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502 Birth of Hope II/II

    In the maternity ward, Kiba slid his fingers into Agatha's hand as she started undergoing labor.

    \"Apply more pressure!\" The head doctor urged. \"You can do it!\"

    Agatha nodded and did her best as the doctor began pulling down the beautiful, nascent soul. She felt twisting, squeezing pain that made her scream and dug her nails on the bed and into Kiba.

    Kiba looked pained.

    Not from her nails but from the understanding of the intense agony she was undergoing. And yet despite everything, she didn't stop. Her persistence, courage, and determination astonished him.

    \"Everything would be alright!\" Kiba said, not knowing if he was assuring her or himself.

    Agatha forced a smile in the moment of intense pain. She could feel he was far more nervous than her.

    \"He might not know it, but he would become a great dad!\"

    Agatha thought before concentrating her strength to push down.

    ...

    After what seemed an eternity, the new life stirred into existence. She has an adorable face and golden hair just like her father.

    \"She is here!\" The doctor said as she showed the newborn to the exhausted mother. \"And trust me, she is the most beautiful child I have ever seen!\"

    Agatha smiled from elation.

    As the child's body came in her hands, the pain faded as if it never existed. Vigor spread through her body as if she was getting a new source of energy, making her exhaustion disappear.

    She knew the source of energy wasn't inside her body but in her hands.

    \"My child!\"

    The one for whom she could do anything was now in her embrace...

    A few minutes later, she lifted her head and noticed Kiba looking at her and their child. There was a deep longing in his eyes.

    \"She is yours just as mine,\" Agatha said with a warm smile. \"Take her.\"

    Kiba nodded. He carefully stretched his hands out to take her, afraid he might make some mistake.

    \"Don't be so nervous,\" Agatha said while placing their child on his open hands. \"She won't break.\"

    The instant the child touched his hands, everything in the world disappeared. It was as if for him, the whole world was engulfed in the darkness.

    And in this darkened world, the nascent golden eyes opened, peering at him. They radiated sunshine that cut through the darkness, bringing him warmth that instantly melted his heart.

    She was the extension of his life...

    \"My Hope.\"

    Kiba looked back at the golden eyes. He didn't know if he was mistaken, but for a moment, he noticed them glowing with happiness.

    Tears erupted in his eyes and his lips spread to form a smile. He was the happiest he has ever been... something that bewildered him greatly.

    How could someone he has just met give him such happiness?

    How could she make him so weak that he would cry?

    He didn't need to think of the answers. He already knew... perhaps he has always known.

    Kiba kissed her on the forehead and made her asleep. He then gently placed her next to Agatha.

    \"Agatha.\"

    \"Yes?\"

    \"I think I know what it feels to fall in love at first sight.\"

    \"I know.\"

    Agatha replied with a content smile. She was feeling what he was feeling.

    Love.

    A feeling that was far more than parental instinct.

    ...

    Kiba's eyes remained on the child. He observed her soft breathing, the faint stir of her closed eyes, and the eternal bond she shared with him.

    \"Hope.\"

    He slipped his index finger into her open hand and watched as her hand unconsciously wrapped around it.

    \"Thank you for coming to my life.\"

    ...

    Dream Rise House.

    In the underground section, Claudia observed the scene through the sensors embedded in the maternity ward.

    [[Welcome to the world, Lady Hope.]]

    Claudia then examined her body through the advanced sensors.

    [[As expected, she derives her genetic and bloodline from master's Kiba form... and not Zed.]]

    Claudia then brought dozens of digital screens.

    She opened the security logs of the laboratory from two different days, separated by months. The first was the night Hope was conceived and the second was the day Kiba learned Hope was his.

    [[So far, it still doesn't make sense...[1]]]

    ...

    Half an hour later.

    Kiba stepped out of the ward and sat in the waiting lounge. The doctors needed to run basic tests on Agatha and Hope so they asked him to wait outside.

    Kiba wasn't worried. His powers have confirmed they were safe and so has Claudia. Still, he wanted to have another confirmation from professionals.

    \"You have become a father! Congratulations!\"

    A sweet voice entered his ears just as a bouquet of flowers landed in his hands.

    Kiba raised his head to see Eva walking into the lounge. He placed the bouquet on the coffee table and nodded in thanks.

    Eva sat next to him.

    \"I thought you were like me - selfish to such an extent that you could love no one but yourself, not even children,\" Eva said with a grin. \"But for once, I'm glad I was wrong.\"

    \"Well, I always thought you knew my love for you,\" Kiba replied with a smirk. \"Guess I was wrong as well.\"

    \"Stop being cheesy now!\" Eva laughed.

    \".....\"

    \"So what's your plan for the future?\" Eva asked.

    Kiba thought for a moment before answering.

    \"Same as always... live every day like it would be my last.\"

    ***

    State of Avalon.

    Hestia Family Mansion.

    Hundreds of clan members and servants hastily rushed out of the mansion. They looked dozens of miles away, in the direction of the most sacred region owned by Hestia Family.

