88 Embracing the Unknown #88

Cedric's mind whirled with the implications of Rayleigh's words. The idea that he could have inadvertently dreamt up the devil fruit he held in his hands was intriguing. While he didn't fully believe it, the possibility alone was enough to fuel his curiosity and bolster his resolve.

Moreover, Rayleigh's mention of the fruit possibly being too powerful, leading to its suppression by the World Government, added another layer of intrigue. If the fruit possessed extraordinary abilities, it could be a game-changer in Cedric's journey and potentially aid him in achieving his goals.

The fact that he had mastered Geppo, allowing him to defy gravity and walk on air, further solidified Cedric's resolve. With this ability, he could minimize the risk of being submerged in water and avoid the dreaded consequence of losing his ability to swim.

Taking all these factors into consideration, Cedric made a bold decision. He decided to seize the opportunity and take a bite out of the mysterious devil fruit. The allure of its potential power, coupled with the belief that he might have played a role in its creation, overshadowed any doubts he had.

With a mixture of excitement and trepidation, Cedric brought the devil fruit to his lips and took a bite. The taste was unusual, a burst of flavors that danced on his tongue, all of which were putrid and rancid, causing him to blanch. As he reluctantly swallowed, a surge of energy coursed through his body, tingling in his veins.

In that moment, Cedric knew that his life had taken an irreversible turn. He had embraced the unknown, willingly diving into the depths of possibility.

And as Cedric looked up, he met Shakky and Rayleigh's gazes, their expressions a mix of surprise and anticipation. They were equally intrigued by the unfolding events, eager to witness the potential that lay dormant within Cedric and the fruit he had consumed.

As Cedric stood there, the energy coursing through his body intensified. His muscles tightened, and a strange sensation enveloped him. His skin prickled, and a warmth spread from the pit of his stomach, radiating outward to every corner of his being. It was as if every cell in his body awakened, pulsating with newfound vigor.

Cedric's eyes widened with astonishment as he observed the changes within his body. With the X-ray-like vision he had acquired by practicing the Hercules Method, he could see beyond the surface, delving deep into the intricate workings of his anatomy.

The surge of energy brought about by the devil fruit had amplified his perception, allowing him to witness the transformations unfolding on a microscopic level, a feat he had never accomplished before.

As he peered into his own flesh, Cedric marveled at the restructuring of his muscles and bones. Tendons stretched and strengthened, becoming more resilient. Blood vessels expanded, ensuring a heightened supply of oxygen and nutrients. He could see the subtle adjustments optimizing his physiology to unleash his full potential.

The realization dawned upon Cedric. The devil fruit he had consumed was not merely granting him physical strength but actively modifying his body, enhancing his anatomical structure to an extraordinary degree. The revelation pushed his understanding of the Hercules Method to its absolute limit.

Cedric's mind raced, connecting the dots between his rapidly increasing understanding of the Hercules Method and the alterations brought about by the devil fruit. The Method relied on anatomical knowledge and precise control over the body. By pushing his boundaries and reaching the pinnacle of his understanding, Cedric had unknowingly prepared himself for this pivotal moment.

Excitement and awe coursed through Cedric as he comprehended the significance of his observations. With this newfound understanding, he knew he had reached the highest level of mastery of human anatomy, tapping into the synergistic power of the devil fruit and his own honed physique.

'This... this is incredible...' Cedric mused as he basked in the sensation of having control over every one of his bodily functions, starting from mere muscle contractions to the interconnectedness of his body systems.

'Now is not the time... I have to focus on the devil fruit for now...' He shook his head.

With a firm resolve, Cedric harnessed his newfound knowledge and began his transformation. Drawing upon the energy coursing through his veins, he channeled it to specific points in his body, activating the dormant powers of the devil fruit in his heart.

Cedric closed his eyes and concentrated on the surge of energy within him. It flowed through his body like a raging river, seeking release and transformation. His muscles tensed, and a wave of heat washed over him, causing his skin to glisten with a faint sheen of sweat.

