Chapter 2 – Insights

The cold winds of morning blew by as the sun rose.

“Zilan! Wake up,” whispered Solmo as he nudged Zilan awake.

“Wha… is it!” murmured Zilan as he slapped Solmo’s hand away.

Solmo then stood up and opened the curtains of the room, allowing the bright sunlight in.
“I need a favor.”
“Fine! I’ll do it but please, leave me be.” Barked Zilan as he threw his blanket over his head, quickly drifting into a deep sleep.

Sighing in relief, Solmo then placed a note by Zilan’s bed before heading back to bed.

A few hours later.

Zilan’s eyes slowly opened when suddenly he heard a *krr* sound. He looked to his side and raised his hand, only to find a crushed small note under it.
Before picking up the note, Zilan first sat up straight and began stretching. He then stood up and walked out of the room.
The Dual Winged Sparrow only opened in the late evenings therefore currently it was both empty and deathly quiet. A huge contrast to the bustling atmosphere of last night.
After the time it would take one to finish a light meal, Zilan entered the room once again. His hair wet, and a small towel around his waist.
He grabbed the note on the bed and gave it a glance. However, what he saw caused him to burst into laughter.
Dear cousin, Uncle has hidden all the wine in the house and he already contacted all the merchants in the market telling them not to sell me any.
Please do me this favor and I promise I’ll repay you in the future.
“It looks like Uncle was extremely angry with Solmo’s playing around yesterday!” thought Zilan as he threw the note aside and continued to dry and bind his long hair that almost reached his knees. What Zilan didn’t know was that the true reason his Uncle did this was because he had happened to overhear Solmo’s words yesterday.
Once Zilan was done grooming, he proceeded to dress in a light blue robe that made him appear more like a scholar than a restaurant manager.
“Time to get to work!”
Zilan grabbed the notebook and headed out of the restaurant, calmly strolling about as he basked in the warm embrace of the morning sun.

Morning Dew City wasn’t really that big, therefore almost everybody took to footing including high ranking officials. Only those wishing to stand out traveled in carriages.
The reason for this was because almost eighty percent of Morning Dew City was part of the Flaming Shade Sect’s territory. The remaining twenty percent was owned by the Governor and was divided into three parts.
The governor’s mansion which was the largest.
The people’s Market which was completely run by the Governor’s mansion and the Flaming Market which was shared between the governor and the Flaming shade sect.
Morning Dew City was actually at one point in time part of the Flaming Shade Sect. However, various internal power strife led to a massive battle and in the end, the Kingdom had no choice but to intervene. They appointed a Governor and gave him the land which was to be governed by him but owned by the Kingdom. In return for the land and the peace, the Flaming Shade Sect was honored with the title, Middle Ruby.
What this meant was that the Flaming Shade Sect would be given a higher ranking in the Kingdom’s Jewel system.
The Jewel system was introduced thousands of years ago, by the founder of the Penlai Kingdom. Basically, all sects, military forces, and institutions were ranked based on their contributions, value, and loyalty to the kingdom.
There were five levels in the jewel system.

First level – Diamond (Which is also divided into sub-groups)
Second level – Emerald (Also divided into subgroups)
Third Level – Ruby. (Also divided into Sub-groups)
Fourth level – Sapphire.
Fifth level – Quartz.

Although being a Middle Ruby might sound bad but in actuality, that was quite an accomplishment. In fact, in the entire Penlai Kingdom, there is only one Diamond level jewel and three Emerald. As for Ruby, there are only five of them, commonly referred to as the Five Gates.

This simply represented the fact that it was one of the Five Jewels that surrounded the Capital of Thirot. In order to enter the capital, one had to pass through one of the Five Gates which meant that the markets of Morning Dew City although not comparable to that of Thirot, still had a lot of rare gems waiting to be discovered.
In fact, Zilan had discovered quite a few of them in his time here. Purchasing them for a shockingly cheap price and since he had no need for them, there were obviously no hard feelings when it came to putting them up for auction where they sold for a stupid amount of money.

