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538 Surrounded!

    Outside the State of Avalon, there was a large mountain chain.

    It was the home to many mutated beasts and evolved flora. As such the presence of humans here was very rare, except for the occasional hunters and mercenaries.

    In the center of the mountain chain, there was an area covered with dry foliage. A place neither beasts nor humans ever visited. Because the moment anyone steps on it or fly above it, the foliage would emanate off a decaying power, making one experience the weathering of endless time!

    The power was so strong that not only would the person die, but not even a trace of existence would remain!

    While many have wondered about this power, no one succeeded in discovering its secrets. If one succeeded in drilling through the foliage and travel underground for almost a mile, only then would they discover the secret.

    It was a lab!

    A very advanced, high-tech lab. Far more advanced than the one managed by Claudia!

    And yet, despite its advancedness, it was dim and filled with cobwebs, almost discarded!

    When the presence of the hooded figure vanished, the dim lights brightened and virtual panels popped up before the embryo pod.

    The pod was a glass tank filled with genetic liquid, preserving what appeared to be a crushed brain! The brain was only not only crushed, but also charred black, almost as if hit with lightning!

    As readings flashed up on the virtual panels, a pained voice came from the speakers embedded on the pod.

    "First me... and now the Phantom-Clone... that damn slum insect!"

    ~BEEP~BEEP~

    The panels beeped loudly, warning him of the strain caused by aggressiveness.

    In response, the voice from the pod paused momentarily.

    "He has turned berserk, corrupted by Genesis! And just like back then, he refuses to die! But one day... he would run out of luck and die!"

    The voice threatened before fading. The panels disappeared and the lights dimmed down.

    ****

    House of Hestia, State of Avalon.

    The higher members of the family frantically discussed the latest developments in Delta City.

    Lord Harley absentmindedly listened to their conversations while looking at the blank digital screen, waiting for the latest visuals from the city.

    During the final clash between Extermination and Hyperion, the recording drones were destroyed. To counter this, the government sent more drones and also activated the spy satellites to capture images.

    Lord Harley has also activated the family's secret resources to acquire more information. It was just a matter of minutes before the remnant energy dispersed in the city and for them to receive information.

    "We should send forces to the city!" An elderly man named Xalion said. "This is the golden opportunity for us to act!"

    Delta City was on the other side of the globe. Even by high-speed airplanes, it would take around ten hours to arrive there.

    But this was not an issue for the family. They had the means to cross such a distance in the span of a minute. Of course, these means were reserved for only important situations.

    "Elder Xalion is right!" Kurtis joined in for support. "Regardless of who wins, the winner would be exhausted!"

    Xalion nodded. He glanced at the other high-ranking members, and seeing them still silent, he explained further.

    "The satellite sensors have already confirmed the final clash emitted a power almost at the peak of Level VIII!

    "They might be extraordinarily strong, but since they were trying to kill each other instead of simply fighting, they would have spent every ounce of strength in the battle! Not to mention, the stress and injuries their bodies would take!"

    An Alpha-rank living being fighting was a rare occurrence itself. And two Alphas trying to kill each other?! That was virtually unheard of!

    Regardless, killing an Alpha was impossible. Even for another Alpha.

    The only way to achieve the impossible would be to give up everything and accept mutual destruction!

    "If we don't act now, the other families would grab the Cosmic Spark!" Kurtis stressed further.

    While he didn't have full details on the Cosmic Spark like Lord Harley, what information he received has already shocked him to the core. The same went for the other members in the room.

    Eternal life, neverending youth, and infinite power!

    They all were excited by the prospects!

    Once they have the Cosmic Spark, the World Government would be only theirs! Nothing would be impossible!

    "Then let other families grab that treasure."

    A female voice declared.

    The room turned silent and everyone, including Lord Harley, turned towards the speaker.

    Kurtis didn't turn though.

    He already knew the voice was of his wife, Rebecca... the bitch who gave birth to that bastard! Like that wasn't insulting enough, she was now openly disagreeing with him.

    What a whore!

    Kurtis swore in his heart.

    "Rebecca is the only smart one here," Lord Harley said with a suppressed smile. "We won't take any action."

    "What?!" Kurtis and Xalion jerked their heads towards him.

    "If we use our resources to acquire the Cosmic Spark from the winner of that battle, we would definitely succeed; even in the worst case of the winner not suffering exhaustion or injuries."

    Lord Harley took a short pause before resuming.

    "But the moment we acquire the Spark, the other families would gang upon us! The balance which has ensured the status quo would collapse!" Lord Harley reminded them. "The treaties and ties wouldn't matter! Everyone would be against us!"

    Kurtis broke out into cold sweat.

