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252 Count Viper

    (A/N: The chapter might be confusing if you don't remember the details from Chapter 90 and 163).

    The wind swept through the enormous trees. The air was chilling but the red tiger stood straight, beaming with happiness.

    Her eyes turned moist as she stared at the golden-haired man who was now becoming more and more distant as he continued his journey with his female companion.

    There was no conversation between the tiger and the golden-haired man, but she was content. She thought if not today, fate might give her an opportunity in the future to converse with him.

    Earlier, she was afraid, but that fear has gone. She was sure she could approach him without any apprehensions. The sincere smile he gave her a few moments ago was the proof.

    It has been a week since that man saved her and her cubs, and now, she knew they were not just some ants he protected to relieve his boredom. His actions were dictated by his heart, and to her, that mattered more than anything.

    "Someday I will express my gratitude with more than just words."

    The tiger muttered to herself. She then thought she was being delusional. She has felt the scent of his powers so she knew just how truly powerful he was.

    What can she do for him?

    The tiger didn't know and nor she focused any longer on this subject. Her cubs jumped on her back and she leaped high in the sky.

    Slowly, the twilight faded away as the stars came in sight...

    ***

    Kiba and Ashlyn were sitting in front of a campfire. Ashlyn has not brought out the crystal house as there was still time for dinner and rest.

    She observed Kiba and was surprised by his cheerful expression. Not like he was gloomy or sad before, but she felt his current mood was more genuine. After staying by his side for so long, she understood him a lot better and knew his different shades of personality.

    She recalled his expression has been like this from an hour or so when he has suddenly turned behind and waved to someone. It was just for a moment so she didn't know whom he waved, but she was sure whoever it was, he or she was definitely in his good book. That was definitely a lucky matter. After all, she believed he was a sadist to the bone. His schemes were such that even devil would feel ashamed.

    "Why are you so pleased?" Ashlyn enquired.

    "Ah!" Kiba shook his head before looking at her. "I was just thinking of those wonderful acquaintances I noticed back then."

    "Acquaintances?" Ashlyn was intrigued. She has thought the people he waved at were his friends or something.

    Kiba understood her dilemma so he explained. "Well, let's say, they are a type I rarely meet in this cynical world."

    "Oh? What type?" Ashlyn focused on his words.

    "The grateful ones."

    Kiba answered with a smile.

    "?" Ashlyn looked at him in confusion.

    Kiba didn't explain so Ashlyn didn't probe further. She opened her left hand and concentrated. The black suit has covered her from neck to toe, and the same applied for her hands.

    Streams of light converged on her palm to transform into a crystal cube. She gripped the cube and threw it some distance away.

    The cube flashed into a blinding radiance. As the brightness disappeared, a crystal house came in sight.

    "This reminds me that I have to borrow a portable house from someone," Kiba murmured. His own portable house was destroyed by his powers due to the nightmare he had a few days ago.

    He didn't know how long he would stay with Ashlyn so he needed a portable house of his own.

    "Let's go," Ashlyn called out. "You have to cook like always."

    Ashlyn has now used more words unlike before.

    "Haha, I know."

    Kiba jumped to his feet and took a step ahead. Suddenly, he stopped as he felt the entire world turning dark.

    There were no trees, no house, no ground or Ashlyn. Nothing but darkness.

    "Well..."

    Kiba was startled but not shocked.

    "I hate when my powers do this but then again it must be important."

    He looked around and noticed a human-like figure covered by flame. The figure was miles away but his presence was striking in the darkness.

    Currently, he was not looking through his eyes but by his psyche. To be precise, it was different from normal clairvoyance.

    In clairvoyance, he would look at his surrounding by bird's-eye view which was obviously different now.

    In ordinary times, as Kiba, he would 'look' at the world with both his eyes and also through clairvoyance.

    Years ago, when he first transformed into Kiba, he almost turned crazy. After all, he has lived as Zed for about 17-18 years, and he was only adapted to see through eyes.

    But his newfound powers gave him striking abilities. Whenever he would see anyone, he would see everything. Maybe from a pervert's perspective, this ability was godly, but for him it was deadly.

    He would see things at the microscopic level. When he looked at a person, his brain would even picturise the dirt clogged in pores.

    The same went for his hearing. He would hear every sound in the surrounding. His senses would differentiate every sound and transmit it to his brain. This included the sound of a heartbeat and the blood flow.

    Back then, after killing Castor Damon and escaping from BSE79 meteorite, he quickly transformed into Zed. He loved what Cosmic Spark gave him, but he didn't dare transform into Kiba for almost a week.

    The stronger the power, the harder it was to control it.

    It took him months, but slowly, he adapted to being Kiba. For him, it was like learning everything as a newborn toddler.

    He learned how to see and hear without turning insane. It was difficult but his willpower allowed him to.

    The difficulty only increased further since both Kiba and Zed functioned in different ways. But the passing of time and experience made his moments fluid. He could now instantly transform into any of his forms and would have no difficulty in adjusting.

