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421 Could You Feel It?!

    "Nice meeting you here, my queer friend."

    The words were like an avalanche as they entered the ears of dumbstruck Carmen. His palms sweated and moistened the lantern in his hands.

    "W-who?"

    Carmen asked as the hand of the owner of the voice continued to rest on his shoulder.

    He wanted to turn around and check the person behind him, but he has a strange feeling that it wouldn't be the smart thing to do. The feeling was a mixture of dread and warning from the very depths of his existence.

    "You can't even identify your friend?" Kiba asked in return.

    "I..." Carmen was sure it was the first time he was hearing this voice.

    That was to be expected as he has met only Zed and not Kiba. He didn't know it though so he once again started thinking whom the voice belonged to.

    A few minutes passed but Carmen made no progress, much to the disappointment of Kiba.

    "Haah~ You can't even identify a friend," Kiba let out a soft sigh before continuing, "Poets and singers were right.

    "A man in love forgets about everyone except for his lover. If in my place, it was Launcelot, you would have known even before he arrived behind you... just from his breathe!"

    The mention of love and Launcelot was no less than an earthquake. Carmen flinched and the lantern fell out of his hands.

    Ever since that fateful night, his life has never been the same. Till now, he didn't even know how he and Launcelot engaged in that puke-worthy activity.

    The reasons for that activity might be beyond his scope of understanding, but he relived the memories of that activity every day.

    No, not only every day, but every minute of his life.

    If by chance he didn't, others would make him relieve by their behavior. They would be so understanding, compassionate and accepting that his very soul would quiver.

    This was why he didn't join anyone for exploring this palace. He wanted to live a few moments in peace...

    Now, not only was he reminded of that unforgettable night, it was done with a touch of romance that made his skin crawl.

    It reminded him of how Sophia reacted after that night. She has said he was her best friend... the only man with whom she could share everything!

    Back then, he was very happy, but when she told him the reason for her newfound trust, despair devoured him.

    She found him BFF material because romantic movies always showed gays in such light! Gays were trustworthy for they could have no nefarious intents towards women! They were safe! At least, that's what those stupid romance movies suggested!

    And a similar scene was happening now!

    'Those **ing poets and singers have made even breathing romantic! Like hell, can a man in love identify his love just by way of breathing! Or feel a lover's existence by the resonance of hearts!'

    Nowadays he was even afraid of gazing the moon or appreciating any spellbinding nature scene. There was a risk of it being considered as something romantic like thinking about love, or comparing their beauty with Launcelot!

    'I hate poets, singers, directors... Every one of them should just die!'

    Carmen wished he could strangle every creative artist in this world. Why do they have to romanticize every single damn thing?! Couldn't they leave breathing, natural scenery and a few other things alone?!

    "Why are you so silent and dazed?"

    Kiba's question brought Carmen back to reality. He was so lost in anger that he has forgotten the situation he was in.

    "Ah! You must be thinking about Launcelot!" Kiba exclaimed in understanding. "A man in love often enters a state of trance... I thought that only happened in movies, but I guess I was wrong!"

    Kiba was all praises for the love between Carmen and Launcelot.

    "Someday when I find the woman of my dream, I really want my love to be as pure as yours and Launcelot's," Kiba said with a bit of envy in his voice. "You both are an example of true love."

    "No! I'm not in love with him!" Carmen began crying. "There is no love, much less true love! In fact, I hate him!"

    "There is no need to be so shy and pretend otherwise," Kiba said, his voice filled with kindness. "I might be envious of pure love, but I would never wish malice."

    "You are misunderstanding!"

    Carmen realized that he was once again misunderstood. His refusal of any love was understood as an excuse to avoid any envy and malice directed towards him and Launcelot due to their 'true love'.

    After all, in today's era, there was no selfless or true love. Yet, here he and Launcelot was a classic example of something that doesn't exist. So naturally, it brought envy and ill intent of others. especially straight couples.

    As Carmen thought of this, he collapsed on his knees and wept in despair.

    "Just what do I have to do to clear this misunderstanding?!"

    Carmen was broken mentally.

    "Why can't someone understand that I'm not a faggot?! Why?!"

    He dreaded the day he would leave the core region and return back to his family and friends in civil society. Just the thought of how everyone would react made him breathless. He has a feeling that the recent days would seem very happy compared to what the future held for him...

    "You know, you gifted Launcelot your body and soul," Kiba said with a sigh.

    "Gift?" Carmen was already broken and shedding tears. Now hearing what he gifted made his intensities twist. He just wanted to dig a hole and hide forever.

    "You should gift your friends some materialistic things, anything, to ensure they understand you haven't forgotten them just because you are in love!" Kiba said while lifting a finger.

    At the same time, Carmen's jaw dropped as his storage bracelet flashed with bright light. A beam of light surged out and flew up, turning into an ancient tablet.

    The tablet seemed to be made of stone, but not stone. It seemed to be made of metal, but not metal.

    "Even a broken tablet would do!" Kiba finished his statement.

    "What?! No!"

