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351 Because You Are A Woman

    Among the wild trees, there was a group of about ten, riding on tamed horses. It consisted of people from various backgrounds, and strictly speaking, they were not a team. Just a temporary group of acquaintances who were proceeding to Guardian Spirt Village.

    "They are...!" Carmen was startled as he saw them.

    The group also noticed Sophia, Carmen, Zed, and others. A few of them were really well acquainted with Carmen while they knew a bit about Sophia.

    Given the years since the foundation of Nine Aristocrat Families and the World Government, it was obvious the families didn't lack descendants. In fact, the families were overpopulated thanks to the high fertility in the era of evolution. Men of such backgrounds would often spread their oats wildly, and this, in turn, increases the number of descendants who shared the bloodline.

    But in an aristocrat family, not everyone had the same status and value. There were multiple branches with hundreds of lineages.

    The standing depended on lineage.

    From a commoner perspective, even the lowest branch was royalty, but from a perspective of high born, the lowest branch was just someone who had their blood; nothing worth mentioning of.

    The only way for people of lesser lineages to change their status was by showing their potential. But given the fight for resources and their initial status, they were at a natural disadvantage. This was why dangerous lands like Desolate Blood Forest served as an opportunity.

    Not only could they acquire resources and exploit their potential, but there was also a chance of finding treasures that might change their fate.

    Carmen and the other noble descendants Zed/Kiba met so far were from the lowest lineage of the families. They were here to evolve and rise within their families... vying for the positions of Chosen.

    There was only one person who didn't have such aspirations and limitations.

    Sophia.

    Unlike most of the noble descendants in the forest, Sophia was someone from the chief bloodline of Neville Family. She naturally didn't lack anything due to her status in the family.

    This was why she was special. Naturally, also a target of envy. It was not just due to her status but also due to her beauty.

    Men wanted her while females disliked her. Not like it mattered to Sophia.

    Launcelot, a man in mid-twenties, focused his vision on Sophia. He has seen her in the State of Avalon a lot of times, and he desired her. But he didn't try openly to get her as he has seen others failing.

    "Sophia, so good to meet you here," Launcelot greeted her warmly.

    Sophia nodded in greeting.

    She wasn't really friends with anyone, not even Carmen, but since she didn't want to be rude, she entertained him, and now, others.

    Launcelot noticed Carmen as well. They both were actually well-acquainted and even borderline drinking buddies. The two started conversing with each other, sharing information of their conquests.

    In the meantime, a woman named Jenina Martin eyed Sophia with a smirk. Jenina has a tall and slender figure with her clothes a bit revealing. She was about twenty-six years old, and if rumors were to be believed, in a relationship with Launcelot. She was not a noble descendant but she has a strong background of her own.

    "Hello pervert," Jenina called out. She knew the vision with which Launcelot looked at Sophia. Naturally, she didn't like her.

    "What?" Sophia's eyebrows knitted.

    "I have heard that someone greeted you as a pervert before the start of auction in The Fair," Jenina said, her eyes flashing with malice. "You must be truly depraved for you to be called in such a way."

    She didn't care about Sophia's status or background. It wasn't like Sophia could eradicate her family for this.

    The others in the group broke out in discussion; wondering why Sophia was called a pervert. The females were especially loud in their discussions. How could they lose a chance like this?

    Launcelot and Carmen, on the other hand, were shocked. They were interested in Sophia and didn't want to irk her.

    Launcelot saw Jenina with a downcast expression. She was ruinning his chances.

    "You!" Sophia gripped her fists. She couldn't believe her conflict with Kiba was used by Jenina to shame her.

    That too in front of so many people, even her own servants.

    "Young miss, ignore her," Aileen pacified her master. "She is trying to provoke you."

    "I know but..." Sophia didn't even get time to complete as Jenina once again continued.

    "How would the world feel for a young miss of a noble house to be corrupt and immoral enough to be called pervert?" Jenina asked with a burst of laughter.

    Sophia's eyes glinted and a surge of power exploded out of her body. As she got ready to jump in action, suddenly, a hand was placed over her shoulder.

    Startled, she turned her head and noticed it was Zed.

    "Why are you letting her remarks affect you?" Zed enquired, his voice as polite as ever.

    "I..." Sophia trailed off.

    She has only met him today and didn't know him enough. She wondered if he too thought of her as a pervert - a title she felt she didn't deserve given she wasn't a pervert at all!

    Was he also having fun at her expense? Are his words also a secret dig?

    These questions ringed in her mind. She knew how often people took pleasure in others' misfortune.

    "Let me ask, are you a pervert?" Zed looked in her eyes.

    "Of course not!" Sophia shouted. Her young, misty-blue eyes filled with anger at the question.

    "Then why should that lady calling you a pervert matter?" Zed pointed at Jenina.

    "Because she is lying!" Sophia answered, her eyes blazing.

    "Then it shouldn't matter to you at all," Zed corrected her, his voice still respectful and polite.

    "Huh?" Sophia blinked in confusion.

    Why shouldn't it matter when she was accused of being a pervert when she was not?!

    "The world is a funny place," Zed said while bringing his eyes on Jenina and others who were discussing Sophia.

    "People are double-faced and hypocrites. Tell me, among everyone present here, is there a single individual who is not a pervert in one way or the other?"

    Zed asked, his gaze locked on Sophia.

    Sophia was caught off-guard by his question.

    "People love to act as moralistic in front of others, but secretly, they shred the every bit of moral they preach to others. The most glaring examples would be the religious fanatics of the era of past and present. Priests, Godsman, cult leaders, pope, kings... every figure who pretends to be a moral authority was found to be the most corrupted. Are you not aware of this?"