    As Kiba, he has learned how to discard what he saw through clairvoyance. But there was a catch. His powers, or to be more precise, his subconscious brain in the present case, would take over his senses when they felt there was something he needed to know.

    The human-like figure engulfed by flames was not truly engulfed by flames. It was just done by his powers to strike him in this world of darkness.

    "He is at least twenty miles away," Kiba thought as he concentrated on that figure. Slowly, the face of the opposite party came in sight.

    "He is...!"

    Instantly, his eyes turned bloodshot.

    The world of darkness faded and everything came back in sight.

    BANG

    The ground caved into a crater while the trees around blasted into fine pieces.

    Ashlyn was startled and she quickly turned around. She was shocked by what she saw.

    Kiba's expression has twisted into that of a demon. There was bloodthirst in his eyes and even the air around him has turned into crimson.

    "What's wrong?"

    Before she could get an answer, he transformed into a bolt of lightning and dashed in the woods. The titantic trees exploded into splinters while ground broke into waves of soil.

    He was like a tsunami, wreaking havoc as he proceeded ahead.

    Ashlyn was stunned by the development. She has never seen that expression on his face. She knew he was a sadist and he has no qualms in killing, but what she saw now was far more than that.

    There was heavy killing intent!

    Not even in his fight with the alien serpent she has felt such murderous aura from him.

    She didn't know much, but she was sure the night sky would be dyed with blood.

    Some twenty miles away.

    There was a large camping house. Robotic droids and human guards were posted as sentries while drones floated in the sky.

    Battle tanks and fighter units were lying dormant behind the camping house.

    Inside.

    On a chair, a man was sitting.

    His face was yellow with patches of skin resembling snake scales. He has elliptical pupils and a forked tongue like a cobra.

    He was none other than Count Viper from Lizenea - The nation of revolutionaries.

    Viper has his eyes concentrated on a box upon which a black flute was placed. The flute has snake-like runes engraved on it.

    "The key to the future."

    Viper muttered as he closed the box. The next moment, the box transformed into threads of smoke which entered into a ring on his right hand.

    He rose to his feet and observed a digital map. The map focused on only one part of the forest - the core region aka the meteorite from the foreign world,

    But unlike most maps, it actually focused on the interior of the core section. Important areas in the meteorite were clearly marked along with the known traps and dangers. There were even forbidden sections marked in red as a warning.

    "The day of liberation is not far away. The key would definitely help us in succeeding."

    Viper thought before looking around the room.

    "Where is Alina?" Viper asked one of his subordinates.

    "She is taking a stroll outside," The subordinate answered.

    "That girl is not taking things seriously!" Viper cursed in his heart. If not for the orders of the Elders, he wouldn't have brought her here.

    She was talented and has helped whenever it was required. But unlike other soldiers of the revolution, she was disillusioned with the noble cause.

    "Take some rest," Viper said as he closed the digital map. "Tomorrow we will proceed for the village."

    "Understood."

    The subordinates nodded in understanding. They proceeded ahead in adjacent rooms to sleep. They knew they only have a few hours for rest after which they would have to take a turn with the patrolling guards.

    In the meantime, Viper poured himself a glass of whiskey. He brought the glass to his lips but just then, the glass exploded into pieces. The fine whiskey splashed on his face but for him, this was the least of his worry.

    The next moment, a body engulfed in golden radiance broke through the camping house like a meteorite.

    BOOOM

    The entire camping house exploded into fragments. Waves of fire swept out, engulfing everything into destruction.

    A few unlucky guards instantly burned into ashes while droids were knocked into the air.

    Chaos filled the region with everyone running from one place to another to set out the fire and look for the enemy.

    "What?!" Viper was shocked.

    Have the dogs from the government attacked them?!

    "Count Viper from the revolutionaries, right?" A murderous voice asked from behind.

    Viper felt a chill down his spine.

    How could someone come so close to him without him detecting?!

    "I have wanted to meet you for a long time."

    Before Viper could turn around or respond to the strange voice, he felt a hand clutching his neck. The next moment, his head was slammed into the solid ground.

    Rock fragments penetrated his face from the impact and he shouted in pain and agony.

    Everything happened so quickly that Viper could not comprehend anything. He tried to free himself from the grip but felt helpless.

    Perhaps his actions offended the party, and the next moment, a boot stomped on his back.

    "AHHHH!"

    Viper felt his bones shattering into pieces.

    In his entire life, he has only felt such helplessness in the presence of echelons of Lizena.

    Could the enemy be a member of the world council or those trump cards of the world government?!

    Viper wanted to turn around and see the enemy but sadly for him, this only resulted in further suffering. He was sent flying into the air by a kick on his face.

    THUD

    He landed on the scorched ground some hundred meters away. With great difficulty, he opened his eyes and looked at the enemy.

    Kiba was standing with absolute madness over his face. His lips were curled up into a barbaric and inhuman smile.

    "It is a pleasure to meet you."
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