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388 Whats So Bad About Past?

    Alistair opened his eyes in disbelief. He visibly flinched as he heard '

    less than ten seconds

    '.

    Ten seconds was the gap between him and Sophia... But that was with Sophia taking 4 minutes & 50 seconds and him taking 5 minutes!

    That was something he could still accept given Sophia's lineage.

    But less than ten seconds?!

    There was no way he could believe this.

    He was not only a Chosen but also someone who has successfully explored another meteorite. As such, he has experienced lots of setbacks and shocks, but nothing like this.

    Ten seconds was not even the time under which one could realize the surroundings and setting. Yet, Zed broke out in less than that time?!

    How could such a thing even happen?! Was his Will that strong?!

    Every single youth refused to believe this. They wondered if the test mechanism was damaged or something, but then they scoffed and chided themselves for thinking of such a thing.

    This trial ground was a piece of Celestial Elysian Plane!

    Sun can extinguish and the oceans can dry, but the trial ground wouldn't suffer a malfunction!

    Then... The only possible conclusion was that he really passed! That too in record time!!

    Sophia's eyes were filled with shock and disbelief. But unlike others, she was not bitter at Zed for surpassing her and shattering her record with such a huge margin.

    She was happy!

    "Mom always said kind and honest people are rewarded!"

    Sophia praised her all-knowing mother who has been right about almost everything.

    Beside her, Jenina and her companions quivered. They were praying for him, but not even in their wildest dream, they expected such an outcome.

    It was like gods not only accepted their prayers, but also added some extra benefits on own! They never knew gods were so gracious!

    "Just what is he?!"

    Jenina's heart stirred in amazement. Every time she felt she understood him, he would shock her with new things.

    She glanced at Willard, Kieron, and others, and when she noticed their pale faces, the corners of her mouth curled up.

    "You guys were saying something, right?" Jenina asked mockingly.

    Willard and others had unsightly faces. They felt they would get an opportunity to gloat, but instead, it was they who were trampled upon.

    Willard wanted to scream and curse... but what purpose would that serve?

    "He is being transferred to the second part!" Sophia pointed to the projection.

    Inside the white space, Zed opened his eyes.

    The first part of the trial was basically transferring consciousness into an illusory world. Even though one would have body, it was just a projection, and not the real body. That was how the illusion would feel so life-like and real as consciousness was affected directly without the hindrance of physical body.

    Of course, even though the body was just a projection, it would not be at all different from the real body. The projection would have everything just like the real body, making it almost impossible to realize that the body is separated from consciousness.

    Even treasure items, gadgets, and everything owned by a person would remain the same. After all, it was just an illusion, and not reality so creating them in a world of illusion was nothing difficult. This was mainly done so that a person couldn't notice anything amiss during the trial in illusion.

    "I basically cheated."

    Zed thought while putting a hand on his chest. Fluctuations that only he could feel were continuously emitting out from the center of his chest.

    Cosmic Spark.

    It has been fused with Zed almost as if it was a part of his body. Naturally, he could feel its existence every moment.

    But when his consciousness was pulled into the illusory world, he instantly felt something amiss. The setting and everything else was real, but he felt strange. Like his body was missing something... just like how a person would feel when they can't feel a limb.

    It didn't even take him a second to realize that the missing part was Cosmic Spark.

    The mechanism of the illusory world could copy everything it could sense. But since it couldn't even sense Cosmic Spark, there was no way it could copy and stuff it into the illusory body of Zed.

    This was nothing surprising.

    It has to be recalled that even the alien lifeforms he confronted weren't able to detect Cosmic Spark's presence.

    So the mechanism of the illusory world couldn't be faulted for this mistake. The trial was basically trying to test a person who has the ultimate cheat item...

    The only thing which stunned Zed was that the illusory world involved Felicity.

    He was actually expecting a masseur center setting - where husbands would happily bring their wives so that Kiba could provide them deep & personal care...

    He wouldn't have been surprised if the setting involved the success story of Wife Pleasuring Ltd or his future career as a doctor. After all, as per the glimpse of the future shown by Pythia, Dr. Kiba was a reputed doctor throughout the world. He was such a great doctor that he has even received many international awards for his contribution to women's health...

    "I guess I either overestimated my dreams or underestimated Felicity's importance..."

    Zed mused with a smile.

    Shua~!

    At this moment, with a heaving rustling sound, memories of his life began playing. The trial wanted him to relive every moment which has made him feel pain, despair, and resentment. Perhaps due to his earlier success, the intensity and span of these memories were far greater than those faced by others.

    At the same time, inside the hall.

    Sophia jumped on the floor, her body trembling. Jenina lost all traces of color from her face as she observed the virtual projection of memories that Zed was reliving from the time he turned four.

    On a crowded street, a six-years-old Zed was sitting on a footpath. He has rugged and torn clothes while almost everyone else was clad in sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, jackets, and other winter clothes. He was shivering as he requested for alms. He begged and cried...

    Maybe, the people have grown resistant to the plights of beggars, or for some other reason, no one helped him. His eyes were filled with despair and tears but he continued to sit there, hoping for a miracle.

    He was worried about going empty-handed back to the caretaker as he hasn't eaten anything from almost a day and a half. He knew the caretaker would let him remain starved if he didn't earn enough for purchasing cheap alcohol.

    Just then, a bald, bulky man arrived in front of him and handed him a coin. Zed's eyes brightened up and just as he took the coin in his small hands, the man pulled the coin back.

    Seeing Zed's tearful expression, the man smirked and threw the coin on the street.

