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249 Learning!

    Some hundred miles away from Kiba's current position.

    There was a village. The village was just some twenty miles away from the core region of the forest - the meteorite from the foreign world.

    The village was small almost like a tribe with the number of families being less than fifty. The houses were made of wood under which the families lived.

    Almost everyone was either clad in animal skin or thin linens. The children were playing with young beasts while the women were preparing food.

    On the boundaries of the village, titanic trees posed as sentries. Large fungus and mutated furling lichens and mosses decorated the roots. The branches were as thick as barrels from which webby chrysalis hanged.

    On one such branch, a woman in early twenties was standing with a bow. She was tall and slim, her skin a healthy shade of wheat.

    Her sparkling amber hair floated in the air as she observed dozens of men and women in various clothing arriving towards this area. Her eyes burned with anger after she noticed robotic drones flying high in the area to scout the village.

    "Damn foreigners!" The woman wished she could use her bow and kill them right here. "They are always disrespectful and cocky!"

    A middle-aged man appeared beside her and tapped a hand over her shoulder.

    "Zelda," The middle-aged man called out. "We have to provide them proper hospitality. Remember, no provocative action which could escalate to battle."

    Zelda gritted her teeth but nodded.

    "Just how long can our village afford to freeload guests every year?" Zelda asked.

    The middle-aged man sighed before saying, "No idea. We only do what we can to survive."

    Zelda didn't comment. She brought her vision back on the foreigners. Some people from the village were inviting them inside.

    The foreigners happily stepped inside and enjoyed the drinks offered by the villagers. It was like they were sure the villagers would not drug or poison them.

    The foreigners occupied a few empty houses while some prepared their own camps. From time to time, they casted their gaze on the center of the village.

    "Is that where the legendary Guardian Spirit resides?" One of the men wondered aloud with awe in his voice.

    In the center of the village, there was a black pagoda surrounded by chaotic air mass. The pagoda was ancient, emitting out a pressure so dreadful that could terrify even Alpha rank mutants!

    Back when Kiba first arrived in the forest, he has wondered why the government didn't try to monopolize the resources in the forest. He has reasoned with the government's influence and power, it could build checks around the main entrance of the forest, and at the very least, tax the adventurists who enter the forest. Yet he found no such activity from the government. What truly startled him further was he didn't even sense any satellite in the atmosphere trying to spy on the forest. (Chapter 186).

    He was shocked by this discovery. After all, the forest was a gold mine with unimaginable resources. Why would the greedy old men in the government let such resources be taken by masses?!

    If Kiba saw the pagoda, then he would have a faint idea on why.

    Thin, invisible threads of energy were continuously flowing in the chaotic air mass. These threads of energy were arriving from different corners of the forest.

    One of the threads that just entered the air mass was stained by Kiba's aura. To be precise, this aura was from the time when he almost summoned his full powers during his confrontation with Immortal Devourer Serpent.

    Inside the pagoda, there were no staircase or floor or room...there was just empty space. And yet, in the empty space, black rifts like pieces of a broken mirror were visible.

    If Lord Kakusandha from the World Council was here, he would find the rifts similar to those in the Black Sea outside the interior zone of the Paradox Dimension.

    Spatio-Temporal Rifts!

    Suddenly, a picture resembling a face appeared in those rifts. The enormous face was unclear due to hundreds of rifts but it was possible to make out the face belonged to an alien species.

    "Aura marked by Fury of Time?!" A shocked, hoarse sound came from the cracks.

    "How interesting... Just what has that child done for the Time to hate him to such extent?"

    ----

    The next day.

    Kiba and Ashlyn have resumed their journey to seek items Kiba needed. During the travel, they encountered a few beasts and some human thieves who were barely Level II mutants. Ashlyn has regained her stamina and she easily defeated them with her discs.

    It was afternoon when they arrived at their destination. The area they were in originally resembled a wild garden, but now it was ravaged. Corpses of beasts and humans were lying around while the flowers were covered with blood.

    In the center, a man was standing with a fierce smile on his blood-soaked face. He was well-built and armed with modern weapons.

    In his hand, there was a vermillion fruit in the shape of a crescent moon. The fruit was none other than Vermillion Moon Fruit that Kiba wanted.

    "Hmm?" The man noticed Kiba and Ashlyn's presence. He turned towards them in order to scrutinize them. The moment he noticed Ashlyn, he was rooted on the spot with his jaw dropped.

    "Fuck! What a woman!" The man's eyes were filled with lust. He has never seen a woman so gorgeous. Earlier, he was planning to kill the newly arrived but now his mind was filled with something sinister.

    "Girl, you are in luck!" The man proudly declared. "I have taken a liking to you."

    Ashlyn didn't speak but looked at him with her cold eyes. Kiba, on the other hand, was also relaxed. The man in front of them was a Level IV mutant. While for others such mutants were dangerous, but for him and Ashlyn, he posed no risk as long as they spend some serious efforts.

    As for the man's words, he didn't mind them. He was not Ashlyn's boyfriend so why would he care? If anything, he wanted that man to provoke her. He really wanted to see if anyone was capable of changing her expression.

