Weapons of Mass Destruction
Chapter 359: Hypothetically

Over the next few hours, there are three more challenges.

One of them is against little Isabella. A group of people from all three difficulties, around 60 people in total, most of them from Hard.

They enter expecting an easy win against the kid but get welcomed by unrestricted Isabella.

Within seconds, blue flames devour them all, burning through their barriers, and heating up the environment enough that some people die from that alone.

The girl easily dodges their attacks. Her Avatar predicts who will attack and when by tracking their emotions through [Empathy].

To be honest, it's not even close, and Isabella cheers for her own Avatar the entire time. There is no shame to be found and when the challengers get out one after another she makes fun of them.

That's something I can get behind, it’s entertaining to watch all these adult men and women avoiding her gaze. They can't even say anything back, just her Avatar was enough to show them a clear difference in their power levels.

The next challenge is against the lightning man from Gareth's group. I think his name was Ghast. A group that attacks him does so because one of their members is capable of redirecting lightning with some sort of metal manipulation, using it to create lightning rods.

Obviously, that group doesn’t fare much better.

In the end, the effort appears to have been a playful lark by a group of curious people willing to spend some shards on a challenge. Even though they lost, they seem to be satisfied and often laugh.

For their last challenge, they’ve decided to take on someone from BenDover’s group, only to lose once again.

Then they stop, leaving a few people behind in case there is a challenge so they can inform their groups, and the remainder slowly goes to sleep.

Before leaving, I take a moment to listen in on Channeler and his group. The uselessly handsome man is aware that a few people have already connected him with Group 4 so he lets his friends talk most of the time, only joining the conversation when necessary.

"Strong?!" he laughs pretentiously while talking to someone from Easy. "He clearly abused the fact there was a forest and burned it down around us. Had we been fighting on an empty plane, we would have probably won. He probably has some kind of passive or trait that makes him stronger around the fire." he postulates.

The woman from Easy difficulty says something and he smiles at her sweetly.

"Of course, I'm helping group 4, they’re paying me." He leans closer and whispers, "Most of them have no idea how much shards are worth so they tend to be ridiculously generous. Noname is also less than... bright, so I got a lot from him."

Dude. I know you’re just trying to help, but you didn't have to go quite that far.

Another man shoves Channeler and throws a few insults at me while he’s at it, catching one of Channeler's helpers in the crossfire.

Channeler just nods in response, saying, "We just need better terrain, maybe a few more people and it should be doable."

The conversation quiets down and they disappear into the distance.

Lilly and I move to the side, to join Tess, the twins, and Sophie.

I feel my cold heart warm inside when I see how awkward Dennis is around Sophie and Tess, unable to look up. His brother seems to be enjoying the situation as well, but he doesn't dare to push it for fear of retaliation. I know he said some interesting stuff himself, back when they were showing off for Brainiac and Lootenant.

"Do you think anyone will really fall for it?" Lily asks when we join them.

Tess answers for me, "People aren't that dumb, Lily. Some of them might, but the rest will likely be acting on their greed. Nat offered a LOT of shards as additional rewards so it's worth the gamble even if the chance of winning is low."

"But Nat and Channeler spent so much time preparing, he’s even paying them in items. Is it all for nothing?" Lily asks, looking up at Tess and I.

Knowing me, the lightning blonde smiles, "That's just how Nathaniel has fun. He just likes messing with people."

I mean, she is not wrong. It's annoying, but there is a lot of humor in watching others make sad attempts at trash talk. Even though I don’t expect it to do much, it's worth it just from an amusement perspective.

"You’re weird," Lily notes and I shrug, copying Tacita. Unfortunately, It doesn’t quite have the same effect.

Walking under the dark sky lit by stars, the sound of conversation fades away, and we find ourselves at our house, with only the six of us for company.

"How do you know that maniac so well, Tess?" Sophie asks and yawns. She seems bored, but I’ve noticed the way she enjoys gossip.

"We used to date on Earth," Tess says, carelessly dropping a bombshell of revelation.

That gets any number of interesting expressions from others. Especially the twins and Lily.

Seeing that, Tess smiles, "We were both really young. He was my first boyfriend," she smiles. S~ᴇaʀᴄh the N0vᴇlFire(.)nᴇt website on Gøøglᴇ to access chapters of nøvels early and in the highest quality.

I stay quiet.

"Then after a few weeks, he tried to use me as an alibi." Tess stretches a slight smile still on her face. "Back then, it really broke my heart. Did that handsome bad boy date me just so he could use me later? Did he even care about me?"

The others are stunned into silence, and we continue to walk in awkward silence.

"Now that I think about it, you never apologized, did you, Nat?" Tess asks.

"I did not," I agree.

"Fuck, that's brutal." Sophie breathes out finally.

"Right?" Tess turns to her. "Poor innocent me betrayed by the first boy she ever liked."

"You said alibi, what happened?" Lily asks quietly.

"That's not something for me to say," Tess says clearly, and a few of them turn to me.

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For a moment, I have an inkling of an urge to say something. To explain what happened and share it with the others. I almost open my mouth to say it, but in the end, I stay quiet. When my eyes meet Tess’s, she returns my gaze calmly.

