...
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