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445 Conflict!

    "You kept your words."

    Robots and droids continued to explode with ear-piercing sound, but Ashlyn's voice wasn't suppressed.

    At least, not for Kiba who was floating thousands of meters away.

    Her voice was cold and desolate but it contained traces of warmth that resonated with his heart. This combined with her faint smile formed an effect that put him into a trance.

    No matter how many times he looked at her, he couldn't get used to her beauty. She was the most beautiful woman he has ever known and seen.

    But, unlike the previous times, he wasn't dazed due to her divine beauty. It was due to the warmth that originated from the relationship between them.

    The relationship that was neither romantic or familial.

    It was something that could only exist between people participating in an adventure together; forming a bond of trust and reliance.

    It was more than friendship...

    "I did promise we will meet again," Kiba replied as he flew towards her. "There is no way I will renege on that."

    As he flew further, a robot enveloped in explosion lunged at him, shooting laser beams. The robot had no sense of pain and it only did what it was programmed to do: kill intruders.

    The laser beams swept forward with a whistling sound and surging heatwaves that threatened to destroy everything in their path.

    Kiba didn't make any movement, but the laser beams bounced back on the robot and it exploded into pieces.

    With a tapping sound, he landed in front of Ashlyn. Her emerald eyes sparkled...

    Around them, blinding explosions continued to swirl through the air with destructive might. The raging might did little as the two looked at each other; ignoring everything else.

    A few seconds later, as the explosions died, the two broke eye contact.

    Ashlyn's expression reverted to its original state - cold and poker. Kiba has grown used to her personality, and understood a part of her mentality. So, he still smiled and walked alongside her as they stepped through splinters and fragments of robots.

    Some distance away, Fiona rushed towards them in the form of a dazzling light beam. She stopped in front of them, astonished.

    Multiple thoughts ran through her mind as she observed Ashlyn. She thought only she and Kiba were here, but now, seeing another person, and that too, someone acquainted with him shocked her.

    For a moment, she felt he has schemed against her, but then thinking of everything so far, she knew she couldn't be more wrong.

    For someone like him, he didn't need to plot against her in such a manner.

    Ashlyn looked at Fiona without any emotions. After a moment, she stepped forward and continued forward.

    "What's going on here?"

    Fiona could only grip her forehead. She knew this woman was a competitor but she didn't dare attack her. She could only follow along...

    As Ashlyn tread through the hall, she noticed almost all traps were destroyed. She didn't need to think to know who was responsible.

    Twenty minutes later, they stepped in front of a raised platform; surrounded by a force field. The force field was a transparent energy wall; surging with lethal ripples on its surface.

    There was no doubt that the force field was countless times dangerous than the combined might of all traps... it was almost indestructible.

    Kiba checked the container placed on the platform and then glanced at Ashlyn. He has no idea what type of genetic matter was placed, but he knew it was the reason for her arrival in the core region.

    He then glanced at Fiona. Both of them were here for same thing...

    "Such a dilemma," Kiba sighed.

    As he was lost in thoughts, the women began retrieving gadgets and objects from their storage devices.

    Ashlyn has taken out a crystalline pyramid, the size of a baby's palm. It was embedded with runes that resembled circuits.

    Fiona has taken out a transparent ball. Inside it, there was a glowing gas swirling.

    "You must have made a lot of preparations," Kiba remarked while examining their items. "Sadly, neither of them is enough."

    Ashlyn's eyes flickered and she looked at him. She then thought of what her parents said and realized what her parents were relying on. They must have wanted her to break her seals and use the pyramid to unlock the force field.

    Fiona was startled. She was thinking of relying on the ball to destroy the force field

    "Could the family have underestimated force field?"

    She thought of her aristocrat family who has grand plans on this alien matter.

    Before she could contemplate further, Kiba stepped in front of the force field. His eyes flashed with vibrant glow and he examined the entire area.

    After a few seconds later, he crouched down.

    Near the edge of the force field, he tapped a finger on a tile. The tile sank in, and then a virtual screen popped up.

    On the screen, alien text floated like a puzzle. His gaze narrowed as he read the text and contemplated its meaning.

    "That matter must be truly dangerous."

    Kiba lifted his head to eye the container. The text didn't say much but only implied grave danger.

    He didn't think further and began working. His fingers moved in a blur motion on the screen and new texts flashed.

    One after another, hundreds of lines ran on the screen. He observed them in equally fast speed and selected options accordingly.

    Five minutes later, there was a buzzing sound and the radiance from the force field dimmed. Under the shocked gaze of Fiona, the lethal ripples faded and the force field flickered. In just a few seconds, the force field completly vanished, as if it didn't exist, to begin with.

    "No way...!"

    Fiona looked at the platform, completly dumbstruck, and almost stumbled.

    What should have cost a lot of trouble and resulted in great efforts just simply vanished?!

    Her body trembled as her eyesight moved from the platform to Kiba. If he had used his amazing powers, she could have accepted this result, but he didn't spend any energy at all.

    Fiona obviously realized he understood alien languages and alien machines. That itself, given the negligible time he took, was enough to make her believe he was an alien in human skin.

    Ashlyn looked at Kiba without any shock or surprise. She already knew how versed he was in alien technology just like his younger brother.

    At the same time, Kiba began standing up. As he did, his lips spread into a grin.

    "Why are you guys lashing on the container as if your life depends on it?"

    Fiona was stunned. Neither she nor Ashlyn were lashing towards the container. They were standing in their initial position, so what was he even talking about?

    Ashlyn realized what he meant. And by the time, her discs began rotating and swept out, painful screams ringed in the air.

    In front of her, Kiba has both his hands raised in opposite sides as if he was grabbing something. If not for the screams, Fiona would have thought he was grabbing air.

