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413 Extremely Evil! Part I of II

    Leonardo was terrified like never before. He dragged his injured body away to create as much as distance he possibly could.

    Alas, no matter how much he tried, he was confined in a certain space. It was like the laws of the space has changed by which no matter how far he ran, he would still be next to Kiba.

    "Please... I didn't do anything!" Leonardo cried as he continued. "We have no animosity for you to target me!"

    "No animosity?" Kiba's expression turned cold. "You tried to murder me and almost killed her... and you still dare say you haven't done anything?"

    Murder him!?

    Almost kill her?!

    Leonardo's eyes unconsciously moved on Red Tiger. He thought of the powerful laser beam he launched on Zed; something that was blocked by the tiger...

    "This can't be!"

    Leonardo's heart pounded madly and he forgot to breathe. His bowels turned loose in fear.

    "Meryl! I don't want any more pies!" Alistair once again screamed, his face sick.

    Leonardo could hear the scream and feel the despair in those words. He was sure whatever ability Kiba used on Alistair was something he never wanted to experience.

    As if sensing Leonardo's fears, Kiba clarified, "Don't fret. What he experienced was something special as I have no plan to kill him."

    Leonardo's pupils dilated.

    Surely he couldn't mean...?!

    No! I don't want to die!

    "You obviously would die here," Kiba said as if it was obvious.

    There was no way he would let Leonardo live after what happened to Red Tiger...

    He hated the very thought of her dying and the resulting conversation he would be forced to have with her orphan cubs.

    This fate was avoided by his timely transformation, but the thought of what could have happened filled his body with murderous intent.

    Feeling the rich murderous intent, Leonardo wet his pants.

    "I have a family!" Leonardo said, his face petrified. "My mom and dad are waiting for me!"

    He was young and didn't want to die. So he begged and used the emotional card in the faintest hopes of survival.

    Kiba has aimed a hand at Leonardo but when he heard Leonardo's words, the destructive waves of energy on his palm died.

    "Haah~ I can show you some mercy."

    A smile that radiated trust and warmth appeared on his face.

    Leonardo's eyes lit up in happiness.

    "It worked?!"

    Leonardo thanked his brain for thinking of mom and dad. He was bathing in ebullition when Kiba continued.

    "You are going to die though," Kiba clarified after a long pause. He didn't want Leonardo to misunderstand.

    "........" Leonardo's heart sank. It was like he was flying thousands of meters above the sky and then brutally smashed down.

    "But since you love your mom and dad so much," Kiba continued with a smile. "You deserve to know about their future."

    Leonardo stared blankly at Kiba.

    How could he know about the future of his parents if he was going to die?!

    And most importantly, he didn't want to die! He loved his parents and he wanted to spend his days with them! Not in the afterlife!

    As he was trying to handle the fear and shock, suddenly, the space around Kiba flickered.

    "I have never done anything like this," Kiba said with a sigh. "But for your sake, I'm risking severe side effects."

    A terrifying aura erupted out like a volcano, making the corridor tremble. The aura concentrated and transformed into a spectral hourglass that floated behind Kiba.

    [[This...!]]

    Enchantia was startled as she felt the nature of his aura.

    [[Temporal currents!]]

    With every passing second, Kiba's face turned pale and blood streamed down from his orifices.

    "I'm offering you Pythia's service for free!"

    Kiba said as he put a hand on Leonardo's head.  The hourglass behind him began rotating at a lightning speed, releasing terrifying temporal currents.

    An incorporeal vortex made of time energy surged out of his palm and enveloped Leonardo.

    "?!"

    Leonardo felt his very consciousness sucked by the vortex. The process didn't even last for a flicker of second and his consciousness passed through the fabric of space and time.

    🌀🌀🌀🌀

    Leonardo didn't even know how long it lasted before he gained senses. When he looked around, he found himself in his modern house.

    "What happened?!"

    Leonardo was shocked out of his wits. He recalled he was in the core region so how could he suddenly appear here?

    He was thinking when he tried to take a step. This was when he realized something peculiar.

    He didn't have a physical body! He neither had eyes, ears, or any organ but he could see and hear everything.

    Leonardo checked his house and was dumbfounded when he checked the year on a virtual interface.

