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276 Garrick Angel Inn

    Hollie's body continued to flicker with powerful speed fluctuations while observing the Three Dark Stars and Ashlyn.

    "Gorgeous, stop acting as if you are in danger from them," Kiba said in a bored tone. "We both know you are in cahoots with them so no need to pretend any longer."

    "WHAT?!" Hollie was visibly startled while the Three Dark Stars looked at him in shock. They instantly reverted their expressions to normal but for Kiba, this was enough to know his earlier observation was right.

    When he said Hollie was in collusion with them, it was a mere hypothetical guess based on details he noticed. His statement was not a fact but rather a question and the expressions of Hollie and others helped him get his answer.

    "How dare you accuse us?!" Anamarie took a step ahead, her hoarse voice filled with anger.

    She took out the hood from her head; exposing her hair which was a mixture of white and brown. They started growing at a rate visible to the naked eye. In no time, her hair reached the end of her feet and continued to expand.

    "You take me for a clueless fool like everyone else?" Kiba's aura burst out in explosive golden radiance.

    The closed alley started shaking with heavy rumbling sound. The road surface cracked apart into pieces of mortar before evaporating under the impact of the terrifying aura.

    Konnor Gardner, Anamarie, and Mendel Stoke were surprised by the explosive energy seeping out of Kiba. The aura was hot like a volcano and yet it carried a chilling sensation like an abyss.

    "You seem strong," Anamarie's brown and white hair started dancing in the air like a banshee. "But not strong enough to act so reckless."

    "Wow~ Talk about being illogical," Kiba said in an amused tone. "I didn't break any of the laws you established. That speedster woman did after she stole my bracelet thanks to your help."

    "We are not in cahoots with her," Anamarie's hair converged into multiple braids. "So stop your allegations."

    Each braid was sharp like a sword and durable as titanium as they floated above her head. Her hair emitted a dreadful pressure that made one feel suffocated.

    "You expect me to believe she discovered this bracelet by luck?" Kiba stretched out his right hand and opened the button of his white sleeve to showcase the silver bracelet. "It was hidden but obviously there are mutants who can easily see it. But even if they notice it, they wouldn't notice its special characteristics due to the camouflage formation inside it. Yet, in less than two hours after I entered The fair, an agility based mutant target me to steal it. Don't you think it is too much of a coincidence?"

    "That proves nothing," Anamarie reasoned while two braids swept forward like whiptails.

    "Oh, it does actually," Kiba responded with a smile. "I hope I don't sound narcissistic but very few people in this world could spy on me without me detecting. And in this particular case, only one time did I felt my bracelet being scanned, and we all know when it was."

    "The electronic sensors embedded in the door frame which lead to The Fair," Kiba continued with same smiling expression while the golden radiance around him moved ahead to tackle the braids. "You made masses, including me, believe those automatic checks were for creating a digital identity card. I guess I now know better about their true role."

    Hollie's eyes flickered with astonishment as she realized he truly knows their secret. Konnor Gardner, Anamarie, and Mendel were equally stunned by the ease which Kiba comprehended everything in such a short time.

    "Let me guess - The cards prove as tracking device while the detailed scan during entry help you realize the items your guests are carrying," Kiba said with a thoughtful expression. "You obviously know that while The Fair serves as a market; many guests might not share their real powerful wealth. So you use thieves to steal treasures which you consider as truly rare and unique."

    The alloys that formed the bracelet were rare and precious but they could be found by many top organizations. The true reason the bracelet was considered priceless was the hidden formations - the electronic circuit diagrams embedded inside. There were over a hundred formations Claudia put in his bracelet; each formation spanning in nanosize.

    The formations were truly priceless for they were actually based on the knowledge Kiba got from the spaceship inside BSE79 meteorite. Despite the small size of formations, they were so complex that not even a supercomputer could grasp them.

    When Kiba first entered The Fair through the sensors, they scanned every part of his body. The sensors were able to slightly notice and complicated nature of his bracelet and concluded it was based on alien technology. The information was passed to Five Dark Stars who were obviously intrigued.

