Rebecca wiped the tear and left the balcony.
Heather was startled. She hadn't seen her mistress smile in a long while.
The flames under his feet acted as jet, making Zed fly through the night sky. The cloudy mist around him evaporated, and as he looked at the point-size buildings far below, his lips curled up.
Over a decade ago, he desired the ability to fly as flying represented freedom. He envisioned how he could fly like birds, leave areas he doesn't like, and enjoy beautiful sceneries from high above while savoring the feeling of fresh air greeting his face.
Now that he had this ability, he seldom used it.
"We desire what we can't have... and when we have them, they become mundane!"
Claudia heard his musing through the mechanical band clasped on his wrist.
[[Not really, sir, at least not in your case.]]
[[Your greatest desire was always sex, especially with wives of others! Something that never became mundane!]]
Zed almost lost his balance and dropped from the sky.
Why does she always make such comments?!
After letting out a sigh, he accelerated his speed and shot into the clouds.
An hour later.
Kiba stood outside the entrance of Section III. The section might be closed but he could easily see inside and observe Red Tiger as she slept between her cubs.
They were at peace, sleeping happily.
The day Zed met Sophia in the city, he brought Red Tiger and her cubs to Section III where the aircraft was parked. He didn't want them to be harmed in the slightest so he kept them out of the battles that followed, despite Red Tiger's protests.
"Sleep well, my friends."
Kiba whispered as he left.
All he ever wanted for them was to be happy and he would do everything in his power to ensure that...
As he moved through the corridor, the lights behind dimmed on their own while the lights in front brightened.
Just a few meters away was the entrance of Section I - the lab. The sliding door opened as the sensors detected his presence, allowing him to step in.
The lights here were off as the people important to him were resting.
Agatha slept on a new bed, alongside Hope and Eva.
Kiba observed them with a smile before moving to the end of the lab. After creating a light and sound restricting barrier, he stepped before the console system.
Above the system, an ethereal crystal floated, wrapped with light. It was the crystal Rebecca gave him, something that emanated the presence of his daughter!
[[The scan is complete.]]
Claudia said as the report flashed in front of him.
[[Since Hope derives most of her source from your present form and Lady Agatha's, the crystal is rather incomplete and hence, defective. But there's no doubt about its identity.]]
Kiba nodded as he read the crystal name.
"Source Hounding Crystal!"
[[Celestial Elysian Plane was limitless, far powerful than one can ever imagine. It thrived for seven billion years before meeting its end.]]
Claudia started based on the records acquired from BSE-79 expedition.
[[Countless, mighty empires emerged and vaned there, disappearing in the sands of time. But one grand empire was an exception to that! It survived from its inception to the very end of the world!]]
Kiba glanced in the direction of Section IV before saying, "The Empire of De Rose."
[[Yes! Only the Empire of De Rose never vaned! Empires that were once far powerful than it collapsed but never De Rose! And power was never the reason!]]
If power meant longevity, no kingdom or empire would ever fall.
[[Empires always fell due to treachery and ambitions of one of their own! The new and the old, they desired more authority, more power, and more freedom! And that's what bring an empire to its ruins!]]
[[The founder of De Rose protected the empire from that!]]
[[Every member even remotely connected to the family's bloodline could be tracked... no, hounded!]]
[[No matter how powerful one was, they could never resist the mechanism as long as they were related by blood.... by very source of life!]]
[[With each successive generation of the emperor, the mechanism evolved! From hounding only those connected to the emperor's bloodline, the Empire was able to ensure every subject could be influenced by the mechanism!]]
In a world where power Cosmic wasn't rare and where technology had reached the pinnacle, building such a mechanism was almost impossible. It took not only extraordinary strength and brains, but also boldness that could be only described as cruelty!
"Source Hounding Crystal... it was one of the basic means used by the empire."
Kiba read the report.
"Even if a royal member or a subject hide their offspring far away from the empire, the mechanism would know! No, the instant any thoughts against the empire's stability were generated, the emperor would know! And that would mean bloodbath!"
Kiba grabbed the ethereal crystal and held it tightly.
"But that was Celestial Elysian Plane! There's no way House of Hestia would have that powerful mechanism! At least, not strong enough to ensure total subordination! Otherwise, I would have been long dead!
"I was born on an island filled with snow... If Gotten Whiteskins was right when he claimed he was hired by House of Hestia to assassinate me... a thought would have been enough to kill me!"
Since Rebecca got Hope's crystal instead of him, it meant the crystal could be received within a specific area. This also meant that when he was born at Solitary Snow Island, the crystal that was connected to him was received by someone other than Rebecca!
And since assassins found him on the island, it also implied how they got his location! The crystal was with those who didn't want him to live!
"Of course, there's also a possibility that I was protected from the mechanism that could kill me directly by using the crystal... this might be why I was only tracked back then..."
As he arrived at this possibility, his eyes constricted.
"Tracking! That Psychic Hunter!"
Claudia was startled. Before she could enquire, he opened the records about technology related to source mechanism. He scrolled through a mass of data before stopping on a diagram that showed multiple cubes in a formation.
"I now know what happened to me eight months ago!" Kiba's eyes turned icy cold. "That monk affiliated to Dharma Chakra... Akshobhya! He used my source connection when he attacked me through the satellite!"
"Yes, that would explain why he targetted Zed and was astonished by my transformation into Kiba!"
Claudia processed what he said and analyzed the records before speaking.
[[Since nothing happened to you for twenty years... the Source Hounding Crystal related to you either had been destroyed or is missing. This is at least confirmed by how everyone came to know of you only after the news of the charity broke.]]
[[So the only way monk could have attacked you must be using blood source! That would mean someone related to either of your parent collected blood...!!]]
Kiba nodded as his lips curled into a murderous smile.
"Whoever that is... I'm going to give them a free trip to the underworld."
Morning. 10 AM.
After freshening up, everyone gathered for breakfast. As the droids served the dishes, Kiba sat before Hope as she ran her hands on his face.
"She always runs her hands on your face!" Eva remarked with a smile. "Does she never get tired of it?"
"I don't think so!" Kiba answered.
He enjoyed every little action of his daughter. So he was more than happy with her habit.
Claudia observed him without saying anything. Despite knowing him, she was always surprised by his quick transitions between his murderous, sadistic persona to his present persona of a loving man.
As the breakfast completed, Agatha took Hope in her arms. Seeing her half-shut eyes and the yawns that escaped her mouth, Agatha smiled.
"Well, little lady, it seems time for your morning nap!"
Kiba started working as Agatha took Hope to Section III for the nap. By the time Agatha returned, Kiba completed arrangements to produce a new batch of hormone pills.
"You are creating those pills again?!"
Agatha and Eva were dumbstruck. Just like him, they never saw the effects, but knew the results.
Kiba nodded and replied, "Yes, they are necessary----"
~BEEP~ BEEP~ BEEP~
His words stopped as the lights in the lab turned from white to red and alarms erupted. Weapons emerged from the walls as the lab entered crisis.
[[Impossible... the lab's defenses have been breached!]] Claudia exclaimed.
Everyone was shocked.
No one knew about the underground facilities so how was this possible?! Not to mention, the lab was impenetrable unless...!!
Before the thoughts could complete, the air around Kiba turned chaotic.
"Daddy! Did you miss us?!"
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