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Zilan decided to use this time to meditate and sort through his thoughts. Addressing what needed to be addressed and contemplating on the unanswered questions in his mind.
The location he chose for this meditation was naturally, beside the transforming Kifo.
The black miasma-like energy continued to enshroud Kifo and his surroundings while the mysterious white light reshaped his constitution and his figure into a unique soul-compression stage Beast.
“You are the biggest mystery as well as the closest mystery in my life currently.” Thought Zilan out loud. “With your current appearance I am now certain that you have no blood in you, from that Bronze sector clan leader you previously called Father.”
“Kifo. A name meaning Bringer of death but how exactly will you bring about this death?”
“A Beast who is clearly born to cultivate in the Laws of Death yet also happens to possess a seed of Light?”
“Is it but a mere coincidence that one who must walk a Path of Blood and one who bares the moniker, Bringer of Death, are fated to journey together?”
Zilan’s mind calmly operated, pondering on these matters. He, of course, didn’t get any concrete answers but at the very least he knew the right questions to ask which was better than knowing nothing at all.
‘Fate, huh? Sigh~….In the end, I still cannot come to terms with you. My future will be decided upon by me alone.’
Zilan’s mind wandered for half of the day and at the end of his inner dive, he felt his body refreshed. All the surprises and shocks he’d gotten since arriving in the Beast world had been absorbed and patiently thought on. Currently, even though there were many things he did not know, he still knew what those things were, and in the future he would strive to understand them.
“Back to the task at hand. The Ranking tournament.”
From the information he had received from Fujo, Zilan came to understand how the current standings on the Rank stone were as far as Fire Guardians went.
Still at first was Zilan, and just below him were the four other Beasts who just like him, dabbled in both Alchemy and being a Fire Guardian.
After that came a group of five Fire Guardians that included both Fujo and Kifo. These five were the only pure Fire Guardians to make it into the top twenty of the entrance test.
With Zilan at the head, this was the current top ten Fire Guardian rookies in the Association.
Below this group was now the rankings that the preliminaries had determined. There was no need to mention all of them since only the forty that would be advancing to the next stage of the tournament were relevant.
Heading this group was none other than Nyoka, who according to Fujo was at an advantage because her technique was basically designed to avoid attacks like the yellow streak of lightning, which only targeted a portion of the body and not the whole. If it was an attack that affected a large area then she wouldn’t have ranked as highly.
Right behind her was another youth who apparently used a similar method of evasion, like Nyoka’s, to triumph. He however, relied on his superior speed to prosper and survive but unfortunately, once the stage shrunk to a very small size, there was no amount of speed that could save him, thus barely losing out to Nyoka’s serpentine gifts.
After him was a one-eyed youth who relied on his blade skills to deflect the lightning but just like what happened to the large Wolf, once the streaks multiplied to a certain number, they overwhelmed him, sending him flying but because of his quick reactions, he received negligible injuries.
Speaking of the Earthen Wolf, he came next, but if one had any eyes attached to their skull, they already knew who the true dominant figure of this group was. Others would say that this dominance was what caused the yellow rod to target him but Zilan was different. In that last moment before the Wolf backed out, Zilan could tell that he had held back. As for his reasons, they didn’t matter.
Following after him was a host of uninteresting people, consisting of those who lucked out and others who Fujo suspected to be lackeys of Zest, all of whom Zilan could care less about.
In total there were fifty participating in the next stage of the tournament but in this entire group, Zilan only paid attention to the four like him who were both Alchemists and Fire Guardians, the group of Fujo, Kifo and the three others and finally, that Earthen Wolf as well as Nyoka.
Since he didn’t know much about those like him and the other three in the group of Fujo and Kifo, he decided to keep his focus on the current most dangerous figure, that Wolf.
‘Extremely strong bloodline.’ He surmised.
For those less learned, they might assume that those Beasts who had strikingly human features are the ones with strongest bloodlines. In some cases they wouldn’t be wrong but in most cases, those with truly powerful bloodlines retained their Beastly features. Take Zilan for example, once he transformed, in what way did he resemble a human?
The same could be said about that Wolf who even Fujo hadn’t heard of.
‘Doesn’t matter, I’ll find a way to examine him during the tournament.’ Thought Zilan.
“Phew.” Uncrossing his legs and stretching them out, Zilan decided to take a break.
He took of his special suit and let loose his large wings, remaining in only his inner shorts.
The wings quickly embraced Zilan tightly, trapping him in a shell of feathers that blocked his vision.
“Hey, I know you’re angry but it’s not like I can let you out for the world to see.” He said, trying to appease it.
The right wing gently brushed past Zilan’s face, as if saying, ‘Why not?’
“I just can’t. Now stop it, or I’ll put you back.”
Hearing that, the wings immediately stopped misbehaving, at least that was how Zilan took it. When in fact, the wings had just happened to notice the floating Kifo in the middle of the chamber.
Like a child playing with fire for the first time, it quickly extended its feathers through the miasma-like energy before retracting them at an even faster speed. After images could be seen as the wings played around with Kifo’s floating body.
Zilan was shocked and was just about to stop it from going any further when he noticed that no damage was being done. ‘Fine have your fun.’
He then took out three things from his voidless sack. An unassuming iron short sword, a cracked medallion and a piece of light blue jade. He’d acquired them from the antique store, during his trip with Fujo to buy things in preparation for the tournament.
“These are the things that the item I got from those people pointed me to.”
‘Those people’ Zilan was referring to were none other than the duo of Old Blue and Little Red.
Including some benefits that he’d asked for, he was also awarded two items for successfully surviving their test.
An item resembling a red squirrel soundlessly appeared in Zilan’s hands.
‘This treasure has the ability to sniff out other items of value. A treasure seeking treasure, hahaha!’
Although its function was beyond good, the real reason behind his laughter was that the item actually awarded Zilan the perfect excuse. If he ever came upon a great treasure using his eyes or the knowledge of his Ancestors then he could just give the credit for the accomplishment to the tiny stuffed red squirrel in his possession.
Looking back at the items before him, Zilan’s smile couldn’t help but stretch a little further.
‘A sword infused with the element of metal, a protective medallion that was previously of an extremely high level but with the damage done to its core although it’s now nothing legendary it can still be considered a lifesaving card. Then there’s this piece of ice jade….what a rare find!’
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