With an involuntary primal roar, Cedric's body underwent a remarkable metamorphosis. His form expanded, muscles bulging and stretching as they adapted to the overwhelming power coursing through him. Fur sprouted from his skin, spreading across his body like a fiery mantle, its color a vibrant mix of crimson and gold.

His hands, once human, now grew formidable claws capable of rending through steel and stone. His feet grew larger, and as he planted them into the ground, they left an imprint, a testament to his newfound strength. His facial features became more pronounced, with sharp canines protruding from his jaw, resembling those of a mighty primate.

A powerful tail emerged from his back, long and agile, flicking with an almost prehensile grace. It served as a counterbalance, enhancing Cedric's exceptional agility, control, and balance over his movements. The tail mirrored the fiery hues of his fur as if imbued with the very essence of his power.

As the transformation completed, Cedric stood tall, a fearsome sight to anyone. He had become a hybrid creature, an embodiment of raw power and untamed fury. Flames danced along his body, emanating from the fur and tail, a testament to his control over fire.

Cedric's eyes, now blazing golden fiery hue, scanned his surroundings. He felt an overwhelming surge of confidence and power through him. He had become something more, a force of nature.

Cedric's transformation into the hybrid form had surpassed his wildest expectations. He had become the embodiment of the mythical ape, a being of immense strength and control over fire. His reckless gamble had paid off, yet, amidst the exhilaration, he couldn't shake off the lingering questions and uncertainties.

Opening his eyes, Cedric turned his gaze towards Rayleigh and Shakky, who had been observing the transformation with a mixture of interest and anticipation. "Well, what do you think...?" He asked, his voice deep and rumbling, taking him by surprise.

Rayleigh and Shakky exchanged intrigued glances, their expressions betraying their deep knowledge and experience in the world of devil fruits. While they had witnessed countless extraordinary abilities and transformations over the course of their lives, Cedric's newfound hybrid form intrigued them nonetheless.

Rayleigh studied Cedric calmly and intently. "Not bad, young man..." he remarked, his voice carrying curiosity. "You have awakened the powers of a mythical zoan devil fruit... practically the rarest and most powerful type of devil fruit..." He declared with a nod.

Rayleigh and Shakky exchanged a perplexed glance before turning their attention back to Cedric. "Young man, what you possess is indeed a rare and extraordinary devil fruit," Rayleigh began. "However, I must confess that its nature and abilities are unfamiliar to me... and by the looks of things, even to Shakky..." He added as he turned to his wife.

"There's no mistake... this is either a newly formed devil fruit or an old one that the world government had buried for whatever reason..." Shakky replied with a nod, exhaling a cloud of smoke.

"Well, all things considered, I'm glad it wasn't something ridiculous like talking to squirrels or detaching arms..." Cedric jokingly said with a chuckle, unbothered to hide his relief at the result of his gamble.

Rayleigh smiled at Cedric's words. "Indeed, you've received a great power, young man," he said, his eyes filled with wisdom and intrigue. "And as much as I'd like to offer you detailed insights, the true extent of your abilities and the nature of this devil fruit will only reveal itself through your exploration and experience."

Cedric nodded at Rayleigh's words. "I thought as much, but it won't be a problem... I have a way of finding trouble..." He said as he closed his eyes and took a deep breath before reverting to his human form.

Cedric stood before Rayleigh and Shakky, already impatient and eager to explore the new powers he gained from mastering his anatomy and those of the devil fruit.

"Thanks, Rayleigh, Shakky. I appreciate your help," Cedric said, failing to hide his eagerness, much to the duo's amusement. "I gotta return to the Marine base and resume my training..." He added, hurriedly heading for the door.

Rayleigh nodded with a smile, understanding Cedric's impatience. "Go, young man... but do come and visit again..."

...

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