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239 Success & Sweetness

    The next day.

    Kiba and Ashlyn had breakfast after which they left the crystal house. Ashlyn pressed her hand on the door and the house transformed into a crystal cube.

    Kiba gazed at the morning sky which was covered by an icy mist. A chilling breeze blew past his ear like a whisper from a ghost.

    Kiba observed the sky through the mist. Slowly, in his eyes, a blurred image of a woman flashed. The woman was made of blue fire and on her face, there were traces of blood. Her lips were curled up in a loving smile, radiating kindness.

    "Who is she?" Kiba thought in his heart. "I have never seen someone matching her silhouette...could she be just a product of imagination?"

    He couldn't properly recall what he saw in the nightmare, except for a few blurred and incomplete pictures of a woman and a claw.

    The soft snow underneath Ashlyn's feet crunched and released a delicate sound as she stepped next to Kiba.

    "Let's go." Kiba cleared his thoughts and said.

    Ashlyn nodded, and they resumed their journey to find Iceblood Flower.

    ...

    A mile ahead.

    Two men and two women in the early thirties were slowly walking on an icy path. They were clad in specially manufactured jackets, gloves, and boots as a precaution against the frost energy.

    "Baird, just how long?" A blonde woman asked a black-haired man. The woman was beautiful with enticing facial features.

    "Anya, just five hundred meters," The man answered.

    Baird and Anya were newly wed adventurists. They met while exploring mine and fell in love over a mutual attraction for adventures.

    The other two were always a couple. They were named Jane and Morales.

    Each member was a Level III mutant. Their combined might, backed by strong coordination, could even pose a risk for Level IV mutant.

    "Iceblood Flower has definitely evolved," Anya said after a glass tablet on her hand beeped. "It is now Level VI - a high-ranking Beta."

    The level of the flower overstepped them by three but they didn't show any sign of worry. Morales took out a glass jar filled with five red bees.

    "It would work, right?" Jane asked while pointing at the jar.

    "Definitely," Morales proudly nodded. "Bees and flowers help each to survive and reproduce through their mutualistic relationship. Professor Soln cloned these bees through the DNA of Demon Queen Bee and Blooddevourer Bee. Iceblood Flower wouldn't suspect a thing when they approach it and do their work."

    "You better be right otherwise..." Baird trailed off in the middle.

    As an adventurer, he knew the relationship between risk and profit. If one can't take a risk, then he doesn't deserve to be an adventurer. Yet a certain safety factor was needed. After all, blindly taking a risk without any hope of success was just plain stupid.

    The four were from Landmolrie City. They were contracted by reputed Professor Soln of Silvermoon University - a university directly affiliated with the world government. The four trusted the preparations made by Professor Soln and thus took this risk.

    A few minutes later.

    They arrived in a region where the ground was completely solidified into ice. The frost energy in the air was extremely pure and acted as a rampaging beast.

    As they walked ahead, they noticed ice statues in various poses. The statues numbered in hundreds and it was impossible to enter the area ahead without passing through the statues.

    The four cautiously stepped through the statues. Baird unknowingly touched his elbow to a statue as he walked past.

    As soon as he touched the statue, it shattered and crumbled into pieces with a loud sound. Startled, Baird looked at the pieces.

    "Shit!"

    Baird felt a chill down his spine. The pieces were not made of ice as he originally believed due to high mist in the area. The pieces were actually the parts of a human body.

    Baird stared at the body parts and his heart thumped loudly. Every single body part was fresh without any sign of decay. That was obvious to him due to the presence of ice, but what shocked him was the paleness and lack of any color. The body parts were devoid of blood. It was like the blood was sucked out of them, and yet, there were no injuries.

    "Damn! Iceblood Flower must have gained some intelligence," Baird muttered. "But we still have our trump card so nothing to worry."

    The others nodded and they looked ahead. Some two hundred meters away, a flower was blooming peacefully, surrounded by mist.

    The flower has four petals, each petal made of white ice, emitting a faint halo of blood. Its stem was white and illusory, so pure that one could see through it. Thin threads of blood circulated inside the stem which entered the icy white floor.

