Bk 2 Chapter 100 – Merit points

A moment later and Zilan arrived at Guardian’s gate. This was a place exclusive to Fire Guardians thus it would be understandable that the place would be hectic however, the truth was that not even the bravest of the brave would dare to make trouble in this place. Of course, conflicts were natural therefore those could be settled in the various artificial wilderness in the area, but as for stirring up trouble in the main square, that was essentially taboo. The culprit would be immediately dealt with in the harshest way possible, expulsion would be considered a blessing in such a situation. Nobody knew why such a rule was in place but nevertheless they all obeyed it, mostly because they had no choice in the matter but also it was partly due to the discipline ingrained in them through the harsh training regimen they were being put through.

Guardian’s gate or the Western region was divided into three main categories. The relatively compact, main square where all the administrative offices were located for example banks, authorisation offices, and the like.

Then there was the various artificial environments created for training, anything that happened there, stayed there, it was basically considered a lawless and ‘voidless’ zone.

Finally, there was the training area. This was the most guarded area of the Fire Guardians since this place was said to be designed by the Chairman himself and its value as well as its efficiency in providing the best training possible was simply otherworldly, thus everything here was under the strict monitoring and operation of the Higher-ups.

This training area was where Zilan was currently headed. For new initiates, the fees for the first year of training would be taken care of by the Association however, after that in order to get stronger the members were basically forced to take risks in order to earn enough Mystic grains to support their cultivation. These risks could be in many forms, either apply for leave and search for treasure outside the Association, or seek a loan from the many banks or alternatively they could also participate in either Association organised duels and vie for the rewards or they could challenge others with the intention of betting. All in all, there were many ways to earn the Mystic grains however, all of them contained risks which would inevitably push the members either to their deaths or to a higher level of strength. This was the way the system was designed and it was also the way the already oppressed Beasts lived their lives, only the strong were allowed to live, to the weak a quick death was a blessing, a type of release from this hell of a world.

Zilan first had the fire Guardian’s insignia on his chest verified at the main square before he swiftly headed towards the training area. On the way there his mind was still occupied with thoughts of Zest IronBlood. He didn’t really like the kid but he also felt that losing him as a student was indeed a waste. Unfortunately, that arrogant character reminded Zilan of things he’d much rather face later rather than sooner. Maybe in the mind of the young Zest and others who thought like him, Zilan was like a blind man trying to teach others how to paint. His lack of a flame was just that large of a barrier for them, it was hard to accept another way of Alchemy that didn’t require their innate gifts. It was akin to a slap on their faces, making them aware of the fact that they really weren’t that special.

Naturally, Zilan didn’t really mind this situation. He only felt that Zest was a waste of talent, a realisation that struck him quite hard since he was essentially a non-talented alchemist. Only through a vast amount of reading and guidance from the Book of Path was he able to not only bridge the gap but also leap ahead.

One might be wondering why he would feel such a sting or even any loss at all from Zest’s actions. In fact, this was a very reasonable question since teaching was an obligation pushed onto him not something he chose for himself.

This all changed though last night when Zilan realised that to put his eventual plan into effect not only would vast amounts of labour be needed but also the amount of skilled individuals he’d need under him was nothing to sneeze at either. In that case, wasn’t this place the perfect recruiting environment, not to mention if he was going to pass along his knowledge onto them anyway then there was no problem in considering them his in-name disciples. He would pass along some of the things he could and in the end they could address him as Master, but as for any deeper relationship than that, Zilan didn’t need it. Those things couldn’t be forced nor was there anyone qualified enough to receive that much attention from him, at least not in this world. The talent level was after all inferior compared to many of the places described by Zaum in the Book of Path, not to mention it would waste too much precious time that he could otherwise allocate to his own training.

With all that in mind, the loss of a potential good recruit like Zest slightly pained him.

“Sigh~ It doesn’t matter, one step at a time will do for now. First I have to make sure to do a good job here and gain as much notoriety as possible.” He thought to himself.

With his speed, little time elapsed before Zilan arrived at his destination.

Surprisingly, he found Kifo already there. Him along with a troop of about a hundred new Fire Guardians were sited cross-legged attentively listening to a lecture being given by one of the Instructors.

Seeing Zilan swagger into the initiate practice grounds, the Instructor who resembled a golden hide Bear shot him a fierce glare. He paid no mind to it though, swiftly finding his way to the back before taking a seat.

The reason Zilan could ignore the Instructor was due to the fact the rules of the Fire Guardians didn’t mention non-combat classes as compulsory however, it did not fail to express that failure to attend would result in a fine of a certain amount of Mystic grains.