    Carmen was shocked out of his wits.

    This tablet was something he considered to be his most precious possession. Based on his assessment, he was sure even the great aristocrat families would find it truly valuable!

    That's how precious it was!

    And now it was taken away!

    "Give my regards to Launcelot!"

    Kiba said after which he turned into a stream of light and shot away.

    "NOOOOOOOO!"

    By the time, Carmen jumped on his feet and turned around, he saw nothing but air.

    "What sin have I done for God to punish me in such a way?!"

    Carmen once again fell on the floor with a loud thud. No one could understand the depths of his sorrow.

    He was broken both mentally and financially.

    A mile away.

    Kiba examined the tablet with his powers as he flew through the palace. He has observed it as Zed, but Zed lacked the means to carry out a detailed examination. All Zed was able to do was read the alien text engraved on it and nothing else.

    "As expected... it is related to that artifact."

    Kiba thought with a heavy expression. He gripped the tablet tightly and then transferred it to his storage dimension.

    Kiba let out a breath of air before increasing his speed. The time has come for him to leave this palace.

    ✯✯✯✯✯

    Outside the palace, there was a fantasy land. The palace was as vast as a town while the land was as vast as a city.

    It was filled with ancient relics, broken statues, gardens, pools, labyrinths, towers, space capsules, aircrafts, fragments of spaceships, etc.

    The palace had over five thousand living beings from Earth. The fantasy land, on the other hand, didn't even have fifty people belonging to Earth!

    The reason for such a high difference was simple: the land was not a part of the trial zone.

    Back when Zed first arrived in the central zone, he was surprised by the absence of Ashlyn and a few others whose age was lower than twenty-five. He then believed they must not have participated in the trial zone but rather explored the other regions in the central zone.

    Unlike the trial zone, these other regions had no rules or supervision, though they were comparatively far more dangerous. Finding treasures and resources was difficult.

    This was the reason why everyone preferred to participate in the trial zone. It offered guaranteed opportunities and treasures as long as one could successfully pass all trials. Even the experience of trial was a treasure in itself.

    Despite this, there were people who explored these other regions. They were the people who wanted something specific and have some clues on how to obtain it.

    And Kiba's very reason to enter the core region was somewhere in this land! He knew it would be within his range even if he was participating in the trial zones as the final trial would bring him near his source of desire.

    Of course, now that he has transformed into Kiba sooner, the plans changed...

    Presently, under an enormous statue of a knight.

    An identical pair of female twins, in mid-twenties, was facing a group of eight. The twins looked completely bewitching, ravishing, and sexy even in the middle of a battle.

    A middle-aged man who was a Level IV mutant, couldn't help but observe the figure of one of the twins.

    Long slender legs, perky tits, and tight, little round ass.

    Even her hot pink color with sky blue highlights was charming and enticing.

    "You are a creepy old man!"

    The middle-aged man has just taken a glance at her figure when her voice entered his ears. Alongside, a large crimson ring of light appeared in front of him.

    "If daddy was here, he would have protected his little girl from you!"

    The woman said cutely just as the crimson ring emitted a strong devouring force. The middle-aged man's heart sank and he let out a tragic scream.

    Every droplet of blood inside his body was ripping apart the vessels and rushing out. Holes appeared throughout his body, even in his eyes, and blood shot out.

    "AHHHHH!"

    The man let out a final scream as his entire blood mass left his body and surged into the crimson ring. Like a hungry beast, the ring absorbed the blood mass and turned brighter.

    The dry and broken corpse of the middle-aged man slumped down.

    "So scary!"

    The woman said with fear in her voice as she checked the unsightly corpse.

    At the same time, two men slammed down powerful attacks on her but she continued to look horrified by the sight of corpse.

    Their attacks were dazzling and radiating streams of destructive energy, but just as they were about to crash into her, the two men howled in terror.

    The blood inside their bodies clotted, almost solidified, and stopped flowing. Just a droplet of blood clotting could be fatal, but in their case, entire blood has clotted.

    They died on the spot, their attacks never landing...

    "A girl couldn't even step outside with such terrifying man out there!" She exclaimed with a downcast expression on her face. "That's why I need my daddy!"

    The bodies of two dead men erupted with crimson beams of light and flew in her hands. They converged into a small ring of blood which she twisted.

    "Madison! Do you feel it?"

    Just then, the other twin called out.

    She was exactly a copy of her sister except for her hair which was silver blonde. Her hair was also comparatively short, though similarly punk-styled.

    Currently, she was facing the other five mutants who were all Level IV! Beta-rank!

    "Lillian, feel what?" Madison asked in confusion.

    "The tension!" Lillian answered with a vibrant glow on her face. "The sexual tension! Our daddy is near!!"

    Madison's face instantly brightened.

    Yes! She could feel it!

    Her daddy was near!

    "He will protect us!" Lillian brushed away a trail of silver hair from her face. "Protect his lil' girls."

    The five Beta-rank mutants were dumbstruck.

    Protect whom?!

    We are the ones who need protection!

    Not you!

    "They are insane!"
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