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403 Intense Greed!

    Enchantia returned back to her dimension - The Hall of Legacies; a dimension with no definite end or beginning.

    As she returned, the pool of crystalline liquid and the floating orbs flashed with blinding radiance.

    Swoosh~!

    Her incorporeal form dissolved into vapors and disappeared into the radiance. Slowly, the dimension reverted to a state of tranquility.

    [[This should create some entertainment.]]

    Enchantia's voice echoed through the entire dimension. It was like she was everywhere but also nowhere.

    As her voice echoed, on the surface of the crystalline pool, ripples swept out. Through the ripples, a projection of Zed and other contestants appeared.

    All eyes were locked on Zed and the black band on his right wrist. The red and blue jewels on the band glinted brightly, attracting the attention of everyone. It was like they were the only things that mattered in the world.

    As the expression of top geniuses flared with greed and envy, a burst of soft laughter echoed in the Hall of Legacies.

    [[Humans never fail to amuse. Greed, envy, desire, and an innate sense of pride turns them so stupid.]]

    For over a century, she has observed the worst of humanity. She has seen them murdering each other for reasons she considered stupid.

    Lust, wealth, and plain arrogance.

    So, Enchantia obviously knew the effects her actions would have.

    [[The young ones are even more amusing.]]

    ✢✢✣

    Inside the palace, Zed lowered his hand.

    "Zed," Sophia glanced at his band and continued, "I don't think the world has ever seen a contestant like you!"

    Zed turned towards her, waiting for her to explain.

    "Not only you cheated in your trials, but you have formed such a grand reputation that the top examiner passed you directly from the rest of rounds! Most likely, the examiner saw no reason for you to participate further and continue cheating!"

    "....."

    "Mom was wrong for once! Cheating does have advantages!" Sophia exclaimed with starry eyes.

    "....."

    The corners of his mouth twitched.

    Sophia noticed his awkward expression, and in response, she giggled, "I'm kidding!"

    "....."

    Nearby, Jenina and others from her group broke out of the trance. They looked at Zed in shock and awe.

    So far, every moment they spent with him has been filled with unexpected. Whether it was his expertise in multiple fields or his unique kind disposition, everything has only shocked them.

    "How can such a kind man fare so well?"

    Jenina thought of his actions so far especially how he protected the aliens in the world of crystal. He was kind to the point that it was almost annoying, and yet, he survived and achieved which even the shrewdest mind couldn't.

    Could this be karma?

    Was the universe rewarding him for his selfless actions?!

    Jenina was trying to make sense of the recent events when she heard Divya asking, "You are here for the lady named Felicity, right?"

    Zed brought his eyes on her before nodding. It was not some secret so there was nothing to hide.

    "You must really love her for you to come here!" Rita remarked with traces of envy in her voice.

    In the present era, everyone was selfish and concepts like true love only existed in fairy tales. In some places, especially the high society, selfishness was to such a degree that even the relationship between parent and child has lost its innocence and pureness.

    The relationship between lovers didn't even warrant any mention.

    Whether it was a male or a female, they would be ready to proclaim love with mighty words, but when the time came to walk the talk, they would back out.

    That was what Divya and most women believed. At least, they did before meeting Zed.

    Now, knowing that a handsome, talented, kind and sincere man was here for a woman, how could they not feel envy?

    "Why couldn't there be more men like him?" Divya internally wondered.

    Sophia had no such thoughts, and she only looked at Zed. She was waiting for him to reply to Divya's remark.

    "Of course, I love her," Zed replied with a warm smile. "She is the best!"

    When Sophia heard this, she didn't know why but her heart sank. An unpleasant sensation devoured her body.

    "What's happening to me?" Sophia wondered.

    She was trying to process this feeling when she heard Zed continuing.

    "Then again, as her brother, I might be biased," Zed completed his words, his expression filled with reminiscence.

    Brother?!

    Sophia's eyes brightened and her mood lit up. Much to her amazement, her cute face glowed with happiness.

    Jenina, Divya, and Rita were dumbfounded.

    He is here for his sister?!

    That girl named Felicity is not his girlfriend?!

    Jenina took a deep breath.

    Right!

    He only said, love! And yet, we reached conclusions and misunderstood love between siblings!

    So he must be single, right?!

    "Sister? Wasn't he an orphan?" Divya muttered to herself.

    She recalled the second part of the trial where many memories from the time he turned four to twelve played. While there was no second and everything took place in fast motions, but based on the glimpses she saw, she concluded he was an orphan.

    She was curious but she didn't dare ask. After all, bringing out such a sensitive topic carried the risk of offending him.

    Zed didn't see their expressions. He checked the black band for a few seconds before saying, "Let's meet later."

    Sophia was startled but then she nodded. She understood that he has no need to participate in the upcoming trials so most likely he would leave, at least temporarily.

    "All the best!" Sophia wished him well.

    "Thanks!" Zed thanked her. "And to you as well!"

