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281 Pythia

    Denisa stood in front of a large mirror as she combed her long, wavy chocolate cherry hair. She kept two locks hanging down, one on either side of her head, running past her shoulders.

    The white rob with golden linings covered her long hair from behind. She adjusted the earrings on her earlobes before clamping her boots.

    The white, star-shaped earrings gleamed brightly on her ivory skin. The red runic engravings on them flashed with a soft glow that was mesmerizing to the soul.

    Some distance away, Kiba observed the earrings carefully and his eyes brightened as he thought of something.

    "Cult of Asteria," He recalled why he felt the design of the earrings seemed familiar to him. "The cult dedicated to studying the nocturnal oracles and falling stars."

    In the modern era, the religions of the past were active but they no longer held the supreme influence. The advancement in technology and the resulting evolution from the meteorites made it difficult for the religious leaders to sell their glorious gods as the supreme ones.

    It was not like the various religious leaders, churches, and temples didn't try to hold their influence on the masses. They propagandized various mythologies mentioned in religious epics related to armageddon, the prophecies of the promised one, the reincarnation of the god, and so on. Sadly for them, the development of the evolved world far exceeded the capacity of their old thought process.

    They didn't adapt fast enough to spread their teachings in the new world. They still have a sizable population of followers but nowhere near the past.

    The world works in balance.

    The destruction of one is the growth of another. The end of one conflict is the beginning of another.

    Similarly, the dwindling influence of past religions helped in the establishment of new religions. Just like the past, many of the new religions have fanatics. These fanatics called for the blood of those from other religions but thankfully, they didn't succeed due to the might of the world government.

    In the present, the religious organizations and sects functioned in the background. They tried to influence the world through indirect means by using mediums similar to the world government. Of course, their political power was nowhere near enough to usurp the throne and play an important role as their ancestors did.

    The Cult of Asteria was not a full religion. It was on the borderline with its members focusing more on evolution path hinted in stars rather than religious teachings on the workings of stars in human life. Every member has to past a rigorous exam which test knowledge, strength, and dedication.

    Kiba has read about this cult once when he was in Delta City. If he didn't remember it wrong, the cult was in the news as they have developed a new flight system capable of intergalactic transportation.

    Inter-planet travel has been available for a long time with humans having their colonies on many planets in the solar system. Intergalactic travel, on the other hand, was rather impossible due to the light-year distance. The Cult of Asteria has supposedly found a way to overcome the limitations of human technology by studying ways from the destroyed world.

    He didn't know whether it was fiction or truth or a mixture of both...

    Denisa rose to her feet and washed her hands with a towel. She tossed the towel on the bed before turning towards him. She was surprised to see his eyes were glued on her face.

    "Didn't you have enough of me?" Denisa asked in a teasing tone.

    She was feeling sore from the raw pounding she got in the last few hours and she was sure his sack was also completely empty.

    "Nope," Kiba answered with a wink. He stepped in front of her and kissed on her lips.

    "Actually, you have," Denisa said as their kiss broke. She rubbed the fabric of his towel and felt his spent cock. She knew there was no way he could be ready after pumping for so many rounds.

    "I guess for now," Kiba has to agree. He sat down on the bed and looked at her. "But I know, it was a one-night stand so no worries."

    Denisa smiled in acknowledgment. She wanted to relieve and enjoy herself with no string attached. This was why she went to the bar to find a good companion and she got in the form of Kiba. The same went for him.

    A long fling would make things complex and might even lead to bad blood if things didn't work out properly. This was especially true since they were in Desolate Blood Forest so there was no place for emotions like anger and jealousy.

    "I truly enjoyed myself, more than I had in my entire life," Denisa wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a long kiss with tongue. "I appreciate you more than I ever could and I'm happy that you respect the boundaries."

    Kiba nodded and she turned around. She slowly left the room without saying anything further. They never shared any information except for their names and that's how they both wanted.

    Kiba didn't feel sad or disappointed. He got what he wanted and that made him happy. He discarded his towel and turned towards his clothes.

    They were made from specialized nanofibers created by Claudia. Their innate design made it possible for them to clean themselves and change in any form of clothing.

    Kiba placed a finger on the clothes and they shattered into minuscule crystalline particles. The particles flew through the air before wrapping around his body. The crystalline particles were like air currents of a vortex and they spun around him with a bright radiance.

    The next moment, he was clad in a white shirt and black pant along with matching shoes. Kiba wanted to sigh. His attire didn't match a person on an adventure in a dangerous land. If anything, it appeared to be casual as if he was in some park.

    He obviously knew why Claudia programmed such design in the nanofibers. She wanted him to think his trip to the forest as a fun trip instead of some dangerous mission. The mentality one hold towards a task plays a big role in human psychology. The importance it plays is often neglected without realizing the difference it could result in.

    Kiba looked at his reflection in the mirror as he applied oil on his hair and combed them. He stretched his hand out before leaving the room and knocking on Ashlyn's room. She opened the room in just a moment and left with him for breakfast in the dining hall below.

    ***

    An hour later.

    Kiba and Ashlyn left to visit the market. The streets were crowded but they had no trouble in checking the shops and stalls around.