    2027!

    "How could this be?! I'm sure this should be 2025!"

    Leonardo then thought of Kiba's words.

    "I'm in the future!"

    He would have been extremely happy if not for the strange circumstances. He tried to suppress his shock and confusion while moving further.

    "Mom and dad!"

    Leonardo was pleasantly surprised to see his parents in the kitchen.

    His father was fat and plain-looking just like him with a large belly, while his mother was slender and beautiful. Leonardo always wished he has inherited genes from his mom instead of his father. Still, that was something beyond his ability so he could only accept it.

    Presently, his parents were in the middle of a conversation.

    "Sheila, we have to move on with our lives," Leonardo's father - Pratt - rubbed the back of his wife's hand and continued. "We can no longer live in pain."

    "How can you say that?!" Sheila pushed his hands away and slammed her fists on a table. "Our son has died and you want us to move on?"

    Tears dripped down her eyes as she expressed her grief.

    "I didn't mean that," Pratt hugged her and said. "I just can't stand seeing you drowning in sorrow."

    "Easy for you to say!"

    Shiela's beautiful face looked extremely pitiful and as Leonardo saw this, he shivered.

    The news of his death made him astonished and afraid, but what pained him was the grief of his mother.

    He finally understood the importance she held in his life. He regretted the times he has argued with her.

    Leonardo finally realized what people meant when they say a mother's love endures through all.

    "Mom! I'm sorry... your son has caused you so much pain!"

    Leonardo wanted to jump into her arms and pacify her, but he couldn't. He was just a temporal projection of his consciousness...

    In the meantime, Shiela freed herself from her husband's hug and ran out of the kitchen.

    Pratt sat down on a chair with his hands grabbing his forehead.

    "Son... why do you have to die?" Pratt felt a man should never express his emotions but he was having a hard time controlling himself.

    ~beep~

    A beeping sound rang in the kitchen and simultaneously, a virtual screen popped in front of Pratt.

    "Pratt, you don't seem good," A voice came from the screen. "You guys haven't moved on, have you?"

    Pratt looked at the image on the screen. It was a man - a father, just like him. Someone who lost his child in that core region.

    "It is difficult," Pratt answered.

    "I know," The man replied with a bitter smile. "But we can't forever live in the pain."

    "I'm happy that you guys have moved on," Pratt said with a forced smile. "Sometimes I envy you."

    "There is nothing to envy me about," The man sighed and said. "You guys should visit grief center... that would really help."

    "..."

    Leonardo was silently listening to the discussion. He prayed for his parents to grow strong and live happily.

    Just as he waited for the conversation to move forward, the space cracked and he was sucked into a vortex of space and time.

    ...

    Leonardo found himself standing outside a two-storied building.

    "Where am I now?" Leonardo wondered.

    The building in front of him was made of glasses.

    When the sunlight fell on slumped glass panes, beautiful spiraling light reflected out and crashed on the surrounding garden, fountains, and waterfalls. All over, it was an architectural wonder, making one feel peace and serenity.

    "This is so mesmerizing!"

    Leonardo was only in the form of his consciousness but even he could appreciate the beauty of this environment.

    It was relaxing for both body and soul.

    Leonardo gazed in the distance and noticed many tall buildings.

    The fact that such an architectural structure stood alone, in so much open space, while surrounded by vast towers and skyscrapers, it only stated how much money was spent here.

    "Must be some office," Leonardo thought when he saw his parents.

    Surprised, he automatically followed them into the building. The insides of the building were even more stunning with virtual holograms floating all around.

    Leonardo checked the screens upon which images of families were displayed. In some pictures, the families were crying but in the following pictures, the same families were cheerful and smiling.

    "Grief center!"

    Leonardo concluded as he read the texts on those images. He further observed more screens upon which images of international awards and fame received by this grief center were projected.

    Leonardo's parents stepped in front of a crystalline screen on which a mass of text was engraved. It stated the history, aim, and mission of the grief center.

    Leonardo also joined his parents to read the tests.