    "Take it!" The man laughed and went away.

    Zed ran through the crowded street to find the coin. The people on the street were in a hurry and have no time to care about a ragged boy as he ran through them to find the coin.

    They pressed him among them, and in some time, he lost his footing and collapsed on the road. The people around trampled on him despite his screams. After an unknown amount of time, he escaped with the coin in his hand.

    Despite the footmarks on his body, he smiled and hid the coin as if it was the most precious item in the world.

    "He was a beggar?!" Sophia felt her voice choking.

    Of everything she has known about him, this shocked her the most. If she wasn't aware of the nature of trials and seen the memories with her own eyes, she wouldn't have believed this.

    She stared at the image of his younger self.

    Poor and malnourished.

    She didn't look down at him for his poor background. Her mother has taught her a person's worth was not decided by family but only by the individual.

    Jenina was lost at words.

    She recalled how he carried out a dangerous operation with high-tech operational units. Everything so far denoted he was from an influential background...

    The memories continued to crash into Zed one after another, filled with despair and terror, but much to everyone's shock, his expression was calm.

    Almost everyone in the hall was at least from a middle-class background while many were related to echelons of the society. None of them have faced difficulties like him, and they were sure, they wouldn't want to trade places. While not knowing what hunger and begging felt like, they were more than sure it was something no one wanted to experience.

    As Sophia continued to look at the memories playing, her heart sank. She didn't know why, but looking at him facing so much humiliation and pain in his younger days, her eyes turned misty.

    "Zed..."

    Despite her emotions, she observed the projection. There was no sound and she was grateful for that. Otherwise, she wasn't sure she could handle the scenes of him facing violence from slum dwellers and his caretaker.

    In a new memory, a man with a camera was standing outside a ruined building. In front of him were Zed and other poor kids.

    He lifted a bread and brought it in front of the kids. His manner was similar to a person showing bone to a dog.

    "Want this bread?" The man with camera asked.

    The kids instantly nodded, their mouths watering.

    He tossed the bread, and the five hungry kids jumped on one piece of bread.

    As the kids fought for bread, the man clicked pictures as if he was recording some artistic scene. Zed looked at the man with a bewildered expression as camera flash was projected on them, but he didn't think for any longer and began fighting for bread.

    "This is perfect!" The man said with a satisfied smile. "Such a perfect picture would definitely be appreciated in upcoming art auction!"

    The scene changed to when Zed was twelve years old. He was in a cage-like prison where he has to face another kid for food. The fight, or play to be precise, was an entertainment for the slum overlords.

    At the same time, in the world of white, as this memory resurfaced, Zed let out a yawn.

    "Yeah, I faced some difficulties in my life... so what about it?"

    There was no way this trial could even make him tremble a little. Akshobhya has already made him relive his life a little over three months ago. That was truly torturous unlike this.

    "First that idiot monk and now this trial... why does everyone think past is something to be terrified of?"

    His lips curved into a sadistic smile that was unique to his alter ego. As the smile appeared, the memory paused.

    His smile was filled with mockery and challenge... as if daring the trial to make him experience despair.

    The trial was to test Will. It was to know determination and self-control when one faces the greatest desire and relives the worst moments.

    Seeing him smiling, how could the trial make more of his memories resurface? He has already proved his Will!

    Swoosh~!

    A column of light enveloped him and he was sent out of the portal.

    Inside the hall, everyone was flabbergasted. He was being sent out despite him only experiencing a little over ten years worth of memories?!

    "This is not right! I almost relived the entire twenty-four years of my life!"

    "Same here!"

    "The trial is being unfair!"

    A few people were still complaining when Zed appeared. They turned silent as they felt powerful energy ripples from above.

    The ceiling was covered with an energy cloud, made of myriad colors. The clouds turned into beams of light and rushed at Zed.

    Every pair of eye was locked on the crystalline thread wrapped around his wrist. Whether it was male or female, everyone wanted to know just how much merit he would earn.

    Even before the actual materialization of the beads, people were sure he would earn far more than Sophia and Alistair!

    How could he not after the things he has done?!

    He has broken the illusory world in less than ten seconds. And then the memory test stopped in the middle!!

    After everything, if he didn't gain more beads then that would be the actual shocking event.

    "Please god! Don't let him earn more!"

    Willard, Kieron, and others internally prayed.

    "If you must reward him, just give a few more beads than Sophia!"

    Willard - an atheist- now prayed to every god he knew about. He has muttered dozens of gods' names while repeating his request.

    "Please god! Please! If you accept my request, I would recruit more followers for your cause!"

    Sadly, it seemed gods had no interest in gaining more followers. Right in front of Willard's eyes, countless beads fused with the crystalline thread.

    His throat turned sour, and as he began counting the beads, he lost count after ninety. The beads were the size of a pigeon's eye, so they could easily fill the thread. Plus, now it seemed, more threads have appeared to wrap the remaining beads.

    Willard knew how precious even one bead was... Now, Zed was getting these treasured beads one after another.

    The scene made the intensities of onlookers churn in envy.

    "There is no way this is real!"

    "Over a hundred beads!"

    "I must be imagining things!"

    "My eyes have impaired!"

    "Me as well! I'm seeing double threads instead of one!!"

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    "You as well?!"

    "It would mean...!"

    "No! That couldn't be true!"

    Many youths staggered and lost balance as they counted the beads. A few felt their heads spinning. There were even some who were showing symptoms of a heart attack!

    If Sophia's servant - Aileen- was here, she would have said, "My womanly intuition was right! This kid would truly make geniuses cry to death!"
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