Kifo’s entire body was soaked in sweat. Just from looking at him, it was clear that whatever he was experiencing was extremely terrifying.
Once in a while, he would murmur words that made no sense causing Zilan to wonder if he would actually get through it.
“One minute…” stated Zilan.
It was at this time that something strange occurred.
A black marking suddenly appeared on Kifo’s forehead. It glowed with a black luster, before releasing a wisp of dark energy that entered his right eye.
The energy was so overbearing that Zilan couldn’t help but freeze, not daring to make a single move. Deep in his heart he could feel just how frightening the dark energy truly was.
A minute quickly passed and the black wisp of energy quickly exited Kifo’s eye however, as if noticing Zilan’s presence the energy suddenly turned and rushed towards him.
Its speed was too extreme, and Zilan could not react in time to even attempt to block it.
“SCRAM!” Hihi’s voice filled with indescribable power abruptly sounded out in Zilan’s mind.
A small transparent dragon’s claw then stretched out from Zilan’s shoulder and just like one would shoo away a fly, the claw proceeded to smack the black energy away.
Noticing that it had met a powerful opponent, the black energy returned to the mark on Kifo’s forehead and instantly disappeared, like it had never appeared in the first place.
“What…What was that?” asked the flustered Zilan.
“Hmph! Just a ghost that doesn’t know its place.” Replied Hihi.
This was the first time Hihi had ever taken action, even when he was in danger, Hihi had never once budged, yet this time he made an exception. What did that mean then? Obviously, it went to show just how powerful that wisp of dark energy was.
Hihi knew that the energy was something Zilan definitely could not block and thus acted, otherwise he would have left it alone. After all, his mission was to oversee Zilan’s growth therefore as long as his life was not at risk, Hihi would not act.
He may be young and inexperienced however, the fact that he was the one Sera chose to put her trust in was not a mistake.
“A ghost?” wondered Zilan, still shaken by the sudden turn of events.
“Bah! Hihi is going to rest and won’t be able to see you for a while. Watch out for that kid, he is definitely not simple.”
As a powerful Soul King, Hihi’s power was a matter of fact but for him to be able to come to such a small realm, his abilities needed to be suppressed. With that last action, quite a bit of his energy had been expended, not because of the dark wisps strength but rather, the moment he exposed his claw outside the Cloud Inheritance Palace, the world around him immediately became his enemy, putting extreme pressure on him.
“Zilan….Have I passed?” Kifo’s weak voice suddenly interrupted Zilan’s state of mind causing him to divert his attention back to the source of his shock.
“Eh…how was it?” With this question, he wanted to find out if that dark energy was deliberately released by Kifo or not and also to find out what exactly it was.
“I don’t know…I remember battling with five shadows that I’ve never seen before and then after being stabbed in the heart, some black creature appeared and destroyed everything around me.” said Kifo as he clutched his chest. He could still feel the excruciating pain, he had experienced.
“What happened after that?”
“I opened my eyes. Did…did I pass?”
Zilan was deep in thought. The situation had all of a sudden turned into an unexplainable mystery.
“Judging from his reaction, he should be just as surprised as me so then what exactly lies inside him.” Pondered Zilan.
Kifo didn’t interrupt Zilan from his thoughts. He simply remained still, anxiously awaiting the answer.
“Let’s go. The longer I stay in this place, the more strange things keep appearing.” stated Zilan, after a full five minutes.
“Does that mean I’ve passed?”
“Mm. From today, you’ll follow me. Betrayal will be met with severe repercussions.” said Zilan as he stood up and walked away. “Take me to the see the people of the Alchemy Association.”
As the two walked side by side, Zilan couldn’t help but steal a few glances whenever Kifo was not paying attention.
“Ghost?…What did Hihi mean by ghost?”
“I had them rest in the sitting room, before I came to fetch you. We’re almost there.”
One had to admit, the Lingering Darkness clan truly was huge. Even the Governor’s Mansion in Morning Dew city could not compare. Which really made one wonder just how powerful the clan exactly was.
However, that was a question for another day as the duo had finally reached their destination.
Two men came into view, one was an old and chubby C***-like man with an air of arrogance surrounding him, almost like the oxygen he was currently breathing, was somehow beneath a person of his stature.
His companion on the other hand appeared to be the complete opposite. A middle aged mountain lion like-man with a calm, natural smile plastered on his face. His deep reddish-brown hair looked very lush and healthy.
His green eyes in particular, gave off a tranquil impression to all that looked at them, just like the calm waters of a mountain spring, slowly flowing down the slopes.
The two men were both dressed in green robes which gave of the smell of nature and plant life but that was not the thing that captured Zilan’s attention.
“Fourth Grade Alchemy Masters!” remarked Zilan, inwardly.
In total there were ten ranks in the field of Alchemy, and to be a fourth grade Master was a great accomplishment.
In fact, any power would be willing to part with an arm and a leg just to invite one of them to craft a single thing. Only the Alchemy Association could raise and bring these people who would be praised as Grand geniuses together.
Zilan could tell the rank of the two men by looking at their chests where pins with four beautifully crafted cauldrons could be seen. He was especially stunned by the middle aged man who looked to be in his mid- thirties yet had already reached such a high rank.
Fourth rank may not seem high but from Zilan’s knowledge, he knew that there were only a handful of people who had reached a rank higher than sixth thus the two individuals before him were definitely exceptional even among the geniuses of the Alchemy Association.
“Why did they come here then? Just to fetch me? Probably not!” concluded Zilan.
When the two men saw Kifo and Zilan approaching them, the middle aged man showed a pleasantly surprised expression after catching a whiff of the smell escaping from Zilan’s body.
The old man on the other hand, didn’t even bother looking. He immediately stood up and as if giving an order said,
“We’ve got what we came for. We only have enough time to pick up that boy of the Iron sector before the ceremony begins.”
A gentler tone could be sensed when the old man spoke about the child from the Iron sector.
The middle aged man didn’t immediately respond to the old man. He instead smiled towards Zilan before waving his hand for them to follow him.
Zilan smiled back while slightly bowing his head as a show of respect, before moving behind the middle-aged man.
“They’ve got what they came for? Hmm, could it be they’re here for the item the clan leader gave me. If that is the case, then this must have something to do with the Shadow faction since they’re the ones who arranged this whole thing.”
After thinking up to there, he decided to put it at the back of his mind. After all, his objective of getting to the Alchemy Association had been met, other people’s business had nothing to do with him.