Chapter 13 – Path to Cultivation (i)

The more Zilan read, the happier he became.

“I was right! I knew it, all these years of research…” Tears of both joy and relief began to streak down, staining the book’s pages.

In truth Zilan did not have much confidence in his theory. He had done all that needed to be done, down to the very last detail however what caused the seeds of doubt to sprout was the fact that what he was attempting had never even been thought of before. Not even by Zaum!

He borrowed a few concepts on the workings of the body from the book of Path, but aside from that everything else was done by him. He alone persevered, he alone endured tragedy after tragedy due to his weakness and he alone has finally taken a step forward towards his ultimate goal of revenge against the Heavens.

Now all that was left was to turn the theory that was locked away in his mind, into practice. The final step was to combine the ingredients procured by Flesc and begin his path.

Just as he thought that, Zilan suddenly remembered that he had yet to deliver the payment he promised to Flesc.

The experiment can wait!” he thought.

Just like that, he placed the book back into the voidless sack and dressed himself in fine black robes before leaving his room.

“The place should be by the East Wall.”

The East Wall was where all of Morning Dew City’s poor called home. It’s characteristics included having the highest crime and unemployment rates, in fact almost every establishment in that area was either a bar of some sort or a house of bodily pleasures.

Zilan had never been to the place before, by his own choice of course. However, as circumstances were currently, he had no choice. A promise was a promise!

On the way Zilan would ask for directions to the exact address written on the note but instead of actual aid, all he received were foolish comments,

“Little boy…that is not a place for people like you. The quality of the girls there are too poor, if you want to play I’ll show to Mystic Jade palace but you have to pay for me as well.” said one old man.

Another person told Zilan to follow him and he would lead him there but the look on his face told Zilan, that the man was not to be trusted. Besides even if he did trust the man, the answer would have still been “No, thanks!” After all, was he to lead a stranger to the place he was supposed to pay for smuggling services done by a Beast?

Only after questioning five people did he finally meet one old beggar who drew a map in the ground for him. In return the beggar got a gold coin for his troubles, which caused him to continuously shout out blessings for Zilan. “The heavens will definitely repay your kindness!”

Once that was over with, Zilan followed the directions carefully until finally he came across an abandoned shopping area.
The buildings occasionally creaked as the wind blew by, clearly on the verge of collapsing.
Surprisingly though as Zilan moved deeper in, he found that no one was staying here. “For a people that lacked housing, wouldn’t this place be a perfect substitute?”

“Hello?” he shouted, as his eyes vigilantly surveyed the area.

Suddenly just as he was turning into a half destroyed small shop, his ears caught onto the sound of wind whistling at high speeds towards him. Unfortunately, before Zilan could turn around he felt a sharp pain in the back of his head and soon after drifted into unconsciousness.

……………

Zilan’s eyes slowly opened. He didn’t know how much time had passed but he did know that he wasn’t in a good situation.

He was sited on a chair however, both his arms and legs were binded with rope. In front of him were three beasts and just like Flesc, they walked on two feet and were dressed in clothes.

“We came all the way here for nothing!” shouted the female fox.

“Calm down Jeza. We don’t even know if this is the one Junior Flesc spoke of. Wasn’t he supposed to arrive a week from now?” said the old hare.

“Hey…what’s your name?” asked Jeza.

“Zilan!”

“You see, it is him! That idiot Flesc died for nothing.” Said Jeza as she pointed at Zilan.

“We don’t know that yet!”

“Oh! So you expect me to believe this kid is an alchemist?” barked Jeza.

“Excuse me….I came here to deliver Flesc’s payment and….core”

“Shut up brat! Don’t you dare speak his name again. We need to get rid of him Tort!”

Tort the old hare, stroked the fur on his chin as he pondered something,

“Zilan, why did you ask Junior Flesc to bring you those specific ingredients?”

Zilan was at a loss for words. What should he say? If his answer didn’t satisfy them then it would be the end of him.

“The items I asked for was for an experiment I’m working on.”

“Lies!” barked Jez. “How can you possibly understand the profoundness of alchemy at your age?”

“Be quiet Jez, I will ask the questions?” said Tort.

“Child, do you know why Junior sacrificed his life to bring you those items?”

Zilan remained silent.

“It was because I told him it would benefit our kin if he did so. I was the one who gave him those items to deliver to you, in exchange for your help. If you cannot do what I ask then I’m afraid I will have to take your life to appease Junior’s soul.”

“What do you want?”

“I need a small explosive capable of destroying a city gate to be made. Can you do this?”

“If I cannot or if I refuse?”

“Then you perish!”

Zilan thought it through. It wasn’t that he didn’t have any methods to create such a weapon but rather if the bomb was used to kill then blood would inevitably be on his hands.

“I can do what you want but I need time to make it…”

“That is acceptable.” Replied Tort.

“Also the use of the explosive must not lead to any death. If you intend on killing then go ahead and start with me.”

Just as Tort was about to answer the other Beast, a shadow wolf with scars on his face suddenly spoke out,

“No one who doesn’t deserve to die will kick the bucket. On that, I give you my word!”

After he said that, the wolf turned around and left the room.

“You heard him. So prove it!” said Jez.

“What?” asked Zilan.

“Do you really think we’ll just take your word for it? Prove that you’re an alchemist!”

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A cold sweat ran down Zilan’s back,

“In a weeks time I’ll have your item made. As for proving my words, I can’t do that currently.”

“Why?” asked Tort.

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“The experiment I told you about, I’ve already started testing it on myself. As such, I’m completely useless until a week from now. You can check my cultivation if you think I am deceiving you.”

Tort moved closer towards Zilan and grabbed his wrist. He was feeling for Zilan’s spiritual power.

“You…” Needless to say he got a big surprise.

“I can’t feel anything, why?”

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