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232 The Serpen

    "Most likely a human with aspirations of grandeur," Kiba answered as his expression changed to normal.

    He now has pretty a good guess on where this enormous existence came from.

    "Human?" The serpent's hoarse voice was filled with surprise. "If you are a human, how can you have such similarity with us?"

    "Please don't associate with me a serpent," Kiba raised a finger in a warning sign. "Otherwise I would have no choice but to file a defamation case against you in a human court of justice."

    "?" The serpent looked at him in confusion.

    It has learned the human language by studying mind fluctuations of the humans who died in the explosion a few minutes ago. It took some time for its vocal glands to adapt and thus it initially didn't use human language. While it was versed in the language, it didn't understand what Kiba was trying to convey. After all, knowing a language didn't equate to understanding.

    "Never mind, humor is ineffective on serpents," Kiba shook his head in disappointment and said. "If you don't have anything more to ask, we would be taking our leave."

    Kiba obviously knew the serpent was not associating them by race but rather by their aura of existence. Their very cells shared one similarity - they were emanating the power of Cosmic!

    Kiba has no intention of stating the answer the serpent wanted to know.

    "Human, you might not wish to admit but I know for sure we have much in common," The serpent eyed him with its cold pupils. "And truthfully speaking, if not for you, I would still be in my hibernation. So you have my gratitude for allowing me to see the sun and feel the air."

    "?!" Ashlyn was startled and she observed Kiba's face for a reaction.

    "I have no idea how I helped you," Kiba said, his tone filled with confusion. "But if you are feeling gratitude, well, good for you. We shall leave and allow you to enjoy your awakening."

    "You can't leave," The serpent's eyes were filled with sinisterness. "You are going to help me further by becoming my food."

    As the serpent said this, the entire area was suddenly filled with an intensely oppressive feeling. Its aura was shockingly at level VII - a lower rank Alpha!

    "Oh?" Kiba raised his eyebrows.

    "For centuries, I have not consumed any energy source which can provide me with vitality," The serpent's tongue flicked as it eyed its new prey. "But when you used your power to transfer that stone, I knew for sure you could give me the vitality I desperately need."

    Ashlyn's eyes glinted with some understanding.

    Some ten minutes ago, she has retrieved the world-mending stone she has stolen and gave it to Kiba. He has enveloped the stone with his power to transfer it to his storage dimension.  Just then, the stone started showing a strange reaction, and Kiba threw the stone away before it exploded and killed countless lives.

    "You used my energy to break free?" Kiba felt it was too much of a coincidence that the stone they looted has such a being inside it.

    "I felt your existence in that cave but you showed no sign of entering," The serpent explained. "And then I felt your energy fluctuations when you fought those weaklings.  I realized what you were doing, and so I allowed myself to be transferred outside. My decision was correct, you provided me energy, and I was able to awaken properly."

    The serpent has no energy left. Its body was like a lake which has turned into a desert due to lack of rain from centuries. While Kiba used negligible power, for the serpent, it was like an oasis. The energy helped it shatter the world-mending stone and awaken.

    "Wow, so when I show no interest in the cave, the reverend existence in the cave came out to greet me?" Kiba's lips curved up in a mocking smile. "This makes me feel so proud and vain that I want to murder you."

    Swoosh.

    The air around him flickered and streams of golden energy shot out of his body in an explosive manner. The oppressive pressure from the serpent ripped apart and disappeared into thin air.

    Ashlyn was surprised by the intensity of his aura. The ground below her feet cracked into cobwebs while stone and dust flew in the air.

    "Leave," Kiba said as he tapped his right foot on the ground. "This fight is none of your business."

    Without waiting for her response, he shot straight at the serpent in an explosive speed. The serpent's body flickered and it pounced at Kiba.

    As they crashed into each other, a destructive force surged out like tidal waves. The ground completely split apart while the trees exploded in a chain reaction.

    A deafening sound ringed throughout the area, shattering the silence in the region. The beasts and humans were alarmed and afraid as they fleed for cover, afraid of becoming casualties.

    The serpent and Kiba backed off from each other as the first clash ended.

    "I have never felt such pure existence," The serpent eyed him with more ferocity.

    "Oh please," Kiba waved his hand and energy spikes shot out of the ground. "I'm definitely not pure as long as we are considering the same meaning of pure I have in mind."

    "What do you mean?" The serpent twisted its body and evaded the spikes.

    It was obviously referring to his cosmic power when it said his existence was pure. The serpent felt Kiba's energy source was like a crystalline lake in an inhabited world, free from contamination.

    "You won't understand," Kiba leaped high in the air as the serpent's tail whipped towards him, carrying a vicious force. "Anyways, just so that we are clear, I have no interest in spending the rest of my life in your stomach."

    The serpent was enormous with its tail as thick as two tree trunks. Yet its speed was so fast that it left a trail of afterimages as it swept past.

    In just a moment, the tail fiercely smashed into Kiba.

    BANG

    Kiba was sent flying before he forcefully stopped in midair. He raised his hand and wiped his lips. A drop of blood was visible on the back of his hand.

    "You are really getting on my nerves," Kiba's eyes narrowed and his aura turned stronger.

    He gripped his hand into a fist and vanished from the sight.