    The entire flower was giving off a holy brilliance along with a strange but sweet fragrance that wafted through the air and mixed with the mist. Despite is strangeness, the group of four felt this was the most beautiful flower they have seen in their lives.

    "Most beautiful flowers are the most dangerous ones!" Jane repeated the common saying among the botanists.

    "Let's get started."

    Morales opened the jar and the bees flew out. The bees buzzed through the air, and as they approached the flower, the mist solidified into an ice wall.

    The bees waved their scopa - pollen collecting structures - in the air. A strange energy wave surged from their scopas and passed through the ice wall.

    The Iceblood Flower felt the energy waves and it bloomed further as if with great happiness. The ice wall turned illusory and reverted back into the mist.

    "This is going really well!" Baird murmured with a smile. The others also smiled in agreement.

    Meanwhile, some few hundred meters behind them.

    Kiba and Ashlyn were standing next to a frozen tree.

    "It sure is going well for them," Kiba said with a faint smile. "Those bees are sure interesting."

    In this world, there were very few who could compare to him when it came to genetical experiments. While he has no interest in using his knowledge to gain strength or increase his lifespan, he would always find some time to do more research. This was mainly to help himself by finding a way so that he doesn't have to pay the price for the power he gained through Cosmic Spark. Obviously, so far he has only failed. But that was mainly due to the cosmic nature of his powers, otherwise, his knowledge and research could easily attract the envy of the best scientists in the world.

    "Amazing! Those bees are actually staging a reverse pouyannian mimicry instead of pollination!" Kiba praised as he observed the actions of the bees on the pollen. "Artifical stimuli through chemical secreting from scopa to make the flower enter into a long trance."

    "Is it that impressive?" Ashlyn enquired.

    "You could say so," Kiba answered. "After all, there is no way a normal bee can serve the function of both male and female. Someone must have spent a lot of efforts and time to create them."

    "What are we going to do?" Aslyn asked. She was not interested in the bees or their working.

    "Success is only sweet with some struggle," Kiba answered as his smile expanded.

    Kiba stretched his right hand. Faint specks of white light surrounded his finger which silently shot through the air.

    The flower was slowly entering a trance as the bees carried out their work. Just then, specks of light enveloped the bees, and they vanished into thin air.

    The petals of the flowers swayed violently as the trance broke off in middle. The mist around it surged forward, overflowing with murderous intent.

    Some four hundred meters away, the group of four was alarmed and afraid.

    "What happened?!"

    "The bees are not there!"

    "They were there a moment ago!"

    "Where did they go?!"

    "I have no idea! Maybe the flower absorbed it or something!"

    "Fuck!"

    "What do we do?!"

    Before they could discuss further, the mist has surrounded them from all sides. The transparent mist thickened and icicles appeared in the air. In no time, the icicles turned into ice shards which started converging together.

    Soon, the entire mist transformed into an enormous bear. Its body was white while its fur was made of crystalline shards. Its eyes were crimson red just like a bloodthirsty beast, and its entire body emitted an imposing aura.

    "Damn! Iceblood Flower is using its domain power to create a Level VI beast!" Anya was terrified as she read the details on her glass tablet.

    The bear raised its paws high in the air before smashing them onto the ground. Heavy cracks appeared on the floor and ice shot up in the air.

    Anya jumped back and grouped her hands together. Energy waves surrounded her which she used as a thrust and propelled through the air.

    Meanwhile, Baird thumped his chest loudly.  Faint ring-like pulses of energy radiated out of his chest which converged and transformed into a column of blinding red light, emitting volcanic heat.

    Swoosh.

    A powerful blast shot out and rushed at the ice bear. The ice beast roared as the blast pierced through its head. Its body started melting, but sadly, before the others could rejoice, more mist from the air joined its body.

    The bear's body was as strong as new and it rushed towards its targets. It raised its paw, and hundreds of ice shards charged out.

    "We are doomed!"

    Hundreds of meters away, Ashlyn looked at Kiba before shaking her head and letting out a soft sigh. She has thought of a word that she believed suited him far more than a sadist.

    "Villain."
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