Zilan walked through the town while making sure to avoid the flames and crumbling buildings. He tried his level best to keep his eyes fixed forward in an attempt to avoid seeing the remnants of the slaughtered men and women. However, despite his best efforts the thick stench of death that permeated the air still reminded him of where he was.
As he drew closer to the town square, Zilan began to notice something. Mixed in with the charred bodies, were those of men who wore similar uniforms to that of the one-armed man. Their bodies were not burnt to a crisp either, instead, they were littered with cuts and blade marks similar to those on the one-armed man.
“What’s going on?” was the one phrase that repeated itself in his mind.
With each step forward, Zilan found himself more and more confused.
“Where did all these people in unfamiliar uniform come from?”
“Why were they here?…. Why?….were they dead?”
Zilan needed to know what exactly was happening!
Suddenly just as he was beginning to lose himself in fear and despair, he took notice to a faint sound in the distance. At first, he thought he had heard his own things, a trick played on him by his own mind, but then there it was again, only this time much louder. He instantly recognized it as the sound of metal clashing, a rather familiar tune that he listened to every day during training with his father.
Zilan then halted his steps and quickly turned, bolting towards the direction it was coming from. Fortunately or perhaps, unfortunately, it seemed that he would find its origin sooner rather than later as the noise seemed to be growing louder which could only mean, that it was coming closer.
Soon, Zilan was in position. He had decided running directly towards the sound of people who were engaged in combat would be foolish and so he broke into one of the still standing houses that were on a direct collision course with the approaching people.
He patiently waited as his ears and eyes were on full alert. So far, apart from the suspicious one-armed man, he had only seen the dead. This would be his chance to see who exactly was responsible for all of this.
Zilan had no idea why he was doing this at all. He understood that even if he knew all the details of what was going on, he still wouldn’t be able to stop it. However, it was something to do, probably the only thing he could in this situation.
Something suddenly came flying towards Zilan’s direction. It barrelled through an entire building before coming to a stop. Wood, dirt, and glass flew everywhere.
“Hahaha…..” A crazed laugh could be heard from within the cloud of dust.
“Do you truly think you can escape us?”
Zilan’s eyes widened as he realized that the voice belonged to a woman however her face still eluded him. Four stars suddenly appeared in his eyes and that was soon remedied but what he saw completely shocked him.
The lady was indeed very beautiful with pitch black hair that dropped to her thighs and a face that exuded seduction, but that was not the shocking part. A thick cloud of green energy was surrounding her, her every breath causing it to ripple and grow stronger.
“She is the green cloud!” thought Zilan as he covered his mouth with his palm.
“Velman! You can’t kill hi_……….”
Before the lady could finish her sentence, a flying dagger suddenly barrelled through her stomach leaving a small hole. An instant later and a man appeared before the lady and shoved another dagger into her throat.
The lady struggled to breathe as her own blood began to choke her. She grabbed the man’s hand trying to force the dagger out with her own strength but unfortunately, it didn’t work. The man then sliced the dagger upward and blood gushed forth with frightening force as her head was divided in half.
Zilan watched all this unblinkingly, however, his eyes did not focus on the brutal killing but rather at the man.
He jumped out of the window which was more or less just a frame now and called out,
“FATHER!” a stream of unending tears pouring down his face.
Velman stared at his son running towards him, he could see from the child’s eyes that he was suffering. Not physically, but mentally!
He wasn’t angry that Zilan had disobeyed him by coming here, on the contrary, he was actually relieved as it saved him precious time.
Zilan ran straight into his father, causing him to take a step back. He hugged him tightly, completely forgetting about the blood stains.
“Wh..Wher..di-ju..go?” cried Zilan.
Velman patted him on the head and told him,
“You need to be strong for me and listen carefully to what I’m about to say.”
Zilan nodded and looked up at his father; he squinted as tears still flowed from his now red eyes.
“I can’t tell you about exactly why this is happening because we don’t have the time.” Said Velman, his heart aching the more he looked at Zilan.
“I need you to take this and keep it safe. It has all the answers you want.” He said as he handed Zilan a small book with the title Path.
Once it was in Zilan’s hands, the title extended now showing, “Path of Blood.”
Velman bit his lip as he stared.
“Where’s mother?” asked Zilan, wiping some of the tears from his face.
Velman froze, he looked away from Zilan before taking a deep breath and saying,
“She is no longer with us!”
Zilan didn’t understand. He comprehended the words and what they meant but how? Just how?
His mouth moved to say something but before he could even blink he was flying through the air.
Velman had thrown him across the street but right before he crashed he saw a horrifying scene.
An old man in a red cloak, whose face Zilan couldn’t quite make out was gripping a spear that was now halfway inside his father’s chest.
He crashed into a half-destroyed house. His body easily passed through the charred wood of the house which in turn helped to both slow him down and break his fall.
“FLEE! ZILAN, FLEE!” groaned Velman as he held onto the old man’s leg, keeping him in place.
Zilan jumped to his feet, as he turned to run.
A single stride later and the old man was before him. He stroked his long grey beard as he stared at Zilan, who could feel the old man’s gaze penetrate into his very soul. A moment later and the old man punched him in the stomach, slightly beneath his navel.
A cracking sound could be heard as Zilan’s eyes and mouth both widened. A collection of blue gas then slowly rose from his stomach and eventually dissipated.
“The Heavens do not accept you!” proclaimed the old man, his voice reverberating throughout the house.