Zilan stayed in the Shadow factions secret base for a few days as he was waiting for Mnyama to finish the registration process for both he and Jeza.
During this time he had a few things on his mind such as Flesc.
“What exactly did he sacrifice himself for? Was it to get me to join his faction and help them or did Tort manipulate him as well?
Because of his sacrifice I was able to gain my life back but for what reason exactly did he give up his? Undying loyalty or a victim of trickery?”
Zilan couldn’t help but want to know more about Flesc because without him, he would have been no different from a corpse. However just because he wanted answers didn’t mean he could simply ask Mnyama for them. The outcome of such a question could lead to him either being ignored or his relationship with Flesc somehow being used to exploit him.
For matters close to his heart, Zilan would find a way to handle the matters himself, involving others was a risk not worth taking. At least those were the lessons he had learned from the past.
So then why ask about Jeza’s brother? Because he wanted to know if the matter was big enough for the commander to take it seriously or if it was something Mnyama would view as insignificant. It was a risk he had to take and now that he had leverage in the form of him being a “Dragons son” it was the best time to take such a risk.
Even if Mnyama did make plans to use this against him, it wouldn’t seriously affect him. After all, he already had the problem of finding, securing and rescuing Jeza’s brother if necessary, so if Mnyama and his faction was somehow responsible for Askari’s disappearance then that would actually help Zilan as he no longer needed to locate him and the fact that he was being used would mean that Askari would be kept safe.
Even if the Shadow faction wasn’t involved but still tried to use that information against Zilan, it wouldn’t mean much as with his abilities he could attain the knowledge once he reached a certain level of strength.
Zilan laid down on the extremely comfortable bed that was clearly made for someone at least twice his size. He closed his eyes and took two deep breaths.
He stopped thinking and just relaxed. For the first time since he broke from the spell, he felt safe and slowly he was taking back control of his life. Even if his future was uncertain, compared to his past organised, planned and monitored life, it was , that he had his freedom back and precisely that uncertainty was proof of his freedom.
“Hey! What are you doing?” Hihi’s youthful voice suddenly rang out, surprising Zilan.
“Where have you been?”
“Hihi…had an insight!”
Zilan remained silent for a moment before faintly chuckling.
“While others were going through hell, this bastard was actually cultivating!”
“So what do you plan to do from now?” inquired Hihi, trying to change the subject.
“There’s an Alchemist I need to meet. There are some things I need to learn about and he is the only one who holds the answers.”
“How do you know about him? Have you met him before? And what’s so amazing about him? Hmph! Hasn’t mistress provided you with enough good things? Going out to seek new masters…”
“What grandmother has given me is indeed great but what this Alchemist possesses is also something that should not exist in a lesser realm like this one.” Zilan’s eyes burned with desire as he spoke.
Hearing Zilan Hihi also grew intrigued,
“What does he have and how do you know he has it? Hurry up and tell Hihi!”
Zilan smiled as he recalled the day he first became aware of the Chairman of the Alchemy associations existence.
“The restaurant had just started taking off and I was spending every spare minute I had on my research into Beasts when one day, the Royal troop passed through Morning Dew city. It was a rare and greatly welcomed occasion for our city so all the best delicacies we had to offer were to be presented and naturally the custard the Dual-winged sparrow became famous for was among them.
The custard caught the attention of some of the troop and Ficha as well as myself were invited to an event where the Troop were going to show off their spoils from a high class mission. Apparently they were doing this to reward the Governor and the sect for being such great hosts but in actuality they probably just wanted to boast.
I remember I was really bored with the shiny trinkets and decorative weapons that I almost left; honestly I find it hard to fathom how such things are so valued by humans. “
“However at that moment, something that completely flipped my view on Alchemy appeared. I used to think that Alchemy was a simple profession, something that lacked recognition by the Universe and was therefore not one of the major ‘Ways’ but I was wrong.”
“What did you see?” asked Hihi impatiently.
“Zilan, are you messing with Hihi again?”
“That flask upon first sight might seem rather ordinary but when I really looked, a new world instantly opened up to me and that is when I realised that a true monster had created that flask.”
“Hihi, if I told you that the energy used to make that flask if concentrated and cultivated enough could destroy you with a single touch, would you believe me?”
“Hmph! Such a stupid question, who do you think Hihi is? I am the genius…..”
Cutting him off, Zilan’s gaze suddenly turned serious.
“Well I’m not lying to you! The energy used to create that flask, the power, the purity, it was simply perfection but not just that, the flask, it was embedded with actual soul. What do you think this means, Hihi?”
“Hihi…thinks…you should just say everything at once and stop complicating things!”
Zilan scratched his head as he remembered that asking such a question to Hihi was the same as asking it to the wall.
“It means that the Alchemist who created it is not using a Beastly flame nor is he using one of the ten Heavenly flames, the Alchemist who created that flask either knowingly or unknowingly managed to find a way to actually…burn the inexhaustible and most pure thing in the Universe. His own soul’s energy!
Tranquillity and ferocity at the same time. Not to mention who knows what ability his inner soul is now able to display.”
“The fact that an object can be embedded with a soul…that is a major secret of the Universe….and it only proves that Alchemy is a major ‘Way’ and holds keys to unlocking certain secrets. I cannot even imagine what he has managed to create with his understanding of the Art of Alchemy, I must see it for myself!”
This time even Hihi was speechless. His very existence was the greatest example of the power that a soul could produce and for a living thing to be able to embed his soul into objects,…. wasn’t that the pinnacle of creation?
Zilan was also on the same wave length however he was taking it a step further.
“In theory I could one day bridge the gap between ‘Ways’….but that is still a long way away. First I have to find a path that will actually lead to me learning the art of burning ones soul.”