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384 That Guy Is Cheating!

    The Flying Ape was enormous with its arm as wide as building columns. As it thumped its fists on its chest, cold winds surged outward.

    The violent sound of fists hitting ape's chest made the people on the bridge below feel a severe headache. Some of them coughed up a mouthful of blood and were sent flying; baffled by the sudden developments.

    Above, the mechanical eagle was cracking with every passing second.

    "That punisher ape is definitely more powerful than this eagle!"

    Sophia remarked, her eyes sparkling. She couldn't help but praise her beautiful mother who taught her moral stories about cheating in tests and punishment that would follow.

    "Mom was truly right!" Sophia said with a pride that only a young daughter could have. This was not the right time to think of such a thing, but this was what she felt.

    Zed smiled as thoughts that were unique to Kiba ran through his mind.

    He really wanted to meet this mother of hers who has taught her so many things: whether it was about being wary of shameless scoundrels, or types of friends one must have, or even moral lessons.

    Her mom seemed to be a wonderful being and she has nurtured Sophia well.

    "I'm not Kiba now," Zed reminded himself and stopped himself before his thoughts ran wild.

    "Watch out!" Aileen warned as the ape charged straight at them with astounding speed, leaving behind afterimages.

    Zed controlled the eagle through the black glove on his right hand as if he was controlling a puppet. The eagle flapped its wings and pulled back to avoid the flying ape.

    Alas, its speed was no match for the ape. An enormous fist came roaring down on the neck of the eagle.

    A snapping sound ringed out and the eagle was sent tumbling downwards.

    Zed felt the surrounding blur as they rapidly approached the bridge. He jumped from the eagle's back in mid-air as another punch slammed down. Sophia and Aileen did the same, and they tried to create as much as distance possible in mid-air.

    BANG

    The eagle's body was ripped apart as the ape's fist made contact. The wreckage and pieces of the mechanical eagle fell on unlucky people on the bridge. Many of them were instantly crushed to death by the terrifying force carried of fragments.

    The nearby survivors on the bridge felt this was truly a disaster from the sky. Death could come at any moment, without any warning!

    Zed and others landed on the bridge. It was over a hundred meters wide so there was more than enough space for them to be at a safe distance from the savage ape.

    ROAR

    The ape locked its eyes on Zed. It has identified him as the target it must eliminate to ensure the fairness of trial!

    Swoosh~

    Zed's pupils constricted to the size of a needle. The ape has suddenly closed to him without making any sound or movement as if it was a ghost.

    It swang an arm at him, giving him no time to react. The arm slammed on his chest and cracking sounds filled the air.

    Blood sprayed out of his mouth and he was flung into the sky.

    "Zed!"

    Sophia shouted and her body blurred. As the ape sent a hand to grab Zed, Sophia appeared next to the ape.

    She clenched her fist and surges of blue current enveloped her entire fist. She tapped a foot on the bridge and jumped, sending a punch right at the neck of ape.

    The current covering her fist twisted like a cyclone as her fist crashed through air. There was murderous savagery in her fist that threatened to destroy everything in its path.

    But the ape was agile and on guards against its weak point. Before the punch could make contact, the ape arched its body back, and the punch brushed past by a hair distance!

    Destructive waves rippled out, wreaking havoc through the air, and the energy from her fist landed on the bridge surface.

    "So fast!" Sophia was stunned and she quickly retreated her fist.

    The ape retaliated with a punch of its own at the retreating Sophia. She twisted her body and somersaulted to avoid it.

    At the same time, the ape stretched its other hand out to block a water column shot by Aileen.

    "It is definitely a Beta!" Aileen cursed in her heart.

    The onlookers held their breath and broke into a cold sweat. This flying ape was far too strong, nothing like the other obstacles so far.

    While the bridge was filled with dangers, strictly speaking, the bridge offered plenty of chances to survive. One just needed to get away from a robotic beast or automaton, and the danger would not follow throughout the bridge.

    While hundreds would still die, but that was due to their weak strength. Not because of the mechanical beasts and birds.

    After all, if the threat was too much then none would survive, which in turn, would make the existence of other trials useless.

    But this flying ape was definitely different. It was radiating killing intent, something no other danger did.

    "Guess Sophia was right... this is punishment for cheating," Zed thought as he wiped the blood from his mouth.

    It has been a very long time since he actually bled from an attack and felt aching pain.

    Zed eyed the ape and his eyes flickered with murderous intent. He retrieved a healing pill and stuffed it in his mouth. The internal injuries disappeared in an instant.

    Whoosh!

    The ape appeared in front of him again, and sent a punch out. This time Zed was ready and flame exploded under his feet. He propelled himself into the air and the punch slammed on the bridge.

    Explosive shockwaves cascaded out and struck the people nearby. The shockwaves were like an avalanche and a few unlucky ones were sent flying out of the bridge...disappearing in the darkness.

    Meanwhile, Zed who was in the mid-air, aimed his hands at the ape. Spiraling flames surged out, and as the ape brushed a hand to rip them apart, the flames changed direction, exploding right before its eyes.

    For a moment, the blistering heat wrapped its senses, making it go wild. A moment was all Zed needed and he retrieved a plasma grenade from his storage ring.

    The plasma grenade was in the form of a crystalline spherical explosive. It was marked with warning signs.

    Zed tapped on its top surface, and after hearing a beep sound, he threw the bomb at the ape.

    Aileen was approaching to help Zed but when she saw the grenade tumbling forward, she took a breath of cold air. Her body turned cold and with lightning speed, she rushed back; not daring to stand here any longer.

    "Fuck! Is that kid a terrorist?!"