    "You know too much for your own good!" Anamarie shouted angrily.

    The braids shot out like arrows with incomparable momentum and tore through the golden radiance with a sharp screeching sound. The air vibrated under extreme energy currents that shattered everything in the vicinity.

    The braids were like armor-piercing drills as they arrived in front of Kiba. At the same time, the road surface below him exploded and two braids swept out like poisonous cobras.

    "Prehensile hair," Kiba thought, his eyes filled with slight surprise by the ease she broke through his aura. "Then again, she is one of the Five Dark Stars so this has to be expected."

    Kiba jumped high in the air to dodge but the braids changed their direction and rushed at him. The sharp ends of the braids opened to reveal monstrous-looking fangs and a tunnel-like mouth that emitted a terrifying sucking force.

    The air started splitting as if space was torn by the powerful devouring force. Kiba's gaze concentrated as strong winds brushed past his body.

    "Why is a woman cursed with such hideous ability?" Kiba wondered aloud. "Ah! I know the answer - An ugly duck is always born in a dirty environment."

    Anamarie clenched her teeth in anger. The four braids swept forward with a terrifying pressure while her remaining hair expanded rapidly to form into a cage that prisoned Kiba.

    He closed his right hand to launch out a punch that surged out waves of berserk energy. The incoming braids ripped apart into fragments as if they were staws caught in a storm.

    Anamarie showed no sign of stopping and more braids emerged to grab his limbs.

    On the ground, Ashlyn didn't make a move. She was confident in Kiba's ability to tackle a single opponent even if it was a Dark Star.

    Konnor and Mendel didn't show any reactions on their faces while Hollie looked at Kiba with a complicated expression.

    "Ugly duck," Kiba called out while moving in lightning-fast movements. "Tell me, how will you feel if everyone in The Fair learns the dirty secrets of your organization."

    Anamarie's body turned stiff.

    "Sure not everyone would believe my words but I'm sure I can implant seeds of suspicion," Kiba continued while facing more braids that acted as whips, blades, shield and so on. "I'm confident your enemies would take advantage to germinate those seeds of doubts and ultimately ruin your organization."

    The Fair was attended by thousands and thousands of people who adventured in Desolate Blood Forest. The primary reason was the safety and comfort it offered just like cities under the rule of the world government.

    The adventurists were obviously delighted to find a place to rest and recover while exchanging their gains for better. This transformed into an economic cycle that helped The Fair grow to its current strength.

    The Five Dark Stars were the chief organizers of The Fair. They earned a profit that would make even those from government jealous. As such, they had enemies who wanted to replace them and take the gold mine for themselves.

    If doubts regarding the safety of one's possession were implanted then The Fair would lose its attraction. There were stealing and murders in The Fair but they were never associated with the organizers. But if the seeds were implanted then even unrelated crimes would be associated with Five Dark Stars thanks to other organizations.

    Anamarie and others obviously realized the gravity of Kiba's words. No matter what, they could not allow Kiba to share his findings with others. The Fair offered them far too much for it to be destroyed by the arrival of one man.

    "You have to be alive to spread such nonsense," Anamrie retorted icily. "And you are not getting alive from here."

    "I already have taken precautions to avoid death," Kiba said while avoiding a whip-like braid that moved past his neck. A scratch formed on his neck and a drop of blood dripped down.

    "What do you mean?!" Anamarie asked, her voice filled with shock.

    "Why don't you see outside this hair prison?" Kiba asked in return.

    Anamarie hurriedly retraced her hair and looked far away.  Hollie and others did the same and they noticed ten metallic orbs flying above the streets.

    Each orb opened to reveal a lens that projected out a holographic projection. The sound-image projection showed Anamarie and her two companions closing into the area where Kiba and Hollie were fighting.

    Across the streets, the crowd's attention was taken by the projection and they looked at it with great interest.

