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383 We Are Cheating!

    Besides the bridge treaded by Zed, there were eleven more bridges where thousands of people were stepping. Male and female, young and old, the bridges didn't lack diversity of people.

    There were even members of the younger generation who were generally called genius and hope of the future. Many of them belonged to influential organizations and great families including aristocrat families.

    The core region offered them chances that were relatively low in their own homes due to factional conflicts and internal politics.

    They arrived to not only acquire resources for advancement of their personal strength, but the main factor was to gain good fortune for evolution. They wanted to surpass their predecessors and make a name for themselves!

    On bridge number 4, there was a fatty named Leonardo Benjamin. While his family didn't belong to aristocracy, it has a powerful standing on its own in the State of Avalon.

    His strength was relatively low among geniuses but none dare underestimate him. His right hand was mechanical and he continuously operated high-tech gadgets to easily pass through obstacles.

    If rumors were to believe, he even carried advanced items from Celestial Elysian Plane. With unknown dangers and obstacles ahead, he carried confidence to successfully pass and achieve greatness.

    He was accompanied by many star-eyed followers fawning upon him.

    On bridge 9, there was a cyan-haired male stepping with ease on the bridge without any care. His eyes were filled with disdain as he passed dangers. He carried a sword that was fused with his hand, and every time it was used, it would leave behind blinding flash.

    He was named Solomon Fuentes and belonged to a reputed organization. Presently, he was accompanied by an old man who remained as his secret protector and guardian.

    There were many such talented youths on these twelve bridges.

    Perhaps, the most talented was on bridge number 8. It was a youth named Alistair. He has long green hair and sword-like eyebrows, radiating an aura of grandeur. Every moment of his was filled with an awe-inspiring might as he ripped through the dangers in front of him.

    He was followed by people who could be best described as lackeys as they continuously spoke words of praise. The reason was not just his overbearing strength and his young age but also his background.

    He belonged to Eleanor Family! Not only that but he was one of Chosen!

    A Chosen was not just some random title. It could be only given to the best of best among young geniuses.

    If that was it then he might only have simple lackeys. But he inspired genuine respect. This was due to rumors of Alistair successfully exploring another meteorite that was near Blood Dunes!

    This gave people confidence that he has the best chances of acquiring the legacy and resources in this meteorite. Naturally, he attracted people who wanted to be his followers. While they didn't think he would share top legacy and treasures, there was a good chance of acquiring the rest of the treasures he wouldn't find worthy.

    ...

    Zed was at ease as he heard the screams from ahead. The mist made it difficult to know the danger which in turn, amplified the fear of unknown.

    "Young miss and Zed, the path of evolution is filled with difficulties and dangers," Aileen said as the screams continued. "While advancing is important, nothing is more precious than life. So don't let dreams of future make you lose your life here.

    "Remember that as long as you have life, you can always find new opportunities!"

    "Don't worry," Sophia replied with a smile. "I won't risk my life."

    Zed didn't reply or even heed her warning as he looked beyond nearby parapet. There was nothing but darkness, making it difficult to know what was below the bridge, and at what distance.

    Even mutants with supervision wouldn't be able to see the end. But if they could, they would notice piles of bones lying on black rocks that were stained with blood.

    Suddenly, the fine hairs on his neck turned straight. His eyes flickered and he clenched his hand tightly. Explosive flames erupted on his flames, and without saying anything, he punched upward.

    Sophia was startled as her eyes noticed a column of flame shooting out of his fist. She lifted her head and saw the flame crashing on an enormous bird.

    "A mutated bird?" Sophia said.

    "No, a mechanical puppet, or in our words, a robot," Aileen said as she looked at Zed with shock. Just a few moments ago, he was lost in thoughts, and yet, he was the one who first noticed and acted with such speed.

    "Such dexterity and response!" Aileen couldn't help but praise him.

    At the same time, the flames exploded the moment they crashed on the mechanical eagle. Its wings caught fire and it began falling down due to temporary instability.

    Even though the flame has injured the eagle, and stopped it from launching a surprise attack, it refused to let its target go. It stretched its mechanical tendons out which swept at Zed like a bolt of lightning.

    The tendons glinted with a sinister light, and it was rather obvious what would happen if he was grabbed by them. He would be lucky if even pieces of flesh remained.

    "I guess I underestimated you."

    Zed thought as streams of fire enveloped him to amplify his reflexes. He jumped back and stretched another hand up.

    A fireball materialized above his palm which rushed forward, leaving behind a trail of flame, and then viciously slammed on the tendons. With a bang sound, the tendons were pushed away and they began melting under high temperature.

    By now, the eagle has crashed down on the bridge. The crash on the hard surface of bridge has knocked the mechanical consciousness of the eagle, and for the time being, it was no danger. But Aileen knew it was just a matter of seconds before it regained sense and attacked them again.

    Aileen's body flickered and she appeared above the eagle's body to destroy it.

    "Don't!"

    Just as she was about to rip it to shreds, Zed stopped her.

    "What?" Aileen was surprised.

    Zed passed a mental command and the flames on the eagle's body disappeared. He squatted in front of eagle's head, and retrieved a glove and a triangular item from his storage ring.

    "What are you doing?" Aileen asked.

    "Trying to see if we could exploit the situation," Zed answered as he clad the glove.

    He put the triangular item at the forehead of the eagle, and just then, the eagle opened its eye, glowing. It flapped its sword-like wings to cut him, but before it could, the triangular device buzzed with strands of currents.

    The mechanical eagle was paralyzed and rays of lights projected through the triangular device. Zed grabbed his glove-clad hand on the rays of light as if they were some strings.

    "This...! You even know how to control the mechanism of robots?!" Aileen couldn't believe the scene in front of her.

    She was already shocked out of wits when she saw him operating on Verna and saving her life. As far as she could tell, his knowledge of genetical science was no less than old and experienced scientists.

    That was something impossible and defying logic. Still, she barely accepted it.

    Now, with the items he was using and the way he was operating... could it be that he was even an expert in robotics?!

    Fuck!

    Is he even human?!

    Could he be some cyborg in human clothing?!

    No!

    This must be a dream! There is no way this kid could be real!!

    As Aileen was lost in trance, Zed opened the mechanical head of the eagle. He observed the core circuits, and through the triangular device and glove, he changed a few things.

    "How is it?" Sophia crouched beside him and asked, her eyes filled with curiosity. She didn't think much about his expertise and only cared about what he wanted to gain.

    "Well, the eagle is somewhat damaged but we can still salvage it," Zed answered while closing off the head back. "It has a self-recovery mechanism so we are lucky."

    The triangular device was stuck on its forehead and he didn't remove the glove from his hand either after the head closed.

    Flames exploded under his feet and he somersaulted through the air before landing on the back of eagle.

    "Do you mean to say...?" Sophia asked in amazement.

    "Yeap," Zed nodded.

    Sophia's eyes brightened and she quickly sat next to him on eagle's back. Aileen swallowed a mouthful of saliva before joining them.

    She was still in a state of disbelief and doubt but when she saw the eagle flapping its wing and rising up, albeit slowly, she could only accept the reality.

    "Wow!"

    Sophia exclaimed as the eagle flew above the bridge. The mist obstructed her vision in front but she could see things below.

    She noticed many mutants fighting automatons and robotic beasts. Many of those mutants have flight abilities, but due to the strange nature of the bridge, flight was restricted.

    The only exception were the robotic birds.

    "We are really cheating!" Sophia laughed happily.

    Aileen smiled bitterly and agreed. She also looked below and saw people facing so many dangers. Many of them have turned around and were fleeing back to save their lives. They have lost all their motivation to gain treasures, and now, all they cared about was surviving.

    Compared to them, they were flying without meeting any of those dangers. It was truly cheating!

    She has no doubt if people on the bridge - running with injured bodies and missing limbs- knew about Zed and this eagle, they would definitely flip a table and cry themselves to death.

    Life was really unfair...

    Zed was relaxed with his eyes ahead. It was him who created Claudia and the underground sections of Dream Rise House, so interfering with this mechanical puppet was nothing much.

    And unlike Aileen and Sophia, he didn't really think this was cheating. There was no rule which said using mechanical puppets of the trial was not allowed.

    Besides, from what he knew, the bridge was very long and filled with more dangers. Passing a few obstacles without spending energy was not really much.

    As the bird flapped its wings and soared further, suddenly out of nowhere, cold gust swept towards the eagle.

    The wind was so cold that it made Zed and others shiver. It was truly bone-chilling winds.

    ROAR

    Just some ten meters ahead, a flying ape appeared. The ape slammed fists on its chest and the resulting fluctuations created the cold winds.

    Its eyes radiated red glow as it locked its eyes on Zed and the eagle. There was strong murderous intent, and just its presence was resulting in visible cracks on the eagle's body!

    "Mother was right!" Sophia's young eyes sparkled as she saw the ape. "If you are caught cheating, it results in punishment!"

    Aileen: "..."

    Miss, this is not the time to think of Lady's life lessons!

    Despite the situation, the Kiba inside Zed couldn't help but internally comment:

    "Ever since my first meeting with Sophia, I have been hearing about her mother a lot! I really need to meet her!"
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