"You couldn't have that container," Kiba said with his eyes focused on the container. It continued to glow every few seconds with an ominous radiance.
Ashlyn was surprised by his words. She observed his face, and seeing his serious expression, she knew he wasn't kidding.
A second later, she shook her head to imply her disagreement.
"Please, the virus is harmful for you," Kiba took a step ahead.
Ashlyn didn't say anything but as he took a step ahead, she instantly transferred the container inside her spatial storage device.
Kiba looked at her and stepped further. He stretched a hand towards her left arm where her storage device was fused.
At the same time, the discs clad on her wrists rotated and flew out. They floated in front of her, emitting piercing ripples.
Kiba stopped as he realized what she meant. If he tried to continue, a fight would break out.
"Believe me, the virus is like a dangerous weapon," Kiba locked his eyes into her.
Ashlyn shook her head again. Having a virus didn't mean it would be used. Sometimes, not using a threatening weapon was its biggest use.
"It is fatal for you," Kiba continued with a sad smile. "For a Cursed One."
Her eyes flickered by his words, but she then thought of her adopted parents. She recalled everything they have done for her.
They gave her a home when everyone has discarded her... even her own birth parents. They hugged her when everyone found her untouchable. They took care of her when everyone found her very presence eerie.
They were her everything for as long as she could recall... There was no way they would allow the virus to harm her even if it was dangerous.
Kiba pressed his hand further after getting no response. Seeing his hand approaching, the discs whistled and shot forward.
Kiba leaped back to avoid them and they swirled in front of him.
"Kiba," Ashlyn said, her voice as cold as always. "This container is something I need. Please don't make things difficult."
His eyes narrowed and he observed her. She was adamant in her refusal.
"Why?" Kiba asked.
Ashlyn didn't answer.
He didn't ask further and he charged at her like a bolt of lightning. The discs chased after him, leaving behind two dazzling blue streaks.
As he arrived, she instantly shattered one of her seals and a violent aura burst out of her. Her black hair whipped under the raging aura and her emerald eyes flashed with energy currents.
Before Kiba could grab her arm, she jumped high in the air and made a grasping motion. The discs - which were rushing at Kiaba- changed their direction and dashed into her hands.
She grabbed them, and at the same time, Kiba shot up. Just then, she tossed the discs at him. As they swirled downward, they began expanding, and the ripples emerging out of them turned stronger.
Kiba pushed a hand above and streams of energy boomed out of his palm.
As the discs collided with streams of energy, an ear-piercing bang sound ringed out. Alongside, fierce shockwaves swept in all directions.
Kiba was visibly surprised as he saw the discs slicing through the energy streams and rushing at him.
"She sure isn't going easy," Kiba thought.
By now, Ashlyn has landed on the floor. Her feet erupted with energy currents and she began to speed out of the section.
"Nice distraction," Kiba wryly realized she has no intention of facing him or harming him. She only wanted to leave without any serious confrontation.
Just as the discs were about to collide against him, his body flickered and the space blurred.
Meanwhile, the air in front of Ashlyn whistled as Kiba appeared. She didn't say anything and lashed out with a fist.
Simultaneously, she passed a mental command to the discs to return to her. With screeching sound, they flew towards her.
Kiba sidestepped to avoid her punch, but just then, her aura blasted outwards. She has broken another seal.
Before he could say anything, the discs spun towards him, the ripples slicing through the air. The fierce power rippling through them made the air explode and the floor vibrate.
Since the protective measures were switched off, the area lost its protection. The walls and ceiling began to crumble. The destructive devices imploded and joined the might of explosion.
Some distance away, Fiona looked at everything with a shocked expression. She was bewildered by Kiba's actions but she didn't do anything except for protecting herself.
Kiba's sleeve ripped apart and pieces of white clothing swept in the air. The discs didn't stop and rumbled forward, trying to pierce through his skin.
Suddenly, Kiba's expression turned unsightly. Not because of the discs, but because of Ashlyn who was a few steps away.
Her aura was stronger, but now that he was near her, he could feel her lifeforce burning.
"You are combusting your lifeforce?!"
He finally realized how her seals could power her so much. Lifeforce was like a fuel...powering body. Combusting it for power would reduce it.
Since she was a Cursed One...she didn't have much time to live anyways. Barely 9-10 years, and with the breaking of seals, her life was far lesser than that.
"Why is that virus so important for you to do such a thing?" Kiba asked, and then he realized without her answering.
He remembered her acquaintances - Shawn and Amy. They were hostile at her when they met in The Fair. In anger, Shawn has something about Ashlyn being here to prove her filial love... to prove her devotion.
"For your adopted parents..."
Kiba jumped to the side and completely extinguished his powers. Ashlyn was startled and she quickly stopped the discs from attacking him.
They both looked at each other... even as explosions continued to wreak havoc in the area.
Ashlyn lowered her head and locked her seals again. Her eyes shined, but it was the shining one has when tears are building up.
Ashlyn muttered under her breath. She remembered every moment they have shared together. They were fond memories, something she truly cherished in her bleak life.
