Aside from the occasional conversation whenever they stopped to make camp, the duo’s journey was pretty uneventful; even the bandits that Kifo had expected to strike failed to show up. He found this quite strange until Zilan pointed out that their formidable auras most likely assured a peaceful and quiet journey.
After all, what kind of bandit would attack a carriage containing two soul-compression stage equivalent beings? And even if there were bandits capable of taking action, would they dare to move on them upon noticing the insignia of the Alchemy Association? The answer to that question was a resounding, no. No power or individual would risk the wrath of the Fire Guardians falling upon them.
And thus, just like that, the duo departed from Brivata and for days, uninteruptedly travelled at high speeds before finally arriving at King’s Land.
“We should be there soon,” Zilan said. He gazed out the window of the carriage, his facial expression stiff. Thoughts of the person who had aided his liberation wormed their way into his mind. The calm air that had surrounded him ever since they left the Alchemy Association vanished, which Kifo quickly noticed.
“Before I came to Brivata, there was a person named Flesc. He sacrificed a lot to enable me to be where I am today. Granted, he had his own motivations for doing what he did, but nevertheless, I owe him much more than what he received…” Sorrow pooled in Zilan’s eyes.
“What happened to him?” Kifo asked.
A white, unblemished Beast-core appeared in Zilan’s hands. “He’s dead.”
Sighing, he stowed the core, thinking, ‘But, I haven’t forgotten. When I’m done here, I’ll see to it that your core is delivered to your family, where it belongs.’
Hours quickly went by, and before long, a dark forest stretched ahead of them as far as the eye could see. Further in was a six-hundred-meter clearing lacking a single tree. That was the place where Mnyama had asked Zilan to go and also the location of the Inheritance site.
This was the first time Zilan had encountered an Inheritance site. Therefore, he was eager to discover what it had to offer. Kifo, on the other hand, had been silent ever since they reached the clearing. His senses were on high alert as he carefully examined the surrounding area.
The strange behaviour naturally caught Zilan’s attention. “Are you alright?” As far as he could tell, there was nothing threatening about the environment, so why was Kifo acting up? Could his senses have picked up something Zilan’s didn’t? The likelihood of that was not high.
“I feel… funny,” Kifo replied.
“In what way?”
“I don’t know how to describe it. This place… I feel like I’ve been here before. How is that possible?” Kifo asked, clearly flustered.
“Calm down. Some questions cannot be answered, no matter how hard one thinks; only when the time is right will all that you seek be revealed. I’m sure we’ll find out more by exploring the inheritance site.”
Kifo agreed with Zilan, but he still found the whole experience disturbing. His blood boiled, and he felt like there were a million tiny ants crawling over his skin. Zilan too was disturbed; however, this was different from Kifo’s feelings. The words about answers only coming when the time was right could apply for himself as well. The favorable view he had of Inheritance sites had now completely changed. He felt that the odds of his Ancestor Akili having something to do with them had greatly increased.
With that in mind, he piloted the carriage toward the shadow camp’s location.
They arrived in a matter of seconds. A gigantic black tent stood in front of them, standing around thirty feet high and sixty feet wide. Beside the large tent were many smaller ones, like soldiers huddling beneath a mountain. Occupying them were a number of Beasts donning black cloaks with each having an image of a fiery salamander sewn into it.
To their surprise, at the entrance of the large tent, Mnyama waited.
‘The communication tool monitors one’s location as well,’ Zilan thought.
Despite their arrival, Mnyama did not seem to be in high spirits. Nevertheless, he tried his best to be presentable. He lowered his head slightly as a greeting out of respect when Zilan descended from the carriage. After all, the last time they had met, his cultivation had been above Zilan’s. Thus, even though he had addressed Zilan as Senior and feared his bloodline, Mnyama had never completely lowered himself. Now though, after a single glance, his instincts warned him to flee, and this was without Zilan even actively releasing his aura.
He was also shocked by Kifo’s current appearance. Being a fellow feline, the transformation Kifo had gone through left a much greater impression on him than others. Kifo had strengthened to the extent that Mnyama couldn’t tell who would be victorious if the two of them battled.
Kifo didn’t think highly of the four factions, so he ignored Mnyama’s greeting, quietly following Zilan.
“It’s been a while,” Zilan casually remarked.
“It really has.”
“Where’s the Inheritance site? I hope I haven’t made you wait too long.”
“Um, the situation has taken a rather unexpected turn since we last spoke. As for the details, Master Ulimi will brief you; he’s waiting for us inside,” Mnyama said.
“Ulimi?” Kifo’s ears perked up when he heard the name.
“You know him.”
“Of course I know him; he’s the Head of the Shadow faction. Aside from the Founder, he is the highest authority and the strongest warrior in the faction.”
Mnyama guided them into the tent. The inside of the tent was compartmentalized into numerous, small office-like rooms. In the deepest part of the tent, a tall golden door stood, seeming almost out of place as it dwarfed everything around it.
Mnyama respectfully knocked the door three times before it automatically unlocked.
“Enter,” a hoarse voice uttered from within.
Zilan turned to Mnyama who silently gestured for them to enter; he would not be joining them.
Intrigued, Zilan walked in. Unlike Kifo’s expectations, the interior behind the ornate door was rather spartan. Simple furniture and appliances furnished the room with nothing eye-catching. “Thank you for coming, Mr. Zilan.”
A creature covered entirely with scales, short curved horns, small yet razor-sharp teeth, and with the body of an upright salamander but a human head walked from behind the center desk and greeted Zilan, paying no mind to Kifo.
Its demon-like black eyes stared into Zilan’s before glancing away. Ulimi smiled.