    "You seem tired," Ashlyn remarked as they walked forward. "You didn't sleep well?"

    "......" Kiba's cheeks twitched in slight embarrassment. He took a deep breath and said, "I slept well, rather too well. Just didn't get enough rest."

    Ashlyn looked at him in bewilderment.

    If he slept well then how could he not get enough rest?

    She didn't get to enquire further as their attention was taken by a shop ahead. The shop was rather vast and covered with red curtains. The size and the lavish design at the entrance left no doubt the cost required to build it in on land where every inch was worth in gold.

    Yet the number of customers was zero. It was not like people didn't want to visit the shop, it was just that they lacked the means to visit it.

    On the curtains, there was an a large image of a fblue ortune-telling crystal ball.

    A young boy opened the curtains and stepped out to greet Kiba and Ashlyn.

    "Please enter," The young boy said in a very polite tone. "My mistress is waiting for you."

    Kiba was intrigued. He knew there were mutants with the abilities of retrocognition and precognition. In a way, these abilities were related to the domain of time, and some truly expert ones could carry out divination.

    He remembered Castor Damon mentioning that Holy Seer of Atlantis was the greatest oracle on Earth. He didn't know much about Atlantis except for the fables he heard in passing but as per Castor Damon, the Holy Seer's bloodline originated from the Lords of Time.

    Kiba had no idea on what Lords of Time were or their role in the universe. He only assumed they were from the same world as Princess Scarlet Leila De Rose, and as such, they should be really powerful. This seemed especially true as they were master of one of the domains on which the very universe functioned.

    "Would you please follow me?" The young boy pleaded seeing no response from the guests.

    Kiba looked at Ashlyn and she nodded at the request of the young boy.

    "Guide us," Kiba said and they both stepped inside the shop.

    "Thank you," The young boy followed ahead.

    As Kiba and Ashlyn walked inside, they were greeted by a misty, rosy fog that elevated their senses and made them feel rejuvenated.

    "Not bad," Kiba thought. Perhaps the fog sensed his thoughts, and it started churning.

    Soon, it conjured into shapes of people they had met in the past and were about to meet in the future.

    Kiba was impressed but he didn't think much. So far, it was an elementary display of power and he has to see the real deal to truly judge.

    A minute later, they entered a closed room where a woman was sitting in a chair across a wooden table. There were two empty chairs in front of her and the woman raised their head as they stepped inside.

    She was a slender and very youthful woman with olive skin and dirty blonde hairs reaching past her shoulders. She was in a loose yellow robe and the swells of her breasts were highlighted.

    A small, rotating hourglass golden pendant was tucked between her cleavage.

    Kiba's attention was held by the pendant. He closed his eyes and concentrated on the energy emitting out of her as the natural aura.

    In the darkness, she was a body of fire, radiating powerful energy fluctuations of time. He didn't know for sure, but he believed she was at the least a level VII.

    An Alpha!

    Her strength was no weaker than his present self. And if the time fluctuations around her were real, she was definitely one of the strongest mutants in The Fair, if not the strongest.

    Kiba was surprised by the situation.

    Why would such a person run a fortune shop?! Was she that bored that she has to spend her time predicting the future of others for some money?!

    "Dear patrons, please have a seat," The woman said in a sweet tone while pointing to the chairs opposite to hers. She made a hand signal and the young boy stepped out of the room.

    Kiba and Ashlyn followed her request and made themselves comfortable.

    "My parents changed my birth name to Pythia when one of my abilities awakened," She introduced herself. "I use my meager ability to make my living by the grace of fortunate customers such as you."

    "Forgive me for being cynical," Kiba started speaking when she completed her introduction. "But isn't knowing the future actually useless?"

    If a person knew something bad was bound to happen, and he tried to take actions to avoid the destined outcome, it might so happen that his very actions would actually lead to the said outcome. As such, just what was the use of knowing the future when it could result in a disadvantage?! Of course, knowing about happy events didn't harm but there was no benefit in it either.

    "Everything in this world has its advantage and disadvantage," Pythia replied with a sweet smile. "Sometimes it is just that we found disadvantages first and ignore the advantages waiting for us."

    "And what might be those advantages?" Kiba curiously asked. He was in no need of lottery tickets or money so he removed it from the possible list of advantages.

    "That's for you to find," Pythia answered vaguely. "If I tell you everything then where would be the fun of exploring?"

    "I guess you have a point there," Kiba acknowledged. "So what is it the price we have to pay to know about our future?"

    "The lady has to pay with a hundred-years-old Life Replenishing fruit," Pythia stated her price. "As for you, you can pay with five jars of Spatial Golden Sand."

    "You call this as making a living?!" Kiba was startled by her demands. She was practically carrying out daylight robbery in a legal manner.

    "Yes, such small deals brings food on my table" Pythia nodded in affirmative. "Besides, Fate has been smiling on you for the last four and a half years so I see no reason for you to react in such a manner."

    Kiba was visibly stunned by her last statement.

    "Don't you want to know just how successful you were in your dream of cuckolding every man with a  beautiful wife?" Pythia further asked.
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