    Right!

    Even if the family succeeded, they would also pay some price since they would be acting against an Alpha. Their power would fall for a short time, but that time would be enough for others to act.

    And no matter how strong the family was, it couldn't face the combined power of the other eight families. Plus, who was to say the revolutionaries wouldn't participate to steal this treasure?!

    Then there was Atlantis! The most powerful entity!

    Everyone would become their enemy! Even their own family members!

    Kurtis regretted opening his mouth.

    "If I'm right, the other families would think just like us," Lord Harley said with a sigh. "No one wants to make the first move!"

    Rebecca nodded before saying, "The mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind! Everyone wishes to be oriole and not the poor cicada!"

    Lord Harley lifted his head up and was in the process of lowering it to give a nod, when his face fell.

    At the same time, Rebecca's eyes flickered in astonishment.

    Wrapping herself with blue flames, she shot to the windows, arriving instantly. She pushed them open and looked up in the sky.

    The other members of the family too felt something amiss. They looked out, their faces plastered with looks of absolute shock.

    Not only them, but everyone else in the family estate was in a state of shock.

    "What the **!" A youngster shouted as his pupils constricted. "Is this the arrival of doomsday?!"

    From the outer space, hundreds of asteroids hurtled down, leaving behind a trail of gray flames. They were faster than lightning, and as they rained down, they seem to rotate, congealing in the shape of a wheel!

    Images of discarnate souls and ghosts flew across this strange formation of the wheel; radiating an intense desire to murder.

    In the estate, the faces of servants and youngsters turned pale. Even though the asteroids haven't yet crashed on the ground, they felt intense pain within their consciousness. Many of the weaker ones instantly bent down in kneeling position.

    "This must be the attack of the gods known as Alphas!"

    Everything occurred in the span of seconds and by now, the asteroids were barely a kilometer from the ground.

    BOOOM

    As if smashing into some invisible ceiling, the asteroids stopped in mid-air. Deafening booms echoed out, creating a stifling atmosphere.

    Like cracks on the mirror, air below the asteroids fractured into fissures. It wasn't the air that fractured, but rather the invisible barrier that protected the estate and the surrounding property.

    "The first layer of the barrier has been damaged!"

    One of the high-ranking servants muttered in plain disbelief. There were five layers that formed the barrier, and each layer was far powerful than the other.

    The top layer might be the weakest, but even then, a top Beta-rank mutant would need months of constant attacks to create a single crack!

    And now, some asteroids created giant fissures!

    "Just what the hell was going on here?! Who could have such terrifying power to launch attack from the outer space!?"

    The youths wondered with awe.

    A butler around the youths snorted coldly. He wasn't awe-struck or stunned. Instead, he was angry. With a thundering sound, he demanded, "Who dares to attack House of Hestia?!"

    House of Hestia wasn't a place that anyone could attack. It was the main faction in the World Government, and the prestige it carried was beyond words.

    Yet someone had the guts to attack! Have they lost the desire to live for them to do such a thing?!

    "Seems like someone has a death wish!"

    The youths got over the feeling and agreed with the butler.

    As they exclaimed in agreement, the first layer of the barrier flashed with a bright radiance. The radiance ripped into the asteroids, exploding them from inside out.

    "Phew~ That ominous feeling is gone!"

    The youngsters sighed in relief.

    Earlier, they might have nodded due to their sense of pride, but they were kneeling! That was shameful for them!

    "Thankfully it's over!"

    "I thought I would die!"

    "So did me!"

    A few youngsters whispered among themselves.

    Even though the barrier prevented the aura from the asteroids pouring inside, some of it entered inside by merging with the air. This was what made the youngsters and servants feel pain and kneel!

    Inside the room, Lord Harley furrowed his eyebrows.

    "The grayness... no doubt it must be that man! He must have won!"

    Lord Harley thought just as visuals appeared on the screen.

    Extermination floated above a river, with the Cosmic Spark on his right palm. His lips were curved into the same provocative smile as before.

    The one he showed when he pulled the Cosmic Spark from his chest and showcased in front of the recording drones!

    "He could summon an attack here from there?! How's that possible!?!"

    Alarm flashed across Lord Harley's face. Before, he felt it must be Extermination, but only after looking at the visuals, he became sure!

    "It must be the Cosmic Spark! Yes, it must be! Only that celestial artifact could have such impossible powers!"

    His eyes flashed with naked greed. He wanted to have that artifact, at any cost!

    Even as his desires turned stronger, in the outer space, the free space dust was infused with gray cosmic energy. This energy appeared out of nowhere, turning the dust particles into gray asteroids.

    They once again smashed down.