As those memories flashed before her teary eyes, she remembered what Denisa told her.
Love, grow, explore, make mistakes, and most importantly, have fun.
Ever since she heard those words, she has been thinking about them. So far, her life has been devoid of what Denisa said but for a few exceptions.
And those exceptions were with Kiba. She knew what he has done for her... he has tried to make her enjoy life, even if it was only for a short time.
She quickly got over her emotions and charged straight, like a bullet. Her speed was such that it made the explosion cloud part into two.
Kiba didn't do anything. He just looked at her racing figure.
She felt his eyes but didn't stop. She was afraid if she stopped now, she wouldn't be able to leave.
And as she left the area, she didn't look back to say farewell. She didn't want to have a goodbye because she wanted to meet him again.
Meet when she wasn't under any responsibility...
She didn't voice it aloud, but she promised to meet again soon... and she swore, in the next meeting, they wouldn't part...
With him, she wanted to experience everything Denisa has told her about...
"I want to live!"
Slowly but surely, she was going against what she was taught.
In the middle of raging explosions, Enchantia's incorporeal presence appeared. Her very presence made the explosions fade and brought stability to the destroyed section.
Fiona's face cramped from shock. Not by what the strange presence did, but by the mere existence of this presence. She instantly identified this presence belonging to the top of the food chain; someone whom the echelons of the nine families both feared and revered.
[[Why did you let her go?]] Enchantia floated in front of Kiba.
"Trying to stop her would only lead to resentment," Kiba answered with a barely audible sigh. "She wouldn't believe me... at least not now."
He didn't know much about Ashlyn. As for her adopted parents, he knew nothing.
Yet, based on what he has observed, he was sure she was most likely brainwashed by her parents from a young age.
He mainly formed this opinion on how Ashlyn never enjoyed her life... she simply existed without tasting the pleasures of life. He has tried to change that during the time they have been together, but it was impossible to change her personality in a month.
The same went for trying to convince her about the virus or her adopted parents' possible nefarious intent...
When someone challenges your core beliefs, you become enraged, angry and defensive. You abuse the person who jolts your fixed perception.
It was this principle that formed one of the foundation blocks of conditioning. Something that has been exploited by vested interests from thousands of years; even before the era of evolution.
Religious leaders, kings, nobles, etc... everyone have relied on this principle to subtly shape the worldview. They formed religious views, political leanings and other thoughts to their liking.
After all, a person with fixed perception would make others, especially their offspring have a similar perception. And this process would continue for years, forming an army of people with similar core beliefs.
That was how the echelons of society controlled the world...
In Ashlyn's case, this principle would ensure she would stay loyal to what she was taught from almost when she was a little kid. Any knowledge that went contrary to her teachings would be automatically considered as heretical.
If there has to be any change, it has to be natural... not forced.
"Even if I overpowered her, it wouldn't make a difference," Kiba closed his eyes, his expression sad. "If anything, her brainwashing would turn her against me, and make the connection between her and her parents stronger."
He understood psychology far better than others. So, he has an idea of what could happen. That was why he let her go, despite the risks.
Enchantia understood his reasons. Based on her knowledge of humans, she was sure he made the correct decision, but it would lead to greater troubles.
Being correct is not always right...
Kiba opened his eyes and a sharp glint flashed through them.
"Help me with a minor task," Kiba said with a heavy expression. "And I will choose a Legacy Orb."
Enchantia's incorporeal face flickered in astonishment. She has been trying to entice him with Legacy Orbs from the time when he was nothing but just a slum dweller... without any success.
Now, he was saying he would choose a Legacy Orb. For her, it was so shocking that waves erupted in Hall of Legacies.
[[What is it you want me to do?]] Enchantia asked.
She has decided she will try to fulfill his request as long as it was within her scope. And things she couldn't do could be counted on a hand...
"Nothing much. Just seal the container in her possession," Kiba stated his demand. "Seal it to such an extent that it couldn't be opened within a year."
Enchantia looked at him and then smiled. She knew why he didn't ask her to make the container disappear or seal forever.
[[As you wish.]]
Above the spaceship ruins, Ashlyn was continuously leaping, enveloped by blue currents. Each leap made her cross almost half a kilometer.
Unknown to her, as she leaped, invisible sparks entered on the black suit. Her spatial storage device was fused with the suit, and the sparks penetrated the storage space that was as vast as a room.
There were many items and treasures inside it, and the sparks passed by them. In a corner, the crystalline container was placed, glowing from time to time.
The sparks glued on the container surface. Without emitting any sound, the container walls strengthened and a tight seal appeared within. The seal wouldn't stop advanced sensors from examining the virus, but it would be impossible to retrieve them for the near future...
At the same time, in the destroyed section.
[[Done.]] Enchantia told him his request was fulfilled.
"Thanks," Kiba gave her a slight nod and then turned around.
[[I'm opening Hall of Legacies]] Enchantia said. She knew his objective so she wanted him to choose a Legacy Orb first.
"Why the hurry?" Kiba asked with a suppressed smile.
Enchantia realized something and violent waves churned in the dimension.
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