    Quickly, the air warped and two men appeared in thin air; their necks clutched by Kiba. Their bodies were on the border of reality and illusion.

    Ashlyn wasn't surprised. Before, she has met a man who has been invisible and tried to attack her. If not for his killing intent and her unsealed state, she wouldn't have noticed him back then.

    Fiona, on the other hand, was startled. Despite her powers and being on guard, she didn't feel their presence at all, till now.

    The two men whimpered, their eyes bulging out in both pain and disbelief. They belonged to an organization affiliated to an aristocrat family. And they have been in this section for almost four days.

    After concluding they couldn't break the force field, they decided to wait till someone could. That's what they did. And when the force field disappeared, they leaped towards the container to grab it before anyone else could.

    Just as they were leaping through the air, Kiba's hands locked on their necks, much to their horror.

    The two men groaned and opened their lips to beg. But before they could, he snapped their necks and tossed them away. They fell some distance away with a loud thud.

    "Most likely, when the core region opened the previous time, people have tried to retrieve this container without any success... This time, those factions trying to get the container are doing the same."

    Kiba thought as he lowered his hands. He guessed that information about this alien matter was confined to a handful of organizations. Otherwise, this section would be bombarded with more mutants.

    "What is it though?" Kiba was curious about what could pique the interest of an aristocrat family and others to such a strong extent.

    He didn't make a move to grab the container though. Doing that would mean going against his words.

    Fiona and Ashlyn realized that from his inaction. Fiona saw Ashlyn's discs rotating like a spinning wheel, and she then looked at Kiba.

    "We had a deal... you would help me..."

    She was saying when Kiba coldly cut her in between.

    "And that's why you are alive so far," Kiba said icily.

    Fiona flinched and thought of all the dangers so far. They have been far worse than what her family told her. If not for his help, it would have been impossible to avoid them. Even if she has surived, she would have been forced to retreat...

    She has a feeling that some elder in the family was targetting her by sharing wrong information that could result in death.

    She gripped her fists and nodded.

    "The first to take the container would be the winner," Kiba added.

    "...Ok," Fiona summoned her strength. Currents of light whipped on her body and she charged straight at the container.

    Ashlyn did the same, without saying anything.

    The speed of the two was such that sonic booms resounded in the area. In just a blink of an eye, they both arrived next to the container and swept their hands out.

    Fiona channeled her light energy and surged it out through her left hand, aiming straight at Ashlyn. The latter swiftly moved her neck to the side, and at the same time, her discs spun forward.

    Destructive blue ripples cascaded out and the air distorted. Feeling a grave sense of crisis, Fiona jumped backward.

    Just as she jumped back, Ashlyn grabbed the container. Her eyes flashed with emotions for the first time. She has succeeded in taking what her adopted parents wanted... This would help in fulfilling her parents' wishes.

    Fiona has ducked the discs and rumbled straight at Ashlyn to take the container away from her. Just then, a hand arrived in front of her and she stopped.

    "Ashlyn took it and you lost the chance," Kiba stepped in front of her. "So just back away."

    He wouldn't have interfered even if Ashlyn lost. Fiona was adamant and her expression turned ugly, but there was little she could do.

    Kiba eyed her without saying anything further. Behind, Ashlyn tightly held the container, with her eyes closed.

    Suddenly, Kiba's right hand quivered.

    The black band Enchantia gave Zed vibrated and the blue jewel embedded in it glowed.

    "Enchantia?" Kiba looked at the band in surprise.

    [[Ever since we first met, you have never trusted me and always looked at me with cynicism.]]

    Enchantia's telepathic voice ringed through his mind.

    [[It is true that I want you to acquire Legacy Orbs, but I have no ill will for you. Sadly, you always misunderstood me.]]

    "Why are you saying this all of a sudden?" Kiba was in the middle of a possible confrontation and this wasn't the right time for her to speak.

    [[For your sake... to prove that I care about you.]] Enchantia answered in a warning tone.  [[Don't let that girl take away the container. Otherwise, you will definitely regret this.]]

    Alongside her warning, an image of Ashlyn flashed in his mind.

    "What do you mean?"

    Kiba has a bad feeling. He didn't know everything unlike her. For her to warn him in such a manner, there has to be some serious reason.

    [[That container is storing what you humans generally call a virus.]] Enchantia said, her voice tranquil.

    Kiba's pupils constricted in shock. He now realized why the alien matter inside was so desired.

    While shocked, he was equally puzzled by her statement.

    He was sure she knew his personality. He wouldn't care if there was some global infection or crisis unless it concerned those whom he loved; which were only a handful.

    He was not selfless. Nor he was some hero who cared about the entire world...

    [[I know what you are thinking.]] Enchantia said in a matter-of-factly tone. [[But that virus concerns you personally.]]

    "?!"

    [[You like that girl, right?]] Enchantia asked out of blue.

    "..." Kiba didn't reply.

    [[Not only you like her, but you even care for her.]] Enchantia continued as if she already knew the answer. [[And she does the same.]]

    "....."

    Enchantia could feel everything in a World Fragment; including emotions and intent. This was how she was confident in her words.

    [[You might be aware she is what you humans call Cursed Ones.]]

    Enchantia said, her voice filled with ridicule and disdain for humanity.

    [[That virus would be the true Curse for someone like her.]]

    Kiba's pupils dilated.

    [[I only wish the best for you...]]

    Enchantia didn't say anything further and broke the mental connection. Even though the conversations took a while to describe, they happened in a few seconds as they were done mentally.

    Kiba turned towards Ashlyn. She felt his vision and opened her eyes.

    "Ashlyn," Kiba said heavily. "You couldn't have that container."
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