    "You should stop them from seeing those incriminating videos," Kiba reminded the three.

    Anamarie's eyes turned bloodshot. She leaped in the air along with her two companions and destroyed the orbs before they could expose the troublesome part.

    In the meantime, Kiba arrived next to Ashlyn. He didn't fear the Five Dark Stars but he didn't want to have a conflict this soon with the chief organizers. He wanted to enjoy his time in The Fair while finding what he wanted. Not to mention, his plans for the core region depended on powerful mutants as he once discussed with Fiona. So he wanted to avoid killing mutants so that they could serve the role he once served during BSE79 expedition.

    "Well played, handsome," Hollie's lips curved in a smile. "Now they can't attack you due to worry of more hidden projection orbs. Blackmail is a nice way of having a compromise."

    "Thanks for the praise," Kiba turned towards her and said. "How about we continue our soft pillow review project?"

    Hollie's smile turned rigid and she flinched at the mention of review. She left the alley in hypersonic speed, leaving behind a sea of mirage and explosive winds.

    "I guess the answer is no," Kiba said with a sad sigh.

    Ashlyn looked at him in bewilderment...

    ***

    Garrick Angel Inn was located in the central region of the area that formed The Fair. It was a high-cost inn for rich treasure hunters and strong mutants.

    The inn was a two-storied building with best facilities that can be available in the region. Luxurious food, crystalline wine, fabulous lodge, and so on.

    Ashlyn and Kiba sat across a circular wooden table in the dining area. Kiba checked the menu and ordered the specialty dishes he wanted to try. Ashlyn did the same after which she became silent.

    The tables around them were filled with most professional teams. They were discussing local news such as beast tides, the auction in two days, the activities in the village protected by the guardian spirit and the threat targetting men exclusively.

    Kiba wasn't really interested in the gossips so he tried to avoid listening. A girl around fifteen brought him the dishes they ordered. He expressed his thanks and the girl smiled in acknowledgment.

    There were many families which have settled in this area and for many newborns, The Fair was the start and end of their world. This was especially true for orphans whose parents died in adventures. The female waitress was one such individual and she survived on the mercy of the inn guests.

    Ashlyn took out a money card from her storage space and handed it to the girl. The girl was stunned and looked at the card with wide eyes. The card has a value of $5000 and for her, such amount was truly phenomenal.

    "Thank you, miss!" The girl made a deep bow in gratitude. She knew this amount was a tip since the two patrons here have a tab.

    Kiba was left in an awkward position. He has only thanked her but Ashlyn gave a large tip even before they had their meal. He felt embarrassed by his conduct.

    The girl's eyes sparkled and she looked at him with expectations as she said. "Mr, you won't be stingy, right?"

    "...." Kiba scratched the back of his head before letting out a hollow laugh. He obviously didn't care about money so he took a money card worth $10000.

    The girl tumbled down in disbelief. She has been working here for almost a year but rarely has she seen such generous patrons. She quickly grabbed the card, thanked the two, and left the table.

    Ashlyn didn't say a single word like before and started her meal. She liked Kiba's cooking but a change in flavor and style was always welcomed. Also, she no longer has to feel embarrassed at her inability to cook now that they were in an inn.

    A few minutes later, they were munching down on their dishes when the dining room suddenly turned silent. There was a complete pin drop silence.

    Surprised, Kiba looked around and noticed a man and a woman at the entrance. The man was around 8 feet in height with a bald head. He was wearing a vest thanks to which his overly muscular arms were fully exposed. There were tattoos all over his body and his fists were covered with chains.

    The woman... It was hard to describe her features since she was covered from head to toe. She was in a white gown that enevelopped every part of her body.

    If one looks carefully, they could see she has a hourglass figure. The problem was that no one truly dared to look at the man and woman. Everyone had lowered their heads in deep dread and have stopped enjoying their meal and drinks.

    Kiba was surprised by such reactions. Ashamed at the behavior of the men in the dining, he decided to perform his duty as a man by checking out the figure of the woman...
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