    Sophia was stunned and so were others.

    Sophia because she remembered her history lessons. She knew how people Zed mentioned were glorified among masses, but in fact, they were the greatest hypocrites.

    The onlookers were stunned because Zed was openly calling out their hypocrisy. Just which one of them was not really a pervert?

    They have done things which they wouldn't dare openly admit or flaunt. It wasn't restricted to their thoughts of lust, behavior in the bedroom or plain sex.

    This made them stare at him angrily. The ones who wanted to take joy in Sophia's plight could no longer afford to.

    Jenina wanted to retort but then she saw her clothes. Was she not a pervert in a way?

    No, clothes hardly mattered.

    Have her thoughts and secret actions never been immoral and corrupt just like she accused Sophia of?

    At the same time, Zed resumed his conversation with Sophia.

    "Someone I truly respects once told me - We all are hypocrites; every single one of us," Zed said, recalling the words of Eva.

    "So does being accused by a pervert hypocrite matter to you?"

    "No!" Sophia answered, her eyes sparkling. She realized there was no reason for her to be agitated!

    "That's the right answer," Zed smiled in response.

    Sophia looked at him with a different vision. She knew he was different from others given how he didn't mind her actions when she nearly attacked him. He was kind and polite, but now, she realized the depth of his character.

    "Next time I meet that shameless scoundrel, I would let him know who is the true pervert!" Sophia decided in her heart.

    Some distance away, Ashlyn glanced at Zed and a faint smile bloomed on her face. She mused the similarities and differences he shared with Kiba.

    Ashlyn then wondered how Zed would react if he knew it was his elder brother who gave Sophia the title of pervert.

    "One brother is the epitome of kindness while the other is a sadist villain," Ashlyn concluded before closing her eyes.

    Aileen was amazed by Zed's attitude and way of thinking. She was still processing his words when Zed swept his glance at everyone in the vicinity before turning his head towards Sophia.

    for visiting.

    Jenina felt her throat turning dry. She was dumbfounded at the developments and especially the words she heard.

    His words were something that resonated with every woman in existence, no matter the background.

    After all, there was no woman who never faced judgemental views of others.

    Behind, Ashlyn opened her eyes. She was startled and she then recalled what Denissa told her about living life.

    "Your life is yours alone... so never let it be affected by the notion of others," Zed completed his words.

    Everyone was left speechless, too shocked to react.

    The females looked at him with respect and awe. This was despite him exposing their hypocrisy when they discussed Sophia.

    Carmen's face fell and turned unsightly. He noticed the expression on Sophia's face and guessed the type of thoughts about Zed running in her mind.

    "That bastard! He is getting far too close to her heart!" Carmen gnashed his teeth.

    When someone is on edge, the mind gets over creative and find things that don't even exist. The same applied to Carmen.

    Launcelot eyed Zed with the same hatred. Not only has Zed made a strong impression, he has also insulted Jenina in a way. After all, what he said was targetted at what Jenina said. He has called her a hypocrite pervert!

    Sure, Launcelot disliked Jenina's actions but she was still his lover even if they hadn't consummated.

    "How dare you accuse us of being hypocrites and perverts?" Launcelot's voice reverberated loudly.

    "Hmm?" Zed turned around.

    "Get on your knees and apologize to everyone," Launcelot said with a sinister smile. "Or I will make you kneel."

    By mentioning everyone, he was hiding his real intent and also trying to get popular support. He hoped Zed would refute and it would give him a chance to show off. Not only that, but he could also break the impression he just created.

    What good his impression would be when he would be on knees?

    "Haah~"

    In response, Zed let out a soft sigh. He wasn't surprised by the brazen display of arrogance. He knew the working of the world so it was obvious to him, but still, he would be happy if it was displayed in front of his alter ego.

    "You refuse?" Launcelot didn't wait for confirmation.

    From his ears and other orifices, mist-like substance trailed out. In an instant, it became evident the mist-like substance was actually an army of spiders.

    Hundreds of spiders crawled on his body, giving him a sinister appearance.

    "Oh?" Zed was a bit taken aback by the unsightly appearance. If he was Kiba, he would certainly have made a witty and rude remark on this.

    The next moment, a web net shot off, rushed at him with terrifying speed. The air released a seething sound as if acid was flowing through it.

    In fact, the web was made of highly toxic particles.  If anyone was ensnared by this corrosive web, there was no hope for survival.

    Sophia and others were surprised by Launcelot's actions. Even before they could react, the web was reaching close to Zed.

    Swoosh~!

    Zed created a circle of flame below his feet, and he instantly bounced high in the air, propelled by flames. The web struck the ground and the circle of flame, and they dissolved into a sandy liquid.

    As Zed returned to the ground, the spider-like Launcelot has shot out trails of silk, covering the area around them into a corrosive cocoon, separating them from others.

    Launcelot didn't want Sophia to help him. And he knew she would be hesitant in trying to break the cocoon as there was a chance of friendly fire landing on Zed.

    "You shouldn't have interfered in my girls' matter!"

    Lancelot released a column of sticky web. On the ground, dozens of spiders crawled, dashing towards Zed along with the column of web.

    "I have met many unreasonable idiotic fellows and he is definitely one of the most stupid ones," Zed thought with a sigh.

    "But then again, throughout history, men have lost rationale when a woman comes in the picture... so many epic wars could have been avoided if only men didn't think with their lower heads!"

    He swept out a wave of flame that slammed on the incoming web column...Amitabh Bachchan
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