    Zed turned around and enveloped his body with flames. He then shot into a distance, leaving behind a streak of fire.

    Jenina and others were surprised. He didn't even give them time to say anything before leaving.

    His speed was faster than a rocket, leaving them no opportunity of catching up.

    ✡✡✡

    Ten minutes later.

    Zed stopped into a long corridor; more than two miles long and ceiling three hundred meters away from the floor.

    "Haah~!"

    His face was a bit pale as he has rushed here with his top speed.

    "No time to waste," Zed stuffed an energy pill into his mouth.

    He checked his surroundings with a thoughtful expression.

    The walls and ceilings were engraved with white gemstones out of which rays of light swept out.

    Zed rubbed a hand over the surface of the walls and he carefully examined the gemstones. After a few minutes, his eyes flickered as he arrived in front of a gemstone, similar to a marquise-cut diamond.

    The gemstone was the size of an adult's eye. It was well polished and dazzling with its reflection sparkling.

    "Sealstone," Zed muttered, his expression grave. "This must be how Royal Will of the World is suppressing power Cosmic here."

    Sealstones were created at the beginning of time, billions of years ago. They were a product of nature, a balance to check power.

    Zed connected with his storage ring and took out a few items. He then brought his eyes back on the sealstone.

    "These stones were capable of suppressing the power Cosmic to such an extent that a god-like being can turn into a mortal," Zed recalled the details he knew.

    In Celestial Elysian Plane, the high-level war criminals and sinners were punished by planting Sealstones within their very spirit. Then they would be exiled into forbidden lands of no return.

    Most times, they would become food for dangerous predators...

    "Thankfully, this sealstone has been active from thousands of years, if not millions," Zed thought while pressing the items on the wall. "And if I truly go out, I can overpower its suppression like I first thought, but that would be ultimately catastrophic for Felicity... No matter what happens, I can't resort to that method."

    Zed fixed his vision on the wall.

    What he has retrieved from storage were the most powerful explosives he carried. He planted them on the sealstone.

    "It wouldn't be enough," Zed then took out 95% of explosives he carried. "Nor would this be."

    Zed sighed before retrieving a hovercraft the size of an insect. It was the same high-tech alien hovercraft he earlier used to help Sophia and her middle-aged servant.

    Presently, it was in its shrunk form.

    Zed didn't think much and put the insect-size hovercraft among the explosives. He then rapidly backed away after clicking on a timer.

    Twenty seconds later.

    The explosives exploded in a chain reaction, emitting dazzling rays of destructive light.

    BOOM

    The high-tech hovercraft - which has survived from time unknown - broke into pieces. Its power reactor and engine imploded from inside out, intensifying the might of explosion.

    Flashes of plasma waves shook the air into exploding temperature like a small-scale nuclear fusion.

    Zed shut his eyes tightly while still retreating and covering his ears.

    The sound of explosion was ear-numbing, and if not for the special materials used for building the corridor, the sound alone was capable of turning a few skyscrapers into dust.

    Thankfully, the enhanced materials prevented the sound from echoing forward. It also restricted the explosion cloud from expanding beyond a few meters.

    Zed was relying on these properties. He believed this would make the explosion concentrate its might on the sealstone and destroy it.

    A few seconds later, Zed opened his eyes. His expression turned downcast as he looked ahead.

    The sealstone was still emitting radiance!

    "Damn!"

    Zed quickly arrived in front of the sealstone. There were hundreds of cracks on the sealstone, and yet, from them, rays of light swept out.

    As for the wall, it was completely intact. That was something he expected...

    Zed was thinking of his next course of action when he heard breathing sound from behind.

    "As expected of a slum dweller! You really know how to run!" A familiar sound voice entered his ears.

    Zed turned around to see the voice belonged Raxu. Alongside him, Onur was standing with a grin. Next to Onur, there were two more mutants whose name Zed didn't know.

    The four of them were the ones he initially met in the forest due to Sophia. They were also there in the earlier trails but he didn't have any contact with them.

    "We met again," Zed said with his signature polite smile. "I didn't expect to meet this soon though."

    Raxu eyed him with viciousness.

    Around a week ago, Zed has defeated him when Raxu tried to send a droid to spy on a hot spring where women were having a bath. That episode was something extremely embarrassing for him, and back then, he has sworn to teach this punk a lesson.

    After the first trial, when he learned of Zed's poor background, the thirst for revenge was only stronger. He has even insulted Zed along with other contestants for his poor lineage.

    Onur didn't reply and just smiled. His eyes were fixed on the black band and the two jewels on it.

    Zed blinked at them after getting no response.

    "The next trial should start in some time," Zed kindly reminded them.

    "You don't understand do you, slum dweller?" Raxu mocked him. "We are here to grab that band! So hand it to us and we will show some mercy."

    "What do you mean? Don't tell me you plan to beat me!?" Zed's expression was filled with confusion. He couldn't understand how they could do such a thing.