Naturally, Zilan was able to afford this amount and many people were aware of this including the Instructors thus they didn’t care to waste their saliva reprimanding him again and again. Needless to say, if these lessons were even slightly beneficial to him, Zilan would make sure never to miss any of them. Unfortunately, after the first lesson, he understood that the curriculum focused only on the cultivation of Beasts, information that was in most cases useless to his growth. Nevertheless, he had something to do here today, so he might as well attend the lesson.

“Now then, through the last few weeks I’ve been able to monitor the progress of all of you in your physical training however, some of you have failed to meet my expectations. Therefore, if you see your name up on the list hanging on the wall that means you are now qualified to access the various array chambers the Association provides at no cost to yourself. It goes without saying that there will be limits to the number of times a month you can access each chamber however, this is already a very big advantage for all of you.”

Regardless of their background, each and every person nodded their heads in excitement. They couldn’t wait to rush towards the list and see if they made the cut for free chamber access. After all, who hadn’t heard of the great effects such chambers provided, not to mention they could only be found in the Association and a few other large organisations.

“As for those who’ve disappointed me, you will still be able to access the array chambers but just like others the cost will be taken upon by you, the Association will not waste its resources on those who refuse to work for it.”

For some reason Zilan felt these words were directed to him.

“Okay that’s enough of that, you can go check the list once I’m done with my announcement.

Ehem, as all of you know, we Beasts are evolved. Everything from our intellect to our physical capabilities have been enhanced by many levels compared to our original abilities.

The reason for our evolution is due to our Ancestors comprehension of the Universe which then triggered a change in them which allowed them to transform into a body much more suitable to harness the power of whatever was comprehended.

For us to further evolve and grow stronger, the process remains the same. Without comprehension or some understanding of the Universe, no major progress will be made and we will remain the same forever. Thankfully, we have the Chairman who many years ago developed a chamber that could give us the best chance to comprehend something from the Universe. This chamber was built using materials that are far too precious to waste thus the number of chances to use this Enlightenment enclosure is fixed at twice. After these two times, you will never be able to enter the chamber again either because you’ll have already evolved thus no longer requiring the help of the enclosure since its power is limited to only those yet to produce a black core. Or because you’ll have failed both times and to power the enclosure a third time costs too much thus it will be impossible for you to gain another opportunity to use it, unless of course you’ve earned [Merit points].” He looked at Zilan as he mentioned Merit points.

“A word of advice. If you happen to fail your attempts at comprehension both times then you can rest easy knowing that even if you attempt it a third time it will most likely end in failure. That’s all I have to say, plan accordingly!”

As soon as the Instructor ended his speech whispers about how great the Alchemy Association and its Chairman were could be heard within the crowd. This situation however, only lasted a moment before people started taking off for the list on the wall.

Zilan already knew he wasn’t on the list therefore he didn’t bother going to check on it. In truth, he didn’t really care about the list since he had enough Mystic grains to support himself for a satisfactory amount of time. As for the Enlightenment enclosures the Instructor spoke of, Zilan didn’t even spare it a thought.

He already had too much enlightenment in his life. Right now what he needed to do was raise his cultivation to a level similar to his Dragon body, only then could he feel more comfortable.

Another lesser factor that went into this decision was also that Zilan really didn’t want to lose his Merit point. For all his ‘grand’ achievements, he’d only been given one, which goes to show just how precious they were.

The points themselves had very many uses but the one people were most familiar with was its use to purchase the treasures that the Association sold. Not the plain treasures but the true treasures that were cherished and desired by all under the sky. These were things that one would never be able to purchase using money alone that it why the Merit point system was created.

Only those who’d made a huge contribution or brought some form of huge benefit to the Association would receive ‘A’ Merit point.

Important announcement ;

I will continue to release a chapter a day for a while as we get back into the groove of things. If you would like to read chapters in advance without having to wait days, then please feel free to check out my patreon page. (https://www.patreon.com/emeraldragon)

Finally, I would like to announce the launching of my twitter account. I’ve been using social media for a while for personal use but I’ve always shied away from using it as a platform to communicate with my readers…(don’t really know why) However, that has now changed! I will be using twitter to interact with my followers on a daily basis and not just have the usual, “chapter updates and then silence”. No! Through memes, gifs and well tweets I will strive to not only entertain but actually interact and converse…but as you know, one can’t talk to themselves at least not without having a mental problem so please follow me as we move on with our journey.

Your humble author,


You may also like: