Play Audio
1

Kieran considered Dr. Riley's earlier advice. His team had toiled at his command with little time to rest.

It might not affect them now, but the same couldn't be said about the long run. The pressure Kieran put on them could potentially place a burden on their shoulders that they weren't prepared to endure.

Once everyone agreed to a night out, Kieran walked downstairs to talk to Dr. Riley.

Like always, she was buried in her work, scrambling about within a small radius to compare all of the data she had collected over these past three days.

However, before she could lose herself in her work, Kieran's large hand covered most of the documents.

"Hey!" Dr. Riley exclaimed, glaring at Kieran.

"Shh. I'm not trying to fight with you, Lillian. I want to invite you out with us—my treat. Would you like to come?" Kieran asked.

His voice was soft, and he bore a pleasant smile, which made Dr. Riley stop while considering the offer. Still, she couldn't help but steal glances at the work beneath Kieran's hand.

The allure of the knowledge under Kieran's palm was too great to give up. If she could, she would choose the data over the date. But she also understood Kieran's personality.

It was an inconceivable task to change his mind.

After a few seconds, Dr. Riley relented and spoke in a small voice similar to that of a skeptic mouse.

"W-what about next time? This is groundbreaking information. I can't be pulled away from it right now. If I compare the differences in the readings, I can isolate why X-hancers garner various receptivity! The data is important!"

Unfortunately for Dr. Riley, Kieran didn't accept this answer, shaking his head. "Will the data be going anywhere? Will it magically vanish?"

"No! It won't, but that's beside the point. There's so much of it to sort through. It'll take forever if I don't do it now," Dr. Riley complained.

Kieran was no longer the only recipient of her study. There were more people now, meaning the depth of data was abundant.

"I might look like a musclehead, but I'm not. You could feed the data to a tailored algorithm and have it perform the work. Besides, as we stated, it's not going anywhere."

Dr. Riley stomped her foot and pouted with puffed-up cheeks and crossed arms. "Ugh! You're such a knucklehead! You never listen to me!"

"Well, wasn't it you who mentioned that we should relax once in a while to deal with the tension we have built up," Kieran retorted, which only made Dr. Riley look away in frustration.

"Y-yes, that's true!" Dr. Riley stammered, lightly pursing her lips. "But that doesn't really apply to me. I'm not doing strenuous physical labor; I'm just working my mind."

"As if that doesn't become tiring. College students are known to burn out, so your point is pretty bad. Again, join us. It'll be my treat, and it'll be good for you to get fresh air."

Dr. Riley eventually groaned and nodded. "Are we going anywhere in particular? It has been quite some time since I went out to enjoy myself."

"Mm, I think we'll go places in the city's center with several attractions."

"Eh?! It's so expensive there!"

"Money isn't an issue," Kieran answered with an indifferent shrug. He didn't go into the details of what transpired upstairs, but Dr. Riley speculated that Kieran had earned even more money if he wasn't afraid to splurge.

Following his talk with Dr. Riley, Kieran approached the showers, where he heard raucous laughter interspersed with shockingly good singing.

As he peeked around the corner, he saw Bastion banging on the lockers with Sithik laughing and Nemean singing at the top of his lungs.

Kieran chuckled while walking past them to freshen up.

"Vamonos! Rapido! Rapido!" Nemean shouted, whipping Kieran's back with a wet towel.

Kieran turned instinctively and almost took Nemean's head off with a punch, but he stopped himself.

"Sheesh, boss! It is a joyous day; lighten up!" Sithik said amidst his constant laughter.

Kieran grimaced and agreed with Sithik's comment. "Ask Alice to book a ride into the city."

After leaving the message, Kieran entered the shower.

One hour later, Kieran and everyone else stood outside the medical facility before entering a luxurious van.

"Where to, sir," the chauffeur asked.

"Uh, Fifth Street, please," Kieran voiced.

"Understood, sire. We will arrive shortly."

The van, although big, was a top-of-the-line luxury vehicle. Its top speed rivaled some modern sportscars, but it wasn't practical due to its weight. It would consume a large amount of fuel.

The ride was relaxing as they strolled down the paved streets after leaving the remote facility.