    "Obviously!" Onur finally spoke in disdain.

    He has known Zed's character so he was well-aware of how shocking this situation would be for him. After all, they were supposedly friends or at least, well-meaning acquaintances.

    "You can only blame your poor luck!" Raxu answered while charging at him. He slanted his arms diagonally before opening them downward.

    Screech~!

    The air around him rapidly concentrated into sharp wind blades. The concentration of air was so high that the wind blades were visible to the naked eye.

    "You are really attacking me!"  Zed has his eyes wide in shock.

    As the wind blades rushed forward, the sound of air sliced apart reverberated. It was like two razor-sharp swords were cutting through everything.

    Flames erupted under Zed's feet and he jumped backward. He raised a hand and launched two fireballs that slammed into the wind blades.

    The fireballs stopped the wind blades for a moment but then they moved forward, at much faster speed.

    "Don't even think of defeating me! After last time, I have advanced!" Raxu coldly said. "A slum bastard like you with no background has zero chances of surviving!"

    As the wind blades arrived in front of him, Zed ducked sidewards, narrowly avoiding the blade but falling in the process.

    Raxu's lips curved up.

    So what if you have dodged my starting attack?! This was enough to put you in backfront! That's how strong I'm now!

    By now, Raxu was just fifty meters from Zed. He stretched his hands and swirling wind concentrated into his hand.

    "Orphan, let me show you my new skill! Wind vortex!" Raxu was saying this when he saw Zed's pupils shrinking to the size of a needle.

    What happened?

    Haah~! He must be terrified!

    He was thinking this when he heard Zed say," Enchantia! Why are you here again?!"

    Enchantia?!

    That powerful entity from before?!

    Raxu was dumbfounded and afraid.

    Was she coming here because I targetted this band?! But didn't she say she wouldn't care what happens with the band!?

    Shit! I must apologize and tell her this is a misunderstanding!

    Raxu quickly turned around, his entire body soaked in cold sweat.

    "Huh? There is no one there?!" Raxu saw no one but only his friends who were staring at him.

    He was startled to see that their expressions were filled with alarm!

    What's wrong? Why are they looking at me like that?!

    He has a bad premonition and he rapidly turned around.

    As he did, all he noticed was two fists, wrapped in flames, punching right into the chest. The moment those fists made contact, the flames exploded, creating a force of intense magnitude.  The impact sent him tumbling into the air and crash into the ceiling.

    Hot, fresh blood sprayed out from his mouth like a geyser. Broken teeth were sent flying along with the blood.

    "Argh!" Raxu cried in intense pain. He felt his ears ringing and bone cracking from the crash.

    "I might be a slum dweller, bastard, orphan, or any of those words you called," Zed's voice entered his ears as he began falling down from the ceiling. "But at least I'm not an idiot who gets distracted in the middle of a battle."

    Raxu coughed up more blood in the free fall. He wanted to curse but the sudden attack has resulted in massive injuries that wracked his body, leaving him in no capacity to retort.

    Just as he was about to slam on the ground, from the corners of his eyes, he noticed streams of fire rushing at him, like enormous cobras, ready to devour him.

    "Noooo!"

    This was the final word he muttered in his life. Afterward, all his mouth let out was blood-curling screams, filled with raging pain and despair.

    At the same time, Onur and the other two mutants were running towards Raxu to help him, but just sixty meters away, they stopped as they saw the streams of fire wrapping his entire body.

    By the time Raxu slammed on the floor, he was literally a man on fire!

    His entire body was burning, no, grilling with a sizzling sound. Charred flesh fell off from his body, exposing pure-white bones.

    The smell of rotten flesh filled the air...

    Onur's expression turned unsightly.

    He looked on as Zed stepped on burning Raxu, making the latter scream further.

    "Oops! I thought you were dead!" Zed apologized by making a slight bow. "I hope your highness can forgive a poor slum bastard for this."

    Raxu could only wail in agony. By now, even his inside organs and bones were melting, making the pain surge like a volcano.

    He wished he could faint and just die, but sadly, the raging flames didn't even give him this mercy.

    "Well, sorry for defeating you so quickly as well," Zed added further.

    "I truly apologize for not giving you a chance to show off your new skill... but please understand, I meant no disrespect.

    "You see, there are many idiots here, and more would be coming soon. So, I can't afford to waste my energy on an idiot like you."

    As Zed stepped forward, a radiant smile appeared on his face. Raxu was already on brink of death and he couldn't see, but Onur and others could.

    The smile was murderous, sadistic and even pleasant... a smile that could never fit a human!

    Onur felt a chill crawling up his spine. He didn't know why, but the moment he saw the smile, he felt as if the man in front of him was a devil.

    "What happened to him?!"

    Onur couldn't believe the sudden change in Zed's disposition.

    His expression was still polite and respectful like a perfect gentleman, but everything else was devilish.
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