    "See the corpses? I killed everyone in just a minute! Your fate would have been same but I am feeling generous today." The man continued with a fierce expression.  "Throw that loser away and become my woman! Not only can you save your life, but you can also enjoy riches and pleasure you have never known!"

    Kiba's smile turned stiff. It was one matter to make comments against her but why involve him?

    Kiba took a step ahead. Just then, he heard stepping sound.

    "Huh?" Kiba was shocked out of his wits.

    Ashlyn was moving forward with a loving expression on her face!

    WHAT?!

    Loving expression?!

    How the hell is that possible?! Her face always had a cold, poker expression!

    Her loving expression seemed rather forced and fake to him, but then again, it might be his eyes since he has only seen her with only one expression.

    "Would you really accept me?" Ashlyn asked in a polite voice.

    Polite tone?!

    Kiba was horrified. He didn't dare believe his eyes and ears.

    Just what the hell was going on today?! Has some shapeshifter replaced Ashlyn when he was not looking?!

    The man was pleasantly surprised. He has observed the genuinely shocked reaction of Kiba so he was further delighted.

    He has always enjoyed conquering another man's woman. But today it was even better. In the past, he has to use force but today it was all different! The woman was willingly discarding her lover for him!

    After all, can anything be more thrilling and satisfying than seeing a woman discarding her lover for him?

    "I'm willing to accept you," The man clarified with a smile. "Not only that, but I would even allow you to become my wife."

    "Really?" Ashlyn seemed genuinely surprised.

    "Of course!" The man nodded.

    Ashlyn looked at Kiba, and said, "It is over between us."

    "........." Kiba felt a severe headache.

    Over what exactly?!

    He has not even tried anything! Not to mention, she always lacked clue about relationships!

    So what was she even talking about?!

    Kiba massaged his temples. He didn't even know what to say with this strange behavior of Ashlyn.

    "Oh god! I'm so sorry for not believing in you!" The man, on the other hand, thanked God for giving him this happiness. He has never been this delighted in his life.

    Just Kiba's expression was making him grin from ear to ear.

    "I should make him watch when I ** her!" The man thought in his heart. "His reaction would be priceless!"

    The man started thinking of various scenarios as Ashlyn arrived in front of him.

    "I have always wanted a true man to rock my world," Ashlyn said. "Would you help me?"

    "Yes, babe!" The man almost wanted to weep with happiness. He never expected his charm would be so strong.

    "Those years in the gym truly helped!" The man mused with happiness before glancing at Kiba who has a strange expression on his face.

    When Kiba heard 'true man to rock my world', he recalled Issac who said similar words to Ashlyn.

    "Don't tell me?!" Kiba felt a chill down his spine.

    The man didn't notice Kiba as he excitedly brought his hands to open his belt.

    "This woman wants me to rock her now! This would be so much fun!" The man excitedly unhooked the buckle.

    Just then, he felt a strong wind swept past. He slightly raised his head to check but before he could even make a sense of things, he felt a terrifying force landing below his belt.

    THUD!

    The man collapsed on the ground with his legs spread out. His grin has turned rigid, and from the corners of his mouth, foam was coming out.

    Behind, Kiba silently muttered a prayer. After noticing the foam, he was sure Ashlyn has reached the next stage.

    Ashlyn leaned down to take the fruit from the man's hand. The man couldn't even open his mouth or make any movement. His entire body was filled with a raging pain that made him wish he was dead.

    He definitely didn't have this in mind when he thought he would be rocking her world!

    Ashlyn noticed a spatial bracelet and she unceremoniously took it out.

    "Thank you for your cooperation," Ashlyn didn't forget to express her gratitude. She returned to Kiba and gave him the fruit.

    "Th...thanks," Kiba muttered.

    Ashlyn nodded. Her expression has once again changed back to cold.

    "Why..." Kiba gulped down before continuing. "Why did you change your style?"

    He has an idea but he didn't dare believe it.

    "Didn't you say you have to do whatever it takes to get what you want?" Ashlyn said in a cold, matter-of-factly voice.

    He knew it!

    Kiba really wanted to cry.

    He has given her the starved man-wedding explanation but once again, his words have resulted in the opposite effect! Never in his wildest dream, he expected her to learn something like this from him.

    "I was not bad, right?" Ashlyn enquired about her acting.

    She felt she needed to adapt to scheming after listening to how Kiba said once must always have a story in order to fool others. Today's episode was just her trying to gain experience. This was why she decided to use that man as a practicing target to see if her acting could make him loose his guards.

    The words she said to that man were actually what she heard so far from other men. While she didn't understand their meaning, she believed they were derogatory based on the expressions and tone.

    So she reasoned that man would love those words. And to her surprise, the man was really excited. The man has forgotten about everything and lost himself in a dreamy world which gave her plenty of time to strike him with a powerful kick.

    "You were good," Kiba forced a smile.

    "Thank you for teaching me," Ashlyn nodded in gratitude. She felt she has learned good things from him which would help her in the future.

    "I..."

    Kiba turned around so that she wouldn't notice his expression. He has tears in his eyes realizing the type of monster he has created.

    The first time he said - Work smart, not hard! This resulted in her creating the nutcracking art.

    The second time he basically said - Do whatever it takes to get what you want! This resulted in her learning the art of acting before cracking nuts!

    "The Creator must be toying with me!"
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