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Seeing all seven of his students kneel down and call him Master, mixed feelings welled up inside of Zilan. On one hand he was overjoyed by their show of respect however, by looking at all of their current expression particularly, the Harnah sisters and Hendrek, he could tell that they weren’t all that convinced.
Yes, he had extraordinary ability but the fact that he was only a year or two older than them made it quite hard to fully buy in to his teachings and his leadership. Zilan couldn’t blame them for this as he too would probably have acted in a similar manner if he was in their shoes. What he needed to do now was to show them his true ability and knowledge, only this way could he convince them that becoming his disciples would be the farthest thing from a loss that they could ever dream of.
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The show of strength and ability was a must as the role of a Master, traditionally, is a situation where one becomes a Mountain who supports and nurtures his/her disciples as they explore their abilities as well as their talents throughout the world. Should a time arise where the disciple requires assistance either in the knowledge department or in the strength department, they need to know that their Master is available and able to lend a hand.
“Master?” A sweet, delicate voice, the embodiment of spring itself came out from the mouth of the younger of the Harnah sisters. She was curious as to why their Master was just looking into space, mum.
Zilan could see some respect in the way Unlei looked at him however, the older one seemed more indifferent, like she was simply doing it because everyone else had moved out.
“Don’t worry.” He said, clearing his throat.
“Are you all sure about this decision? It is one that cannot be taken back, so think carefully.” Continued Zilan.
A second had yet to pass when Andrete, Misty, Grouch and Lorn all simultaneously shouted, “Master!”
A natural smile formed on Zilan’s face. He had just now learned that he quite liked being referred to as Master.
“What about you three?”
Hendrek also called out, “Master!” He was a little annoyed that he had lagged behind from the others. Even if he wasn’t as convinced as they were, he didn’t want to receive less treatment and instruction simply because he had failed to show enough respect.
Unlei nudged her sister and they both sweetly called out, “Master.” Causing Zilan to slightly shiver.
‘Having pretty girls call you Master, No wonder Fujo doesn’t wish to change his ways.’
“Good.” Exclaimed Zilan. He then drew seven identical runes in the air and dropped some of his blood onto each of them.
The runes then flew towards Lorn, Grouch, Misty, Andrete, Unlei, Silei and Hendrek. Unlike the scriptures, this time the thing Zilan had thrown did not go inside of them instead the runes hovered inches away from their chests.
“Drip some of your blood onto them.” Directed Zilan.
Lorn and the others curiously examined the runes however, Andrete did not bother even looking. He directly pricked his thumb and dripped more than enough blood onto the rune.
The rune then disappeared into his body, facing no obstruction whatsoever.
“The runes are my mark. As long as you have them, you will be considered my disciples.” Said Zilan as he smiled towards Andrete.
The others followed suit, taking the runes inside them.
“How do we lose them?” asked Lorn.
“There are two ways. The first, you betray me. And the second, when you are no longer of this world.”
The group unconsciously looked away from Zilan as he spoke of betrayal. For some reason, when looking at his expression they felt endless fear.
“What do the runes do?” asked Silei after building up enough courage.
“Simple. Just concentrate on my image and you’ll know.”
Immediately after, the seven of them closed their eyes and focused on their image of Zilan. What they didn’t expect was for the image they had of him to suddenly change from the human looking Half Breed to a Blue fully scaled otherworldly draconian being with two gigantic black wings on his back. The aura the image was releasing was so intense that sweat began to pour from their backs and forehead.
Just when it was getting to an unbearable stage, the aura the image was exuding suddenly turned calm and instead of pressuring them, it actually attempted to merge with them.
They all hesitated at first but after Zilan’s voice came over urging them to accept the aura, they all willingly reached out it.
Instantly, a powerful Ancient energy burst through their veins and they could feel their cultivations increasing and their body strength improve.
They all shook in utter disbelief at such an occurrence. ‘What the hell is going on?’ They could not help but ask themselves.
Because of the sudden shock, their connection to the aura got interrupted. Gradually, the body and cultivation increase reduced, going back to how it was before they reached out to merge with the aura.
Opening their eyes, they could see Zilan smiling at them however, a deep fear as well as great respect was now deeply etched in all of their hearts.
“What you saw cannot be mentioned to another soul. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Master.” This time their voices weren’t as loud but a knowledgeable person would have noticed a previously non-existent unified air around them as well as a conviction and pride in their voices.
Zilan nodded his head. He was extremely satisfied with their reactions.
“Those runes contain some of my essence. In times of extreme danger only, you can tap into a portion of my strength using it to overcome whatever it is your power alone cannot push through.”
“Are there limitations….side-effects?” questioned Lorn, even he struggled to maintain eye contact with Zilan.
‘At the Rookie Ranking tournament, why didn’t he use his strength? Does he prefer being low key? That must be it.’ Thought Lorn, his admiration for the figure standing before him, sharply elevating.
“Limitations? If I perish the runes capabilities drastically fall. As for side-effects, why would I mark you with something harmful?”
“Disciple didn’t mean…”
“It’s fine don’t worry about it. The mark you all have in times of danger will give you strength, in times of worry will calm your mind, in times of desperation and helplessness it’ll explode with hope and….well you can figure out the rest.”
“In times of desperation give us hope. Does that mean there’s a higher level of power to be obtained from the mark?” whispered Hendrek.
“If you desire it bad enough, possibly.” Zilan mysteriously smiled.
“Okay, back to Alchemy. Take your seats. There’s a lot of things I need to clear up with you all first before we can conclude today’s lesson. A few lies and a few truths need to be shone light on.”
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