Sithik and Cygnus' faces were plastered against the car window as they stared at the large buildings passing by. They didn't come from fortunate families, so they rarely traveled.

The sights of many impressive buildings were a marvel to them.

"Whoa," Cygnus breathed, kneeling in her seat.

"It's huge, right? I can't believe I'm in the city right now!" Sithik remarked.

Whereas these two were mystified, Kieran sat back in his seat and closed his eyes. Although Ezra had revealed that he had slept for almost an entire day, he felt remnants of exhaustion.

'This must be due to my soul injury inside Zenith Online. It must have left immense mental fatigue. Or… perhaps it crossed over from Zenith Online completely,' Kieran thought.

The ride was roughly an hour long, so Kieran miraculously used that time to fall asleep in an instant. Perhaps it was a trait of a psychopath, but if Kieran was tired, he could fall asleep like flipping a switch.

The van stopped an hour later, and the chauffeur's voice resounded within the van. "We have arrived. Would you like the extended service, or will your ride end here?"

"Extended ride, please. We'll pay you for the entire day even if we don't use up all your time," Alice answered.

Everyone turned toward her, surprised by her generous offer.

"What? It's the least we can do for the gentleman's honest work!"

Kieran opened his eyes and looked outside the van's translucent windows.

While the others conversed, he got out of the van and stretched with a light groan. 'It was short, but that was an incredibly fulfilling nap. I feel more rejuvenated than before.'

Kieran's gaze then fell upon the streets with bustling foot traffic.

The crowd consisted of debutantes who giggled amongst themselves, socialites who had their attention buried in their phones, and several other types of people passing by.

Kieran was familiar with the street layout because he had visited it many times to prepare for many events. He eyed a luxurious store famed for catering to the upper classes' every request. Its treatment depended on the package one requested.

"We'll go there."

"Whoa! Are we going to that store? Wasn't it in the news once? I think its staple products are from Tobias Ford and Versiali. Someone help me before my heart stops!" Sithik exclaimed.

Kieran gestured for everyone to follow him as he slipped his hands into his black jeans and confidently walked.

His gait captured the eyes of many, making them wonder if he were a professional model.

This thought similarly surfaced for Altair, who walked not too far behind.

After entering the double-layered store, Kieran was greeted by a lavish sight.

Anyone with common sense could tell the store possessed an opulent background. It was filled with silk of the finest quality and many ivory sculptures.

A few avant-garde ice sculptures also complemented the store's serene atmosphere. It was specially made with a strange material that wasn't actually ice. It couldn't melt.

Kieran panned his gaze to an approaching middle-aged beauty that exuded an air of elegance. Her entire appearance was tidy despite being dressed in a simple white dress.

She clutched a clipboard and handed it to Kieran with a kind smile. Despite their somewhat ordinary appearance, they were treated surprisingly well.

"Welcome to the Opus Oasis. How may I be of help to you? There are several options listed in this brochure here."

Rather than accept the clipboard, Kieran raised his hand with a calm smile. "I want something that isn't on the brochure. May I purchase the Treatment of Royals package?"

"E-excuse me, one moment!"

The lady rushed behind the desk and scanned her finger through a long list. After confirming there were multiple spots available, she beamed.

'My commission today will be marvelous. I may even be crowned this month's Opus Doyenne! Hehe, how excellent of me!'

The Treatment of Royals was the Opus Oasis' hidden full-expense package for respected guests.

"Forgive my impoliteness. My name is Estelle, Head Attendant of the Opus Oasis," Estelle said with a curtsy.

"Pleasure to meet you, Estelle. We'll be in your care."

Estelle extended her arm and guided everyone up the exquisite marble steps that led to the second floor.

Located on this floor was an area that resembled a spa and a hair salon, but it only covered half of the floor's space. The other side possessed several spacious exclusive dressing rooms and a wide selection of luxury clothing.

The scene made everyone's jaw drop.

But Kieran averted his gaze and covered his face while looking down grimly. Unfortunately, his actions were a tad too slow.

His actions and presence didn't escape the notice of the one he wanted to ignore.

"Kieran Silver?!"