    "Teleportation?" The serpent was startled. It quickly turned around as the air behind twisted and churned.

    But as the serpent turned, its eyes flickered with surprise as there was nothing but plain air. Behind its back, a terrifying tide of energy surged out and landed on its head.

    The dark scales ripped apart to expose green flesh. The serpent was alarmed and it backed away, looking at Kiba in amazement.

    "You are hiding your true powers?" The serpent asked in disbelief.

    Just now when his fist landed on its head, the serpent felt as if the energy inside his body was like an ocean with indefinite depth. Even in its glorious days, the serpent has never sensed such an infinite and yet pure source of power.

    Now, it was just a remnant of past, its life barely hanging in existence after the loss of strength over the centuries.

    "No! There is no way this feeling can be true!" The serpent shook its head. "If you had such power, there is no way you would desire those resources from that cave!"

    The scales on its back regenerated in no time and it once again pounced at him.

    Kiba raised his hand high in the air before lowering it in a slashing movement. The wind concentrated and turned into an invisible blade that swept right at the serpent with terrifying momentum.

    "Human, what happened just now was a fluke," The serpent rolled its tail at the wind blade, destroying it like a piece of glass. "Don't expect such luck now."

    The serpent opened its mouth and spat an arrow of dark venom. The air buzzed with an acidic sound as the arrow shot out.

    Shua.

    The arrow rushed forward with explosive speed, but just as it was about to touch Kiba, he evaded by taking a step to the right.

    The arrow continued to travel ahead and it struck a giant bird a few miles away. The bird was a Level V existence, but it wasn't even able to feel the existence of the poisonous arrow till the final moment.

    Its body started melting like heated wax and it crashed on the ground into a pool of its own blood.

    "You sure have a killer breath," Kiba brought his eyes on the serpent and said in an amused tone. "How does your female partner survive while copulating with you?"

    "Human, you have a sharp tongue," The serpent didn't dare get offended at such a crucial moment. It was sure the human was trying to provoke through words and make it commit a mistake.

    "Ah well, that's a necessity in my line of business," Kiba said as he transformed into a stream of light and shot at the serpent.

    "Which business requires that?" The serpent swung its tail viciously towards the incoming beam of light.

    "Taste tester," Kiba answered while dodging its tail. "I have to check the taste of sweet delicacies from various regions."

    The serpent was confused by the answer.

    What type of business required only tasting "sweet" delicacies? And even if such business exists, why does it need such a witty tongue?

    Obviously, the serpent once again failed to understand the double meaning in Kiba's words. Very few people knew that he often used innuendo.

    The serpent burst out and increased its speed as it charged straight at the beam of light.

    Kiba was startled by the explosive increase in speed. Before he could dodge, the serpent coiled its tail on his feet like rattan vines.

    Kiba lowered his hand and streams of golden energy concentrated on his palm. But just then, the eyes of the serpent locked on him.

    The slit pupils swirled like a whirlpool and Kiba's body entered in a state of paralysis. The energy on his palm faded and disappeared into thin air.

    As the serpent continued to stare in his eyes, he felt as if he was thrown into a never-ending abyss. His body became deadly cold while his eyelids turned heavy with sleep.

    The serpent race was renowned for its hypnosis and mental attacks. Such attacks were hard to evade or expect, and most often, the victims don't even realize how they died.

    "Fufu, human, be proud that you are going to be my food," The serpent opened its mouth and exposed its sharp fangs as it proceeded to swallow him.

    "Oh really?" Kiba opened his eyes fiercely.

    Golden specks of light concentrated on his pupils to transform into a protective layer, and the sense of drowsiness faded.

    "Impossible!" The serpent stared at him in disbelief.

    How could this human break free from hypnosis like it was nothing?!

    Just how?!

    "There are only a handful of things in my hate list," Kiba's eyes radiated golden light as he raised his head towards the sky. "And psychic attack tops that list."

    RUMBLEEEEEE

    Dark clouds appeared in the sky, emitting a terrifying and oppressive pressure. Bone-chilling winds swept past, rooting trees and stones alike.

    "What?!" The serpent was terrified. Its eyes observed Kiba with utmost dread as the half-blue in his pupils was slowly replaced by a glint of gold.

    The serpent didn't dare wait to know what was happening, and it thrust the sharp end of its tail like a divine spear.

    Just then, something happened which startled both Kiba and the serpent.

    As the tail was about to impale Kiba in his heart, a loud screeching sound reverberated in the air, followed by the rustling of the wind.

    "This..." Kiba closed his eyes and broke his connection with his new powers in the sky, while his lips curved up in a smirk.

    Two short blue discs came in sight, which rapidly expanded as they moved towards the serpent.

    Blue ripples fluctuated from the edges of the discs that quickly expanded out, shredding the air and producing sparks.

    In less than a second, the discs were as large as wheels and they arrived in front of the serpent.

    "What's going on?" The serpent has lived for long, and it sensed an intense sense of crisis from the discs.

    Without thinking much, the serpent backed off and retraced its tail from Kiba. Alas, for the serpent, it was far too late despite its unbelievable speed.

    The discs chopped right through its enormous tail and severed it in half. Green blood splattered in the air...
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