I know what she is trying to do, and she isn't even trying to hide it.

Still, in the end, I stay quiet.

A few hours later, I'm finally done crafting the items for Channeler and his group. Even though they aren’t helping much, I don't mind. I honestly think of it as an investment, Channeler recommended them and that’s enough for me to think that they might be useful in the future.

Biscuit, who’s been lying on the table, and watching me the entire time, stretches, reaching out his tongue, which I grab and give a tug.

I totally deserve the look he gives me, but I don’t mind. When I let go of his tongue, he continues to stretch.

I boop his nose and show him the last item I made. Biscuit sniffs it and loses interest because it's not food.

"One day I might make you some equipment as well."


"Not food."


"Am not."


"Don’t try to blackmail me!"


"You just ate!"

(Food, food!)

"You’ll get fat."


"You won't die from not eating for a few hours."


"I'm not letting you die of hunger. How can you say that!"


"For fuck's sake, okay. Maya’s in the house, she knows where I'm hiding the deer jerky."


"Just go, damn it."

When Biscuit floats away like a burrito-shaped blimp, I sigh. I miss my minion; she listened to me most of the time. Meanwhile, dealing with Biscuit is like dealing with a kid. A terrifying kid who can create mana bombs.

It's not my fault.

"You’ve been feeling weird for the past few hours," Isabella notes from her corner as she continues trying to melt the metal I’ve been giving her. She seems to be really enjoying it.

I run a quick check, just in case, but she isn't connected to me with her skill, nor is she reading my emotions.

The little girl smiles, her green eyes shining, "I'm getting better at my skill. I can feel a little even without connecting to you."

That’s a scary thought. I will have to come up with ways to counter it.

"Are you okay?" She jumps my way a few times, bouncing on her short legs. "I’ll be happy to listen. I promise not to tell anyone, not even my dumb sister Soph!"

"It's fine," I wave it off.

She hugs me shortly, "If you say so. But please be careful with that skill. Don’t overuse it."

As if, [Focus] is too good to let it waste away on the sidelines.

"You’ve already told me that, more than once," I note and push her away.

"And I’ll keep saying it because you do not listen. Any more and you’ll be dumber than Soph! At least she listens to me sometimes."

"So anyone who doesn't listen to you is dumb?"

She looks at me, somewhat disappointed, "Dumb people are dumb, not just the ones who don’t listen to me," she says as if it's obvious.

I see, makes sense.

No, it does not. I do not understand how kids work.

"Do you enjoy melting stuff?" I ask.

"I'm not melting stuff! I'm practicing smelting!"

"I see."

"Don't laugh!"

"I'm not laughing."

She kicks my shin in response, dealing no damage, "I can feel your emotions."

"Yes, yes." I pause for a while. "I wanted to ask you something."

Isabella's face turns serious and she sits in the chair nearby, her full attention on me. It's quite funny seeing the serious expression she is trying to make.

What I want to ask her is a bit silly and may be the result of my own cowardice. I could also ask someone else, but there aren't many people I feel comfortable enough around to ask for advice.

So yeah, better to ask an 11-year-old girl, right?

Maybe I really am dumb.

"So, I did something bad to someone I know. It was a long time ago, but lately, around a year ago, I met that person again. Oh, it's all hypothetical. So let's say, hypothetically I met that person after a few years, just a year ago, hypothetically."

Isabella just nods and waits.

"So how… what should… I…"

"Just apologize," Isabella interrupts me.

"It's not that simple."

She shakes her head like she’s dealing with an idiot, "It's simple!"

"There is no way it is that easy. She probably hates me for it even if she’s not showing it. Hypothetically, of course. Betrayal is one of the worst sins you can commit, especially when someone trusts you and never wished you any ill."

"Just apologize."

"I mean, betrayal like that is beyond pathetic. Sure there might have been a reason and it was always part of my plan long before I ever met her, but who would have known that person would prove to be so important to me."


"Back then it wasn't even something I would have thought about, but in the past year, still hypothetically, a lot of things changed. So how to say it? It feels right to do something about it?"


"I’ve decided to make some changes and set rules for myself, to avoid being a savage. I know now that what I did isn’t something I can abide by. Not long ago I threatened to kill someone if they did the same."

Isabella stands up and starts kicking my shin and I strengthen my body further.

"I even said it in front of her. Damn, do you think she smiled because she remembered what I did? Did she get pissed off because I did something to her, that I had just said I would kill her for? Is that why she mentioned it in front of others? Oh, and don't misunderstand, Izzy, it's all still…"

"Still hypothetical!" she kicks me, blue flames creating a small explosion at the place of impact.

"Yes, still hypothetical." I pause and then look down at Izzy who, at this point looks like an angry kitten.

She isn't an ESM, but she’ll do.

I cradle her in my arms, putting her in a similar position to the one my minion likes. Ear against my chest and her tiny horns poking the bottom of my chin.

Isabella struggles, trying to get away, but in the end, it's not quite right, and I let her go.

"Thanks for the help, Izzy," I tell her, ruffling her hair.

She pushes my hand away and while I head out she shouts something about all the dumbasses she has to deal with.

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