    [As centuries passed, we humans advanced and achieved what was once deemed impossible. Sadly, in the process, we lost track of qualities that made us humans. Our race became greedy, selfish, and someone who only cares about themselves. This resulted in an unfair world where people did anything to achieve success. In turn, our society saw the rise of wars, killing of innocents, the untimely deaths of kids and children, and bitter tragedies.]

    [This grief center is founded to heal the victims of such crimes. It is built to help you to return to your roots, to become one with nature and find the happiness that you rightfully deserve.]

    Leonardo was stunned by what he read so far. He has rarely seen a grief center founded with such principles.

    He read further and arrived on a paragraph which stated the services in the grief center were free, for everyone, regardless of their background.

    [To exploit tragedies of others for money is an unforgivable sin. If you wish to give us anything, give us a smile, a happy note.]

    "This must be run by some philanthropist!" Leonardo thought with awe.

    His parents were from upper-middle-class and were in no lack of funds, but not everyone was lucky like them.

    Leonardo was admiring the grief center, forgetting for a moment of his fate. He turned towards his parents and noticed them having a chat with some people.

    Leonardo identified many of them. They were parents of youngsters who have joined him in the core region.

    "It has been years since my son didn't return from that adventure," A woman said to Shiela. "I knew the risks but I wanted him to evolve...and when he didn't return, I thought I would never recover."

    The woman took Shiela's hands between hers as she continued, "Nor did I think I could be happy again... But this grief center has helped me recover. I pray it does the same for you."

    Shiela nodded, her face filled with sadness.

    More parents also agreed. Some of them had children who died or suffered grave injuries in other adventures, not related to Desolate Blood Forest.

    The grief council offered help to everyone, with no discrimination.

    A few minutes later, Leonardo followed his parents to the outside of a room.

    The door was locked and outside, a man was sitting.

    "My wife is inside," The man was an acquaintance of Leonardo's parents. "She should be out at any minute."

    Pratt nodded in understanding. Healing was not something that could be done in a group. It required counseling, both solo and with others.

    Furthermore, healing was a process that lasted for months, sometimes even years. After all, it was a matter of emotions and not some physical injury.

    Ten minutes later, a woman stepped out of the room and closed the door. Her face was glowing with an ecstasy, radiating happiness from the very depths of her existence.

    "Dear, how are you feeling?" The woman's husband asked.

    "Never felt better!" The woman answered before kissing him.

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    Leonardo knew this couple. They were the parents of Onur.

    "They have healed!" Leonardo felt hopeful.

    He feared death but this was something he was able to still accept. But not the grief of his parents. ...

    People fear death not only because of their love for life, but also due to concern for their family. They didn't want their loved ones to suffer after they have gone.

    Leonardo was the same regardless of his status as a genius...

    He smiled happily as his father opened the door and stepped in. His mother moved behind him and Leonardo was the last.

    "Please have a seat."

    Leonardo was moving forward when he heard a voice that was strangely familiar. Astonished, he looked ahead and saw a golden-haired man in a doctor's rob.

    If Leonardo has a physical body now, his eyes would have popped out and he would have gotten a heart attack.

    "Dr. Kiba," Pratt shook hands with him. "Thank you for giving us your valuable time."

    "Please, don't embarrass me," Dr. Kiba was extremely polite. "I'm only doing what every doctor is obliged to do."

    He shook hands with Shiela and requested her to sit down.

    "No, Dr," Pratt said while sitting beside his wife. "As the head doctor, and most importantly, the founder of this center, you must be extremely busy... Yet, you find time to heal everyone who has suffered a tragedy."

    "This is the least I could do," Dr. Kiba added with a humble smile.

    "Dr," Shiela called out. "You have been to Desolate Blood Forest, right?"

    Shiela has collected a lot of information about the death of her son. From what she knew, more than 90% of visitors of the core region died. Such a mass-scale tragedy has never taken place in the core region.

    Experts believed some unnatural events took place which resulted in mass extinction...

    "Yes, miss," Dr. Kiba nodded bitterly, "I was a selfish man back then but when I saw how humans, especially youngsters killed, my heart changed."

    Shiela and Pratt nodded. They have heard many rumors about Dr. Kiba so they weren't surprised by his confession.

    "Dr, my son also died there," Shiela said, her eyes filled with tears.

    "Son?!" Dr. Kiba was visibly shocked.

