Before Zilan could react, Jibral suddenly released his aura which came crashing down on him knocking him out instantly.
A week later.
Zilan slowly opened his eyes, only to be welcomed by the bright green light coming from an unfamiliar ceiling. Surprised, he quickly jumped to his feet as he examined his surroundings which comprised of only two beds despite, the place itself being at least the size of an entire house.
As he looked at the empty space before him, Zilan couldn’t help but want to cry at this moment. He had hoped that all that had transpired would turn out to be nothing but a bad dream, that when he woke up his mother would be standing over him with a loving smile. However those hopes were quickly crushed.
Just as he was about to crawl back into bed and weep, a dark green door suddenly appeared within the empty space.
A young man wearing a tight pitch black uniform with the number 1 inscribed on his chest, calmly stepped out from it. The boy appeared to be around twelve years old, was quite tall, had short brown hair however, his most striking feature was undoubtedly the fact that he had two eyes whose features and colours were completely different. One was green while the other was blue.
As soon as he noticed Zilan staring at him, the young man’s face instantly turned ugly almost like he had just encountered his worst enemy.
He then turned around and left through the door immediately after.
Zilan stood puzzled as he felt a strange sense of familiarity when he looked at the young man. But seeing as he was gone now, there was no point in dwelling on the matter.
He was in his enemy’s lair, which meant that there were no allies to be found here.
As more time passed, Zilan noticed that he too was dressed in the same tight uniform as the youth with different eyes except his had a 0 inscribed on the chest.
After this discovery, Zilan walked around trying to find any clues as to what this space was and if there was any way out. He searched for hours but his efforts reaped no reward.
Suddenly the dark green door appeared once again in the empty space. This time though the youth didn’t come alone, he was accompanied by three large men in black cloaks.
“Take him to Master’s study!” commanded the young man as he pointed at Zilan.
The three responded with actions as they swiftly surrounded Zilan, one of them grabbed him by the waist, and then together they all bolted through the green door and vanished. This whole thing had happened so quickly that Zilan had only seen three black blurs moving about before being carried off at a speed he had never experienced before.
Not long passed when the three suddenly stopped in front of a large door that had the character for “Heaven” beautifully engraved.
“None but Zero can enter!” A voice that Zilan recognised spoke out and immediately after the three cloaked men took their leave. Seconds later and the door opened.
“Come in, there’s no point in disobeying!”
Zilan did as the voice asked. He cautiously walked into the study that was filled with countless shelves of books, herbs, organs as well as all manner of strange items.
The door soundlessly closed behind him startling Zilan however, he knew he could only move forward.
And move forward he did! But unfortunately, the further he travelled the more frightened he became.
The items being kept on shelves continued to dwindle, being replaced by bodies of various beasts and deformed humans stored in large glass containers that were filled with an eerie yellow liquid.
Zilan could swear that some of them were still of the living.
Soon he arrived at another door, this one much simpler in appearance than the other one. However when he reached out to turn the knob, the sound of metal clanking rang out alerting Zilan.
Unfortunately, he was too late. A trap door abruptly opened up beneath him sending him sliding down a wide steel pipe for a full minute before landing into a gigantic cage like structure.
“It looks like you’re well rested.” Sitting in a chair, inches in front of the cage, was the man Jibral talked to right before Hugli’s death.
“Who are you?” asked Zilan as he backed away till the end of the cage.
“That’s not the right question! You should be asking me who you are.” smiled Hertic.
“I know who I am! You can do whatever you want to me but I swear I won’t give you anything.” barked Zilan.
“Hmm….Those words are baseless. As you are now, it is impossible for you to resist!”
Hertic slowly stood up, pulled out the Book of Path from his void sack and then tossed it towards Zilan,
“By the way, there is only one thing you have that I want but unfortunately patience is needed to attain it. The fact that you opened a scorched gate at such a young age is also meaningless, just like how humans of greater lineage are able to advance quicker in the path of ascending the heavens, your deep roots too gave you a head start. As for everything else, I already learnt from examining One, Two and Three.”
As if it was the world’s greatest treasure, Zilan desperately clutched onto the Book.
“You should know one thing Zero, I don’t wish to converse with you. I want you to listen and respond only when I ask a question. If you fail to comply, then I will not hesitate to hurt you.”
“Do you know what you are?” asked Hertic.
“Let me rephrase, do you think yourself human?”
“I see, so you know nothing of your Ancestors?”
Zilan remained silent as he felt like admitting it would only make him look stupid.
“Haha….This is truly interesting!” laughed Hertic.
“I’ll enlighten you on many things during your time here however before that, I’d like to express my gratitude.”
Zilan got a bad feeling in his heart when he heard Hertic’s words.
“Halim, bring me the gems.”
A young girl about Zilan’s age suddenly appeared from the shadows, wearing a veil over her face thus making it difficult to examine her features.
In her small snow white hands she held two square transparent glass boxes the size of a birds egg. In each of the boxes laid an eye ball.
“You’re dismissed.” commanded Hertic before turning towards Zilan and shaking the two boxes.
“Do you know why I gave you back the Book of Path?”
Once again Zilan remained silent, his eyes fixed on the two eye balls enclosed in the glass boxes.
“The main reason is because it’s already recognised you as its Master. But then I could have killed you and the book would be reset! Regrettably though, it wouldn’t do any good thus I have to wait for the answers we seek to appear from you.”
“You see, the Book can only be accessed by those of pure blood. The direct descendants of Zaum, the all seer!
You, your father, your….GrandFather and so on are those descendants.”
“In essence, its impossible for One, Two or Three to read it. Even I can’t read it!”
Hertic paused to see Zilan’s reaction.
“What does he mean by that?” wondered Zilan as he still managed to keep calm despite the clear killing intent oozing out from Hertic.
“Hehe, Jibral did mention your mental strength was good!”
As soon as he finished saying that, five stars appeared in his right eye staring right at Zilan.
This time Zilan’s eyes widened and his mouth trembled as he wanted to cry out, “HOW?”
“Ha! You must be wondering how this is possible? Don’t worry, as a show of thanks for gifting me with these precious gems I’ll tell you all about it!” A sinister smile graced the face of Hertic as he once again sat down.
“Gifting?” asked Zilan.
“Hmm…Didn’t I already tell you not to talk unless I asked you a question? Never mind, I’ll grant you one final warning. After all, your Father’s eyes are just that precious.”