The hate for Zilan continued for a long while and under Amani’s advice, he stayed within the camp grounds laying low.
Eventually, the Disciplinary department had to get involved since the allegations being made against him were indeed a very serious issue.
An investigation that went through everything, quickly took place but surprisingly, not long after, it concluded with a statement from one of the Disciplinary Disciples, clearing Zilan of many of the accusations against him. For example, the rumours being spread around that were causing chaos amongst Alchemists were completely squashed by the Disciples however, the parts about the Half Breed releasing his students was deemed true. As for whether or not it was done due to a threat from the Elder Jingiza and his pupil, they were unable to discern. First of all as mere disciples despite the authority to monitor normal members, only the truly high level Disciples could investigate Elders which in all honesty, would normally never, ever happen. After all, who was more valuable? A rookie or an established power house who has served the Association for decades? The answer was simple!
Besides, this was the world of Beasts. Conflicts and rivalries were a daily occurrence. This was a necessity if their kind was going to ever grow stronger. Therefore, for authorities to step in and help every time something unfair happened, it would hinder rather than help their purpose.
“Only through tribulations will a Beast rise higher.” Was a popular saying amongst the Old Beasts.
Just like that the mass hatred for the Half Breed was quelled. At least that was how it was supposed to happen but in life things don’t always play out as they’re supposed to.
Before, many of the Alchemists and Fire guardians bearing deep hatred for Half Breeds as well as humans couldn’t act on their intentions because not only was Zilan outstanding thus valued by camps like Amani’s but also, they didn’t have a righteous reason to act. Before it would have been seen as stooping to scum’s level or the strong bullying the weak, but now? The situation had taken a complete turnaround. They now had things to pick at and point out thus putting themselves on the side of the righteousness.
Why did this matter so much, you ask? Well, in the current world today, who was on the ‘right’ side? If you asked a normal human in a normal town they would give ‘reasonable to them’ reasons as to why they were the righteous side. Maybe they’d point to higher/more knowledge, technology or power or even evolution, claiming nature chose them, perhaps they’d even invoke fate or the will of God stating that if things should have been different they would have been.
Likewise, a normal Beast in a normal town, village, tribe would point out ‘reasonable to them’ reasons as to why they were the ‘righteous’ side.
Thinking about it from that point of view, the actions of both sides that were carried out in broad daylight were actually governed by these unwritten rules of righteousness.
For example if one side did something that was underhanded or evil and in full view of the public, it would certainly be used as fuel for the other side, ascertaining their beliefs that they were the true ‘right’ side.
Granted this didn’t mean that evil acts didn’t take place on both sides. It’s just that they were done in the dark, away from the prying eyes of the public.
This same principle applied to the actions of the Beasts in the Alchemy Association.
A reputation of welcoming all Alchemists as long as they had Beast blood flowing in their veins was something that had value beyond words. They wouldn’t allow the actions of some unruly Beasts to sully it.
Therefore the concept of righteousness was something that governed the actions of both Beast kind and Humans alike.
Within his home, one might think that Zilan was either bored or frustrated by the events unfolding outside. Well, the truth is, that could not be farther from the truth.
Zilan was actually relishing the attention. At first he was obviously concerned but after a talk with Amani, he came to realise that the repercussions weren’t nearly as bad as he thought.
Using this, his fame amongst the members of the Association would sky rocket, even if it wasn’t all good publicity, it was nevertheless still publicity and that was his aim.
Of course, just because he was happy with the way things were going outside didn’t mean he would like to stay indoors for a long time.
Luckily, he intended to use this newfound time to finally give Kifo a push into the next level of comprehension.
“We’re almost at the starting line. This is your last chance to reconsider, beyond this point and there’ll be no going back, even if you want to.” Reminded Zilan.
The two were currently sited cross-legged opposite yet very close to one another. Their knees even touched.
The chamber they were in was one of the cultivation rooms that Fujo built in the house. It was clean, spacious and durable but best of all it was isolated. No sound, light or energy could escape the confines of the room, making it perfect for what Zilan and Kifo were about to do.
“I don’t care what I have to do, as long as I can get stronger.” Replied Kifo. His words might have sounded grand but from Zilan’s perspective they were just flowery, lacking the necessary conviction.
“Just like I thought.” He whispered.
“What’s wrong?” wondered Kifo.
“You say you want to accomplish your goals? You want the strength to achieve your goals? So tell me what exactly these goals you’re chasing after are?”
Zilan stopped him before he could answer, “Answers, right? That is what you seek. But unfortunately, since your fate has been tied to mine, your goal is something that is ultimately still too distant for the current you to even think about. Right now, you need to be grounded, focused on something that is in sight yet slightly out of reach, only then will you be able to have the best productivity when it comes to training and comprehension.”
Kifo took some time to digest his words and Zilan patiently waited for him.
“What do you have in mind?”
“When I asked you to call me Boss, I was joking but I was also very serious. It’s difficult for me to say this, but I need you. Don’t get me wrong though, the current you to me has little use but what you could be in the future is something I can’t do without. It sounds strange but I require you to take me as your Boss.” Zilan’s tone was solemn and his eyes showed a look of determination mixed with helplessness.
“Why?” was all Kifo responded with.
“Why? This isn’t the main reason but I’m extremely confident when I say, to train you to the fullest capacity requires knowledge, resources and teachings that are not from this world and quite frankly, I am the only one who can do it. Just because of this, you should take me as your Boss.”
Kifo nodded but couldn’t help frowning hearing this.
“As for the main reason? To put it simply, I have a major flaw. It’s something that I cannot fix, maybe I can suppress it or cause it to disappear for a while but it will crop up one way or another eventually. This flaw is my greatest weakness and as you can guess, I can’t get rid of it. It’s something I’ve inherited from my people, it’s ingrained into my very bones and at times it disgusts me and other times it fascinates me.”
“What is it?”
“Remorse! For some reason, my people feel too much remorse and pity for others, maybe this is why there’s so few of us left. We could never understand that pity and remorse, such feelings are reserved for the strong. As only those of higher standing will have the time to pity someone else.
Because of this flaw, I’m going to need a sword, one that lacks remorse. As Beasts, you naturally feel less remorse for the enemy than say humans but, you Kifo, are a special kind of creature. Accept and I’ll show you what I mean. Help me survive and I’ll help you with anything, take me as your Boss and together let’s change this world, as brothers who stand on the same battlefield. Remember you aren’t an underling but a brother with whom I’ll entrust my life. Calling me Boss, is just how it’s supposed to me, in some places referring to me as ‘Father’ is the norm…”
Kifo was carefully listening and digesting everything until the very last sentence that came from Zilan’s mouth.
A choice between Father and Boss. You should be able to guess his answer.
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