    A valley where Everlasting Fire constantly burned.

    Presently, terrifying heat fluctuations rippled out and clusters of fire surged, bypassing the barrier.

    \"What's going on there?!\" A servant wondered aloud.

    A column of fire erupted from the valley and illuminated the night sky.

    \"The birth of true clan member!\" An elderly servant muttered in shock.

    The clouds seethed and warped in flames before evaporating out of existence. In their place, a giant bird of flame appeared.

    Inside the mansion.

    Lord Harley gazed out of the window, his expression heavy. As the head of the family, he obviously knew the significance of the event taking up in the sky.

    \"Who is it?\"

    Lord Harley thought with a frown.

    He wasn't aware of anyone sharing the origin source of Soverigness Hestia expecting a child. And if he wasn't aware, then it was a serious matter.

    In another room of the mansion, Rebecca stepped in front of the window. An automatic wheelchair moved alongside her.

    \"Mom, what's going on?\" Kirstie asked.

    \"Someone sharing the origin source of Soverigness Hestia has been born,\" Rebecca answered.

    \"You mean someone like us, the direct descendants of the Soverigness?\" Kirstie further asked.

    Rebecca nodded. She opened her mouth to explain when her expression drastically changed. The bird of fire opened its mouth and shot out a beam of fire in her direction.

    \"Impossible!\"

    Rebecca muttered just as the beam of fire landed on her hand. Fire energy spiraled around her hand like a vortex before transforming into an incorporeal red crystal; emitting a warm and comfortable sensation.

    At the same time, Lord Harley melted the spatial boundary and teleported into the room. He looked at the incorporeal crystal with deep shock on his elderly face; though for a reason different than Rebecca.

    \"How could this be possible?!\"

    Every crystal that appeared throughout the years have materialistic existence. Yet the new crystal was incorporeal, its existence on brink of real and illusory.

    \"It has the psychic source but the bloodline source is missing! That should not be possible!\"

    For a moment, he wondered if the crystal was defective, but he quickly rebuked himself. The crystal was created by the Valley of Fire!

    The valley that originated from Celestial Elysian Plane!

    Mistakes and defects were impossible!

    \"Then what could explain this state of the crystal?!\"

    Despite his vast knowledge, he couldn't think of any scenario where a newborn only shared the psychic source, the aspect that masses usually referred to as the soul.

    Meanwhile, Kurtis barged in the room. The moment he observed the crystal in Rebecca's hand, his expression turned ugly and veins popped throughout his body.

    \"That bastard! He has become a father!\"

    Kurtis didn't need to think to know why the crystal appeared in Rebecca's hand. He has seen the crystal phenomenon enough times to know the crystal would resonate with the one who shares the closest bond.

    The fact that it resonated with only Rebecca even though she wasn't pregnant... it could only mean someone who shared her source has become a parent.

    And who could it be if not for her bastard!

    \"First he survived Akshobhya! And now he expanded his lineage!\"

    Every droplet of blood in his body burned with fury. If he could find that bastard and his newborn, Kurtis swore he would torture them in the Valley of Fire.

    ...

    Rebecca observed the crystal with a complicated expression. Misty tears glimmered in her eyes as her lips curled up.

    \"Zed... you are alive...\"

    She sighed in relief, knowing her worst fears were unfounded.

    Behind, Lord Harley took a step forward and said, \"I'm afraid you couldn't use the crystal to track him down. It is incorporeal---\"

    \"You don't need to tell me the obvious,\" Rebecca's cold voice cut him short. \"And neither do you need to show off your knowledge on the functions of the crystals. I have seen enough of that when you used my disappearance to grab his crystal.\"

    Lord Harley stopped and lowered his head.

    The crystals were one of the ways the royalty of Celestial Elysian Plane ensured to prevent possible rebellions. No member could sire a descendant in secret and increase the risk to the throne.

    \"The Family couldn't be more sorry for its role,\" Lord Harley apologized again.

    Kirstie listened to the conversations with a bewildered look. She couldn't make sense most of it, but she did understand a little.

    \"Mom, brother has become a father?\" Kirstie asked.

    The coldness on Rebecca's face melted and she replied with a smile, \"Yes, he has.\"

    \"Wow! He must be around twenty and yet a father!\" Kirstie's eyes were of awe. \"Leyla once said only very physically active people become father at such a young age! Brother must be very good at sports!\"

    Rebecca: \"...\"

    Lord Harley: \".....\"

    Kurtis: \"...\"

    In the corner of the room, the thirty-years-old servant, Leyla, was checking the medicinal inventory of her young miss when she heard the words. She broke out in cold sweat and her body stiffened.

    She could feel three pairs of intimidating eyes locked on her.

    ***

    Dream Rise House, Delta City.

    Kiba walked through the gardens with Hope in his arms. She was asleep with a cute smile on her sweet face.

    Claudia observed this happily.

    [[No one would believe he is Kiba!]]

    [1] Chapter 65: Unexpected Twist. Give it a quick re-read as it would deal with the conclusion of this arc.
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