    "Yes," Shiela answered, confused by his shocked reaction.

    "I'm sorry," Dr. Kiba apologized sincerely, "I was informed that the victim was in the early twenties...so I thought you were victim's sister."

    Shiela was surprised.

    She felt she appeared to be in her late thirties, and yet, Dr. Kiba's words implied how he thought of her as a young woman in her twenties!

    She then remembered how he addressed her as a miss some time ago!

    Despite her grief, a part of her felt validated and happy. It was only in times of extreme sadness that one could appreciate a genuine compliment...

    "We are husband-wife," Pratt explained as he realized Dr. Kiba misunderstood their relationship as father-daughter.

    "I'm really sorry for my mistake," Dr. Kiba apologized again before asking, "What was your son's name?"

    "Leonardo," Pratt answered on his wife's behalf.

    Dr. Kiba's eyes momentarily flashed with shock. He quickly masked it and nodded, "I'm really sorry for your loss."

    Like hell, you are sorry!

    Leonardo shouted and screamed. He arrived behind Kiba and tried to strangle him, but he then remembered he was just a phantom of the past. He has no materialistic presence!

    "Fucking bastard! You killed so many of us both as Zed and Kiba! And yet you are giving grief counseling to our parents?!"

    Leonardo's consciousness was on the brink of exploding. He wished he has his physical body back so that he could expose this doctor.

    Just what type of man first orchestrate a tragedy and then heal its victims?!

    He was cursing when he noticed his father leaving the room.

    "Shiela, as I just said, your first counseling session would be solo," Dr. Kiba explained, his voice professional.

    "I understand," Shiela barely nodded.

    "Before I start, I wish to request something," Dr. Kiba politely said.

    "Request?" Shiela looked at him.

    "Yes," Dr. Kiba nodded and said, "Stop blaming yourself... you aren't responsible for what happened to your son, so don't let guilt devour you."

    Shiela was astonished. For years, she has been secretly blaming both herself and her husband for her son's death. No one understood her deepest fears, and yet, he understood it from the very start.

    "Society conditions our thought process, especially when it comes to women who are mothers," Dr. Kiba explained with a barely audible sigh. "We are unconsciously trained how we are supposed to feel, behave, and react in certain patterns... This is the main reason why you can't move on."

    "Doctor..." Shiela was startled.

    "Like in cases of mothers, they are supposed to be selfless figures," Dr. Kiba left his chair and sat in a chair beside Shiela. "This is something that's unnatural... and we have to change that."

    "Change?!" Shiela asked in confusion.

    Leonardo was shell-shocked by the conversation that followed. In his entire life, he has never witnessed anything like this.

    Kiba explained psychological principles in simple words, as if to let her know what she was feeling was not what nature wanted. He used jokes and dry humor as he continued the counseling.

    In some thirty minutes, Leonardo saw how his mother was both weeping and smiling.

    "He is really a doctor?!"

    Kiba used charming words, subtly, and as she cried, he wiped her tears.

    "What's going on?!" Leonardo didn't know why but he was having a very bad feeling. Since he was a spectator, he could comprehend things that his mom couldn't.

    Leonardo was trying to make a sense of the bad premonition when he noticed something in a dustbin under the doctor's desk.

    A condom!

    There was no smell of sex in the room thanks to air purifiers, but Leonardo was sure that the condom was used recently... over an hour or so ago.

    He then recalled the previous patient was Onur's mother. She was glowing wonderfully, and this made him feel despair.

    "No! I'm misunderstanding!"

    Leonardo was sure he was overthinking due to his intense hatred. He reasoned his mind was trying to cook up theories...

    Still, the bad feeling continued to swell into his consciousness. He looked around in the room even as his mother received counseling.

    "What is the meaning of this?!" Leonardo was crestfallen as he read a list of recognition and awards Dr. Kiba received.

    In those recognitions, there was a letter, almost like a fan-letter, addressed to a certain Doctor. He knew it was addressed to Kiba given it was in his room, but the letter didn't mention his name.

    It only stated a title.

    Dr. NTR!

    "No! I must be imagining things!" Leonardo chided himself for overthinking. Still, his attention wouldn't move on from those two words.

    Dr. NTR...
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