An – I am very sorry for the lack of posting/communication of what has been going on with the novel over the past few weeks. Well, my father passed away and as a result a lot of changes have occurred in my life. I’ve been completely ignoring writing or rather I could not write nor did I want to but I’m coping and I pray things get back to normal soon.
I appreciate those who are still reading and I apologise for not informing you guys sooner.
Riding in a special carriage Amani had lent them, Zilan and Kifo quietly exited the Alchemy Association. Memories of who he was when he first arrived appeared in Zilan’s mind. Comparing his past self to his current self was tremendously difficult. Although not much time had actually passed, to Zilan, it felt like he had spent an eternity in the Association.
“Where exactly are we going?” Kifo asked.
“North; according to Mnyama, the inheritance site is located around the outskirts of [King’s Land].”
“King’s land… Father said that it’s a dangerous place. All the powerful Beasts aside from the ones in the four factions reside there. If we trespass on their territory, the outcome will not bode well.”
“Where do those Beasts come from?” Zilan asked, “Considering their power, why would they live there? I know that there’s Universe energy to be had in the North, but it doesn’t make sense.”
“Father used to tell me stories about the old days that the Ancestors used to roam in. Apparently, some of the Beasts that reside in [King’s Land] are actually quite Ancient. However, they’re also injured and slowly recuperating.”
“Yes, courtesy of Mungu. Others were done in by the Beast King. Mungu was suppressing them while the Beast King was making sure that they didn’t get in the way of his war. After all, not everyone was on board with attacking Mungu. Thus, after the King’s demise, [King’s Land] was born. No one knows for certain how many powerful Beasts reside there, but reports of Wyverns and giant serpents have been relayed back from time to time; that coupled with the fact that the greedy four factions have never dared to invade the [King’s Land], it’s simple to understand how dangerous that place is. Of course, some solitary Beasts were born post-war and have evolved to the point that they carved out a space for themselves in [King’s Land]. In fact, most of the Beasts there fit this mold.”
“And those powerful Ancient Beasts have never tried to come to Brivata?”
“They wouldn’t dare. Brivata does not welcome them because they stood against the Beast King when he was struggling for our freedom. The humans would absolutely never allow them to join Brivata because in their eyes, that would make us a much greater threat. Thus, even if they wanted to come out, I doubt they’d have the guts to.”
“Well, our destination is at the outskirts, and the Shadow faction resides there, so I doubt anything will go wrong,” Zilan declared.
The duo continued their journey in silence. It wasn’t until night fell, and they set up camp that they resumed conversing.
“You always look like you’re thinking about something! What is it exactly?” Kifo suddenly asked.
“Why are you asking me this now?” Zilan smiled, “Anyway, I think about a lot of things, usually multiple things at once.”
“You could call it an obsession. I don’t want to be caught off guard ever again. Too often have I been led by the nose, manipulated, and used. In order to change that, I must always be a step ahead of everyone else. At least, that’s what I tell myself these days.”
“Hmm?” The last part confused Kifo.
“Before, no, I am and always will be fueled by hatred, rage, and a desire for revenge. It’s as simple as that. Try as I might to come up with different ways to make my cause appear more righteous, the underlying motivation for my actions will always be revenge, not just for me but for all of my people. That’s why I want to know the full story.”
“The full story?” Kifo asked. Zilan’s words surprised him; the man had always been eccentric, but the current him was even more strange.
“One of the things that you and I have in common is that we are both unsure of the pasts of our people.” Zilan fell silent, refusing to further discuss the topic.
“You’re getting more and more… different.”
“I could say the same about you.”
Kifo didn’t know how to respond to that. Is this what soul cultivation does to a person?
“And your plan?”
“What about it?” Zilan looked up to the starry skies, a smile crossing his face. The basic principle of soul cultivation required one to be true to oneself; to Zilan, that simply meant living his truth. As grand as his ambitions were, his motivations as of now were centered around mostly negative emotions. However, the more he learnt about his people and what his role was, the more that changed.
“You wish to save this world, right? How close are you to that?”
“Save? My wish is to change this world and in the process, make myself stronger. A lot of things need to be changed for this world to even near being saved.”
“Make yourself stronger…” Kifo whispered.
“Kifo, when you examine my progress, do you believe that my advancements were fast?”
“Of course.” If Zilan’s progress wasn’t fast then what on earth was everyone else’s progress?
“I see; well, you’re wrong.” After hearing the Chairman’s story and learning about the super race Roho’s complete extermination, Zilan’s view of his accomplishments had changed. He had realized that the Heavens were winning. After all, another Universe race was essentially eliminated with only a sole survivor. Who could predict what would be next, and when it would happen?
“No matter how fast I progress, it will never be enough.” Zilan resolutely declared.
Kifo’s gaze remained fixed on Zilan.
“Numbers. Human numbers specifically.” Zilan murmured. “If you think about it, any living organism that does not house Universe Energy, Beast force, or the other special forms of energy aside from Spirit power can be turned into a Human.”
“Don’t you find that frightening?” He added, “I do.”
Kifo stood still, speechless. Something about how the starlight illuminated Zilan’s figure in conjunction with the profound things he was saying, made him unable to react. As much as what Zilan was describing frightened Kifo, the fact that someone could break it down, analyze the interlocking parts of the universe, and still maintain the desire to challenge the Heavens themselves caused Kifo to wonder what the frightening thing really was.
Inspiration flashed through his eyes as he watched Zilan. One man, many evolutions.