Chapter 40 – Doubts and the Lands

“I don’t think I have to mention that lying to me would be beyond foolish.” stated Hertic.

“I would never dream of deceiving High Priest. I had set up a stall…………”

Chai didn’t keep anything from Hertic, telling every single thing he and Zilan had spoken about before he finally handed him the ginseng.

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Using the eyes of Velman, Hertic was able to confirm that he was indeed speaking the truth.

“Alchemy? So Zero somehow broke the spell after concocting something…..but then what effects could it possibly have to be so powerful? Or..could it be a multi-effect item, maybe this is somehow linked to Zero’s body shifting ability?”

Heric wasn’t even considering the possibility of Zilan regaining the ability to cultivate and then using the pure strength of his mind and blood force to break the spell.
Such a thought was beyond anything he could even imagine, to him it was beyond impossible. No matter how much knowledge one possessed, to go against the way of the Heavens was simply unthinkable. Where would you even start? Building an entire system from nothing? Unfathomable!

Perhaps if Hertic had asked about Zilan’s physical appearance, he might have gotten a few clues. After all Zilan’s physique had clearly improved yet he had never practiced before, not to mention his sudden loss and regrowth of hair. Maybe a wild thought or idea might have entered his brain after listening to that information but unfortunately that was not the case.

He thought himself too clever, thus thinking too much into the details of the body-shifting technique. So a completely wrong thought had ended up being his main guess and just like every other human, he thought himself right. Not considering anything else from people such as Chai who he assumed to be inferior intellectually to him. “I’ll only hear what I want to hear.” Kind of mindset.

“But then…this doesn’t make sense. To practice Alchemy one needs to have a strong foundation in cultivation. How did he concoct such a powerful item while a cripple? Could it be the Book of Path has a way? Or is someone truly aiding him?….No! There’s something I’m missing!”
As Hertic continued to ponder on the mysterious circumstances of Zilan’s disappearance, Chai suddenly said something in hopes of being praised.

“Your Holiness, were you informed that I managed to capture Zero’s false brother?”

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“Oh! That slave? He’s useless, have him killed.”

Chai frowned inwardly, he had thought that his actions would at least have some effect on the light in which he was viewed.

“On second thought, bring me his head. It’s better to be safe!”

With those final words, Hertic weakly left the room.

…………………..

A day later.

Unable to travel, Zilan and Jeza were forced to stay in the hut for longer. The feelings of anxiousness, panic, rage among others had gone down substantially compared to when it first triggered.
However, he still exhibited some symptoms for example he was having trouble concentrating and was plagued by random jerks and tremors.

The experience had left Zilan with a deep fear of the second level of the Gift of love. So many different emotions that had been bottled up for two weeks suddenly erupting and consuming him.
It was almost like he was constantly being chewed by an invisible monster. Each bite different but the pain remained the same.

Unlike the emotionless Zilan though, he was thankful for Jeza being with him. If he was left unattended and didn’t have anyone to restrain, care and protect him then it would have been that much easier for the Order to capture him.
Just thinking about how fast news of a mad man screaming through the streets, shouting out Hertic’s name would travel, made Zilan’s hair stand on end.

Unexpectedly though, the other party didn’t feel the same way. In fact, Jeza was already starting to have doubts.
Back at Morning Dew city, Zilan was breaking down mentally and since she was unable to watch, she left the room. Much to her surprise, when she returned he was perfectly calm.

She didn’t understand it, like many other things with Zilan, but she decided to take it as a recovery sign. However what she thought was past them suddenly resurfaced and she was the one left to look over him.

“The person she had decided to trust with the life of her brother apparently had a tendency to completely breakdown.” Has such a ridiculous statement ever been made before?

“What am I doing?”

Jeza looked at Zilan confusedly. She focused on the slightly weakened eyes that darted about as if he was looking for something and couldn’t help but bite her lip in frustration.

“It doesn’t matter if he’s an awe inspiring Alchemist. If I can’t rely on him to save Askari then it’s all useless!”

“Zilan, what do you plan on doing? I want a straight answer, anything less and I leave.” She had mustered up the courage to speak out however, her own question scared her.

If the answer was unsatisfactory then didn’t that mean that the pillar of support she had hoped for was made of nothing but hot air?

Zilan’s widened eyes turned to face Jeza. He grabbed his head as he mumbled,
“Plan? Um…uh…what was I going to do again? Eh….Oh! I’m going to meet your lieutenant and…what else….?”

As Jeza listened a bitter taste filled her mouth.

“It’s hopeless!”

“That’s right! Then I’m going to find out what happened to you brother and then….then…uh….Then I’m going to Brivata to find someone….I want to learn from him and then……”

Jeza’s ears perked up as she heard Zilan say, “Brivata.” That was a magical place for all Beasts but not just anyone can enter.

“Yes, and then I’m going to change….Change everything. This world will no longer belong to the way of killers!”
Those last words by Zilan were spoken extremely clearly with a deep conviction that sent chills down Jeza’s spine. It was like it was inevitable, a prophecy that could not be changed no matter what happened.

“Are you going to leave?” asked Zilan, this time a sadness could be felt in his words. He didn’t want to say it but Jeza was the only person he trusted that knew anything about his identity and his past. Losing her would not only mean losing yet another person thus having to journey alone but it also meant losing an essential aide.

“I..won’t” She spoke those words unconsciously without even thinking through it. Somehow it just felt right.

“Good!” smiled Zilan. “We’ve wasted some time so could you tell me about your people and the lands you live in?”

Jeza took a minute to think through the best way to inform Zilan about the Beast lands.
“We live………………”

Their conversation went on for a few hours and ended when the sun was departing and the moon was already high in the sky.

In the end what Zilan had learnt was very beneficial.

It looked like he would have to plan ahead a few things.

The Beast lands were especially vast and could easily fit four Penlai kingdoms. Their history was especially rich and the leaders of old, remained the leaders now. Their enemies of old remained their enemies now. In fact, it could be said that almost all major events in the Brivata Range were linked to events of the past.

For example, the way the lands were divided. The Four great factions that ruled the Beast lands were actual descendants of the Generals who fought Mungu years ago. Although, they weren’t on the greatest of terms they fairly ruled over the Central region which included Brivata city as well as its surrounding lands.

As for the other areas, to the far North was known simply as [King’s land] and was one of the most if not the most dangerous place on the planet.
To the West of Brivata was the [Evel grassland], home of ferocious Beasts that had yet to evolve however there were some that had but simply enjoyed the environment thus never left. These Beast were extremely territorial and needless to say very powerful, at least the current Zilan was no match for them.

To the East laid the vast [Maji sea], a place that Jeza knew nothing about.

And to the South, laid the [Inje outskirts]. The place where each faction had a stronghold that acted as the first line of defence against enemies and also the place Zilan was closest to and currently heading.


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