After a short walk, Zilan had finally arrived at his destination. Before he stood a fairly large spear shaped tower that gave of an air of ancientness. However, despite that, it still stood upright without any cracks on its exterior. Probably the only thing visible to the naked eye that made it seem old, was the thousands of vines and other vegetation that surrounded it, almost as if it were inside a giant green shell.
Two imposing guards stood at the entrance, guarding the tower against intruders. However, as soon as they spotted Zilan, smiles of pure joy bloomed on their faces.
“Zilan, you’re rather early today!” chuckled the older of the two guards.
“Ha! That’s probably because he’s going to meet up with Miss Hula later.” teased the other who looked quite a bit younger.”
“Enough of that talk, Seniors please accept this as a token of gratitude for your continuous help.”
Zilan suddenly grabbed the hand of the older guard and forcefully shoved something into it. Before the two guards had a chance to react, he had already passed them by and without looking back, he headed into the tower.
“What did he give you?” asked the other guard.
The older guard stretched out his palm and as soon as he saw the contents, his eyes widened and his hands began trembling.
A single purple coin fell on the floor spiraling around.
The younger guard quickly stepped on the coin. His head moved around in every direction possible, making sure that no one else was watching.
“Kros, quickly pick up the coin!” whispered the younger guard.
Kros instantly woke up from his trance. He threw down a piece of metal and while pretending to pick it up, he grabbed the coin from under the other guard’s foot.

He then stuffed into his pouch before grabbing it and placing it in his chest plate.
“Guil, it looks like I can finally retire,” said Kros, his face turning completely red.
“Hmph! Don’t forget my share.”  chuckled Guil as he threw his arm around Kros’s shoulder.
The two stared at each other for a few minutes before finally breaking into loud, hearty laughter. If it were not for the fact that they were on duty, then they would have probably run into a nearby brothel to celebrate.

The small purple coin Zilan had given them could be said to be the greatest treasure the two guards had ever come across in their entire lives.
An amethyst coin.

In the Kingdom of Penlai, the currency used was mostly,
Silver – worth 100 Copper coins.
Gold – worth 1000 Silver coins.
Amethyst – worth 10,000 Gold coins.

In the Kingdom, an average family would need at most five hundred silver coins to cater for all their needs for an entire year.

Inside the spear tower, at the very top of a long flight of stairs stood a giant jade stacker door.
Zilan calmly pushed the door open and proceeded to enter. Inside, lay a fairly large chamber that was filled with clutter.
Tens of tattered, worn out books were spread out on the floor, various contraption and metals were hung on the wall. All of which seemed rather ancient.
In a practiced manner, Zilan made his way through a small carved out path that passed safely through mountains of books and paper without coming into contact with any of them.
He then made his way to the one spot in the room that seemed like it had come straight out of a painting.
In a corner of the chamber was a small stained glass window, the only place from which sunlight could enter the room. Rays of light passed through it making out an image of a man with a lion standing behind him.
If one looked close enough, they’d find that the glass wasn’t actually painted but was instead embedded with thousands of tiny multi-colored priceless jewels.

Zilan unblinkingly stared at the window for a while, almost as if he were admiring it. However, once the clouds covered the sun and its rays grew dim, Zilan nodded in satisfaction and quickly opened the window.

Four tiny blue stars appeared in his eyes.
He then took out the book from his chest pocket and began writing at a frighteningly quick speed. The peculiar part of it was that he didn’t look at the book even once, his eyes glued to the marketplace in the distance.

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Just as Zilan was caught up in writing, the edge of the sun began to creep out from the clouds’ shadow. Noticing this, he suddenly closed his book and shut the window tightly. His forehead covered in beads of sweat.

Only allowed on

He moved away from the window and took a seat on an old dusty armchair, his chest rapidly rising and falling.
Zilan raised the book up onto his head and began shifting through pages when suddenly he stopped on the very first page of the book.

The Life of Zilan Year 998 of the Slem Regime – Written by Zilan.
Today I asked Mama and Father, why some people can’t cultivate?
They laughed and asked me what I thought?
Of course, me being the Great Zilan who will become the greatest cultivator in the world answered them to the best of my capability.
“I have seen that many people in the world aren’t able to cultivate but then I wondered why?
So I looked at the Town guard, Jivu who’s at the 50th level, or so he says.”
They laughed at this part.
But I continued.
The spiritual power was being accumulated around his body, however, I noticed that whenever he breathes, slowly but surely the spiritual power is absorbed.”
Father slightly frowned, and his face became pale when he heard me say this but I thought he was just shocked at my ingenuity so I continued.
I then began examining the farmers in the fields outside of town, and what I saw was surprisingly almost the same exact thing, spiritual power accumulating around their bodies.
The only difference being that none of it was being absorbed thus they couldn’t become cultivators. However, I didn’t stop there, I continued examining all the people in the town until I found out that the older non-cultivating people, although slightly, had still been able to make a certain part of them absorb spiritual power.
That’s what gives them that air of wisdom.”

Zilan suddenly closed the book, throwing it far away. He covered his eyes with his palms, a single tear escaping through a tiny gap.

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