    She could identify the grade of the grenade by the warning signs. It was more than enough to destroy a skyscraper!

    The ape has gained clarity and it roared. Just as it took a step ahead to jump forward and kill this human cheater, the plasma grenade imploded, sending out cyan rays.

    Plasma waves wrapped the ape and surrounding area like a force field.

    BOOM!

    A terrifying explosion filled the bridge. It was beautiful like a magnificent firework, but people nearby differed as the waves of explosion struck on them.

    They instantly evaporated into a blood mist that was quickly engulfed by the explosion. They didn't even get time to feel excruciating pain or cry...

    Some fifty meters away, Sophia's gorgeous mouth turned wide open.

    Aileen has retrieved a protective shield from her storage bracelet to create a prismatic barrier around her and Sophia; protecting them from remaining shockwaves.

    "Wow!" Sophia muttered while looking at the beautiful explosion cloud.

    Next to her, Aileen bitterly smiled.

    "It is that poor ape who needed protection!" Aileen bitterly remarked while glancing at Zed. She felt her old heart couldn't handle all the shocks that this kid was giving her one after another.

    Just what was he?!

    Aileen wondered.

    At the start, she thought he was a talented young kid with strong expertise in alien languages. But then she saw him performing a risky operation which only top genetic scientists could. Then there was him showing mastery in robotics...

    A minute later, the explosion finally faded.

    "Oh!" Zed gasped in surprise.

    The flying ape was still intact though it was knocked out.

    "The self-recovery and defense mechanism of these robotic creatures is truly impressive! Worthy of alien technology!"

    Zed then took out a triangular device from the wreckage of the destroyed eagle.

    He sighed in relief knowing the device was still safe. The eagle's fragments were far away from the explosion otherwise he would have lost the device for sure.

    Zzzz

    Current was buzzing out of the ape's body. Its facial skin was destroyed, exposing its mechanical surface. Its eye sensors were completely destroyed, showing circuits, but slowly, the eye sensors were forming back.

    "Could we cheat again?" Sophia arrived next to him and asked.

    She felt this was fun despite the dangers involved.

    "It isn't really cheating..."

    The black glove on his right hand flashed with filaments of energy.

    ***

    At the end of the bridge.

    Kieron Dotson was a young man clad in black robes. He belonged to Mystic Dark Hands - an organization specialized in assassination.

    The organization wasn't even afraid of assassinating members of Nine Aristocrat Families as long as the price was right.

    Obviously, as such, the World Government has blacklisted this organization, and the government forces were always trying to find clues about the organization member, but without any success.

    Some in the government believed this was most likely due to Nine Aristocrat Families secretly providing patronage to this organization. Whether this was true or not, it was hard to tell.

    Kieron has been a member of this organization ever since he could recall. He has undergone bitter training that could be described as horrifying.

    Now, after years of killing and accumulating life & death experience, the organization sent him to this meteorite to train further and evolve.

    Thanks to his training, he was truly fast and expert in masking his presence. This was how he could reach the end of the bridge without expending much of his energy.

    He has only faced three automatons and nothing else. It cost him some energy, but compared to others, he was in very good condition. Of course, it wasn't as easy as he said. The bridge was ten kilometers long, and to cross so many obstacles successfully, it took him a lot of effort. But he felt it was all worth it.

    "I'm just about to cross the bridge!"

    Kieron's eyes were lit with excitement. Based on what he has seen so far, he knew he would be the first to cross.

    "According to the leaders, there is a reward for the first person crossing this bridge! Not to mention, if one is first from the start, one is at a natural advantage!"

    Kieron couldn't suppress his joy and he laughed loudly. While excited, he walked at a slow pace to prevent any accidents.

    After all, for an assassin, patience and cautiousness were the most important virtues.

    He knew he was the first and others were almost a kilometer away. Success was already guaranteed!

    It wasn't that there weren't others who didn't know about the reward. But they reasoned that since the reward was for only one person, it was not worth the risk to compete. Besides, they believed in the philosophy of 'slow and steady wins the race.' Not to mention, there were many trials, and they were sure they would get a chance to shine.

    Kieron scoffed in disdain at these thoughts of others. As far he was concerned, they were thoughts of losers. It was a classic example of fox calling grapes sour!

    ~step~

    The mist finally disappeared and he could see the bridge ending on a landmass.

    "Just five steps away!"

    Despite his training, Kieron was having a hard time controlling his excitement.

    Four steps.

    Three steps.

    Each step brought him close to the #1 position.

    Two steps.

    Kieron looked at the solid ground while smiling from ear to ear. He raised a foot and as he began putting it down, he felt a strong gust of wind from above.

    Startled and worried about possible danger, he raised his head.

    What he saw horrified him.

    An enormous ape - on whose arms three people were sitting- was soaring through the sky.

    Just as Kieron began lowering his foot on the ground, the ape crossed the bridge.

    Shua~!

    Rings of light appeared in the sky. They were made of clusters of myriad colors, swirling like a vortex.

    The rings flashed brightly, emitting a profound glow, and as Kieron saw the rings rushing towards a man sitting on the ape, he let out a heart-wrenching scream.

    "No! There is a misunderstanding! I'm first!"

    Kieron shouted with his foot just a centimeter away from the ground.

    This couldn't be true!

    He has already crossed the bridge and he was #1!

    Why was the reward given to that man?!

    No!

    Hang on!

    Isn't that flying ape a robot?!

    Yes! It is definitely a part of this bridge trial!

    As he thought of this, he screamed and wailed at the unfairness of situation.

    "That guy is cheating! Someone stop him!"
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