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481 After The Crisis

    Above Dream Rise House, two drones flew through the clouds. The cameras and sensors in the drones focused on the stylish luxury villa.

    The drones recorded the stunning landscape outdoor space where the blue pool shimmered and the flowers in the garden danced.

    Noticing nothing suspicious in the villa property, the drones flew to another area.

    The moment the drones disappeared, a buzzing sound rose from the villa and space warped. The beautifully landscaped gardens turned into decayed vegetation while the shimmering pool transformed into ruins.

    Inside the bedroom on the second floor, Zed observed a virtual screen where information on the drones was displayed, including their present coordinates.

    He guessed they belonged to Sky Fiend Group and were trying to find clues on the missing Dark Beasts.

    [[We have avoided suspicion.]]

    Claudia has created virtual reality to fool the drones in order to hide the signs of battles.

    "For the time being."

    Zed pushed the virtual screen away.

    "Restore the outdoor space as soon as possible before advanced sensors scan this neighborhood."

    There was no way a powerful organization like Sky Fiend Group wouldn't have access to high-tech satellites and advanced sensors. So, the chances of such tech being used were very high.

    The underground villa facilities were safe from a detailed scan thanks to the cutting-edge technology of the villa. The same couldn't be said for the outdoor space though...

    [[Please rest assured. It would be done in less than an hour.]]

    Zed nodded.

    "Check the tablet I gave you... we can't afford to be caught off-guard again."

    [[I know, sir.]]

    She has collected a few cell samples of the assimilated Dark Beast she killed. Presently, the samples were analyzed in the lab, and the information in the tablet studied.

    "Thanks, Claudia."

    Zed as he left the bedroom.

    "You are the best."

    [[....]]

    ***

    In the hall.

    Felicity, Jessica, Loren, and Olly sat across a table with their focus on the tv, checking the breaking news. The medical droids have provided them the necessary treatment, healing them fully though exhaustion was visible on their faces.

    ~step~

    Olly heard a stepping sound and looked outside the hall. He saw Zed stepping down on the flying stairs.

    "He isn't even exhausted!"

    Olly muttered to himself, surprised. He hasn't seen Zed from the time the latter was brutally slammed into the villa by a Dark Beast.

    After the battle completed, Claudia told him and others that Zed was fine and resting. It has barely been half an hour, and yet, Zed was not only healed, but there was not a single trace of fatigue.

    "Olly, you look well," Zed said as he stepped into the hall.

    "Ah... yes," Olly replied.

    "That's good," Zed smiled and sat on a chair beside him. "Your mom and dad would be happy..."

    "...." Olly turned silent. He has a feeling more than his parents, a certain golden-haired man would be happy knowing he was safe.

    Zed checked the news and felt everyone moving their focus from the tv to him. It was to be expected as the news pretty much said the attack of Dark Beasts was on top factions of the Delta City... yet his house was also attacked.

    His eyes met Felicity and she smiled.

    "You are finally having excitement in your life!" She said, her eyes bright. "Well done!"

    Everyone: "....."

    Zed wryly smiled. He changed the topic by saying, "The attack is shocking for me just as much as it is for you... And I would be grateful if you guys wouldn't disclose what happened here."

    Felicity didn't say anything for she knew Zed wasn't requesting her. Her silence was guaranteed.

    Jessica was startled by the request but she was the first to nod.

    "I appreciate it, Jessica," Zed looked at her with a smile. He knew, based on her personality, she wouldn't have revealed the incident. She was a loyal friend.

    "Don't worry, we would forget this incident," Loren said on behalf of her and her brother. She could understand he didn't want to arouse attention at such times.

    "I'm with Loren on this," Olly confirmed.

    "Thanks," Zed thanked Loren first and then turned to Olly. "Thank you for being on the same wavelength as your sister. Till now, I only thought you were a good son, but now I know you are a good brother as well."

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    Olly visibly flinched.

    Good Brother?!

    His imagination turned wild. A chill crawled up his spine and goosebumps erupted all over his body.

    "No! I'm not a Good Brother!" Olly shouted. "And I would never be a Good Brother! Never!"

    Loren was dumbstruck by her brother's declaration.

    While she and Olly didn't have a strong sibling relationship, she never expected the bond between them to be so weak that he would declare his intention in front of others, and that too in such a manner.

    "He dislikes me this much?" Loren bitterly wondered in her heart.

    The others were similarly dumbstruck by Olly's outburst and an awkward silence filled the hall. Olly was also shocked, realizing his outburst was misunderstood. But he didn't know what to say.

    Being the kind guy, Zed decided to support Olly.

    "Loren, please don't hate your brother," Zed started, his voice polite. " As you know, many people develop posttraumatic stress disorder after facing a crisis like the ones we faced. So, please be understanding of him."

    Loren was startled. She has forgotten how PTSD could show up.

    Olly, on the other hand, was astonished by how he was saved from embarrassment. He looked at Zed with rays of hope in his eyes.

    "Olly, to ensure your sister don't misunderstand, please promise her you would be a good brother."

    Zed requested sincerely.

    The rays of hope in Olly's eyes died, replaced with gloom.

    "I won't promise that...."

    Olly wanted to say, but when he looked at the faces of Loren and others, he couldn't bring himself to say that.

    Dammit!

    He snapped courage, and said, "Loren, I promise to be a Good Brother!"

    "That's great," Zed patted Olly. He then turned to Loren, and continued, "I'm sure your future is bright with such a great brother."

    Olly's hands trembled and heart thumped loudly as he unconsciously imagined the said future. Strangely, in that future, he didn't see the golden-haired man but rather a black-haired youngster.

    No!

    I'm overthinking!

    Zed was only being polite by calling me Good Son and Good Brother, unlike Kiba who knows the real meaning of good!

    Everything is only my imagination!!

    Olly calmed himself.

    ***

    An hour later.

    The sun descended, dyeing the sky into an orange hue.

    Zed waved goodbye to Loren and Olly as they left, leaving behind Jessica and Felicity.

    They stood outside, admiring the beautiful sky.

    A few minutes later, they sat down, their eyes still on the sky.

    Jessica brought her eyes from the sky to the garden. The lush garden was back to its former glory.

    "It might look the same... but it is different. Nothing is guaranteed in life."

    She thought as she recalled how close she came to death. The life she took for granted was almost lost by outside elements.

    The crisis might have passed, but it has changed her perspective of life.

    "Life."

    Jessica glanced at Zed.

    She felt his carefree nature from his face, the will to live from his eyes, and confidence from his body.

    Despite everything, he looked relaxed and not at all troubled.

    "Perhaps he is internally troubled... but he doesn't let that affect him. It was the same when Felicity got injured."

    Jessica closed her eyes and remembered every memory she shared with him.

    "Every time, no matter the situation, he tries to find humor."

    She thought as she remembered his behavior when they were taken by Irina's gang. He has called her trouble magnet; implying this might be the reason she has an affinity with Felicity.

    Her lips curled up and she opened her eyes. She turned towards him.

    "Zed... could we...?"

    ***

    Personal Recommendation:   'The Pleasure Lord' on Webnovel.com . A kingdom-building novel focused on pleasure 😉 Slow start but with a very interesting plot. Read it.
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