    Lord Harley sensed their arrival but he didn' care. He tapped into the air, and visuals from the estates of other great families appeared on other screens. The people inside showed faces of panic while looking into the sky.

    "Just like I expected... he's attacking everyone!" Lord Harley spoke aloud. "But why?!"

    He suddenly thought of a dreadful possibility. He further tapped into the air, and visuals from around the globe appeared.

    Ten low-level cities and all places of importance were facing asteroid shower! Unlike important places, these cities were not protected by a grand barrier!

    The asteroids easily burst into them!

    Everyone within their impact range vanished! They didn't even get time to feel pain!

    "This doesn't make any sense!"

    Lord Harley noticed something amiss.

    "He has targetted low-level cities instead of high-level ones! Maybe he's starting up something... but then why would he attack the homes of Nine Great Families, the revolutionaries, and even Atlantis?! They are the most important places, something that shouldn't be his target from the start!"

    Just as he wondered, from the Cosmic Spark, a whirlwind of energy swept out, floating around Extermination. His smile turned to a smirk and he lifted his head up, almost as if he was looking at both the spy satellites and new drones!

    "!!"

    The smirk was like a hammer that smashed into Lord Hyperion's head. Realization instantly flashed across his mind.

    "Damn him! Last time, he provoked all of us by showing-off the Cosmic Spark! And since none of us responded, he's now provoking us... this time by targeting us!"

    The first time his smile said - Don't you desire this supreme treasure? Come and grab it!

    Now the smirk said - Since you are cowards,let me give you an incentive to have this powerful treasure! Come, if you dare!

    Lord Harley trembled from anger.

    When has anyone provoked them like this?

    Never!

    Not even Lizenea did such a thing despite the hatred revolutionaries carried for the government!

    ****

    The higher-ups of the other families had similar reactions. Still, they didn't give in to their anger and react.

    No one wanted others to benefit by acting first! As for thoughts of collaborating, that would be a joke!

    For a treasure like Cosmic Spark, people would even murder their parents!

    So how could they trust others?

    They continued to observe the developments though, and some of them even showed the live feed from Delta City to their juniors.

    Extermination was a great lesson for the juniors, making them realize their worth was nothing!

    ***

    House of Neville.

    In the conference room.

    An absolutely gorgeous girl - around eighteen years old- watched the visuals with others.

    Despite the bloodline connection, the youths around her glanced at her, admiring her. But they did only for a second before turning back, afraid of her personality.

    The girl noticed their gazes but didn't bother as she continued to observe the screen.

    She was petite with pale skin tone, stunning black hair, and mesmerizing misty eyes that gleamed of innocence!

    And yet, despite her innocence, she was given the nickname of "young pervert" by someone she wanted to teach a lesson.

    As she watched the face of Extermination, she felt something that Felicity also did.

    Similar vibes!

    "Could he be the long lost brother of that shameless scoundrel?"

    She wondered seriously.

    "Maybe they were separated in some village fair?"

    Obviously, she was none other than Sophia!

    ****

    Delta City.

    Extermination stretched his arms to the side and took a deep breath. He felt the loudness in the world decreasing.

    He also sensed there was still great noise in this city. It might have been almost half destroyed, but a great amount of populace remained. Even the place his false self called home was safe.

    Whoosh~!

    He turned towards the eastern sky.

    Out of nowhere, crimson clouds surged up, blocking the gray sky. Their sight was shocking enough and even before the panicked people in the city could react at their appearance, they twisted together, turning into the shape of a bloody wolf.

    The members of the Nine Aristocrat Families who were watching this were stunned. Especially the families who allowed youngsters to witness this.

    With looks of incredulous, the youths muttered, "Could it be...?!"

    As they reacted, crimson rays spilled out of the bloody wolf and fell on the ground, making air squirm. Through these rays, a mutant with the facial features of a vicious wolf emerged.

    "Crimson Wolf!"

    "An Alpha!"

    "It is really him!"

    "Has he came to face that gray man?!"

    RIPPPPP

    People had hardly reacted to this development when on the western side, a katana ripped through the fabric of space. Space split apart like a curtain, and through the spatial currents, a woman walked out, wielding the katana!

    The spatial winds stirred up her hair, showing her cold eyes.

    "No way!"

    "Another Alpha!"

    "She's the legendary...!!"

    Before they could call her name, a fissure appeared on the ground.

    RUMBLEEEE

    Rocks and stones flew up as the fissure expanded explosively, splitting the city into two!

    One part destroyed and the other safe!

    Through the fissure, more rumbling sounds burst out. As everything vibrated, a row of brown mountains rose up.

    Between the mountains, a man sat, playing a flute!
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