emeraldragon workshop :p
Chapter 78 - The first test (viii).
An - Another double length chapter, so it counts for two.
The trio moved silently for quite some time. The atmosphere as expected was heavy but the cause was not at all related to the pressure of the forest.
Obviously, both Zilan and Kifo were annoyed as well as disappointed by the actions of Fujo’s companions however, they could not voice their thoughts because they understood the young Masters background. If even Mnono and Ker couldn’t ignore it then they could only endure it.
It wasn’t until ten minutes later that Fujo asked them to stop before surprisingly lowering his head and apologising even going so far as to promise to compensate Zilan in the future.
Zilan wasn’t too shocked by the matter but unfortunately Kifo who grew up in the Bronze sector, seeing Fujo’s apology quickly asked him to stop, pushing all of the blame onto the fat and skinny pair.
With that, Zilan was unable to properly milk the healthy cow in front of him making the gaze with which he looked at Kifo with, to be that of both pity and anger.
“You should also learn to use your brain more.” Whispered Zilan as he smacked Kifo on the back of the head.
His words though, were unable to escape Fujo’s ears causing him to laugh wildly. It appeared Zilan was not too offended but rather wished to make demands that would cause his pocket to bleed.
“Don’t worry, in the future this Big brother will definitely take care of both of you.”
A sharp light flashed in Zilan’s eyes upon hearing this. A beautiful smile appeared on his face as he actually grabbed Fujo by the shoulders.
“In the future, I hope you won’t regret those words. This junior graciously accepts senior Fujo’s generosity.”
A tingling chill swept all the way down Fujo’s spine causing his body to visibly shiver. He did not know the reason for this but his instincts told him that he had just brought a calamity onto himself.
“Of course, I also won’t be shameless. If Senior needs any help in regards to Alchemy, you can always look for me.” Laughed Zilan.
Fujo coughed twice, calming himself down.
“Peh! Who are you calling senior? Anyway, my talents for Alchemy aren’t too good, Father sent me here specifically to broaden my horizons while also aiding Uncle as a Fire Guardian.”
Kifo looked at Fujo who was about to turn down Zilan’s offer and couldn’t help but bitterly sigh.
“If only you knew.”
“Oh! That’s fine then, with a great Uncle like Senior Amani, there’s no need for little old me.” This time Zilan’s laugh was quiet to the point of nearing inaudible.
“Mm, Uncle is indeed a once in a generation talent.” Beamed Fujo.
Unable to listen any longer, Kifo felt he had to interject. “So where to?”
“Hmm, there should be a few Mungleberry plants around here, their roots shouldn’t be too bad, maybe worth three stars. Too bad before the Nine Heaven Dew tree ran away, it collected all of the plants it was nurturing.” Replied Zilan.
“With the five star, Heaven Dew fruit you still wanted more from that tree?” Kifo couldn’t help but click his tongue as he questioned Zilan’s greediness.
“Good, let’s go then. This time leave some for your Big brother. Unfortunately, Nyoka could not join us. Travelling with a beauty is undoubtedly the best way to travel.”
Zilan’s eyes widened. He wanted to ask, “But isn’t she your cousin?” however, in the end he did not dare. His intuition told him that once that subject was brought up, ending the conversation would be too difficult. Diving into the muddy waters that was this young master’s lecherous mind was too daunting a task even for him.
Of course, the reason Nyoka could not continue with the group and instead chose to move alone was simply due to the fact that others were watching her. How could she still travel with the individuals who humiliated her fellow Alliance people?
Three hours later,
A commotion was stirring in the spectator’s area the more time that passed. At first, the Alchemists were just surprised by the actions of Zilan in dealing with the Sumu Alliance people however, the series of events that he continued to take place around him left them speechless.
First, he managed to get a fruit from the legendary Nine Heaven Dew tree in a fashion that showcased his affinity with formations, leaving many impressed and envious.
Then, the trio moved around the forest in what could only be described as a devil like snatching of resources. Be it precious herbs or lost bones or even Essence stones that have absorbed the Universe energy for countless years, all of them could not escape Zilan and his group.
It was like he was a blood hound from hell, everywhere he pointed, there undoubtedly existed some sort of treasure. This type of living treasure compass was too perverse to the point that some within the crowd wanted to protest that the test was either fixed or Zilan was somehow cheating.
“Aiii~ What is this? Not even ten minutes can pass without that bloody demon getting another treasure?” cried a second year student of the Alchemy Association.
“Amani, where did you find this child?” asked Elder White Snow. His voice was slightly horse and his eyes were also reddened to a degree.
Amani almost gave an honest answer however, after remembering that it was his Master, Wazimu who ordered him to pick Zilan from the Bronze sector, he decided it was best to keep some things secret.
“He came from there? Fourth Brother, can you tell what ability he used to communicate with the tree and how he’s doing this?” asked Elder White Snow.
The person he addressed as fourth Brother was the one with the highest authority and power among those who came to view the first test.
He wore a conical straw hat and long white robes with images of clouds embroidered on them. His body resembled that of a crane with some subtle human features that made him look like a monk. His head though was fully that of a crane except for the deep narrow intelligent eyes.
There were no cauldron pins on the fourth Elder’s chest but all of those around knew that he was none other than a supreme Grand Master, one of the few seventh ranked Alchemists.
“Reptile, but that also feels wrong. Whoever helped him conceal his aura is not simple, at least I am not his equal.”
Hearing this, all of those present sucked in a breath. Who was the fourth Elder? Even Amani was shocked, his own Master was also a seventh ranked Alchemist however, what distinguished the two’s ranks was the fact that Elder Wazimu’s cultivation is slightly greater. Aside from that, the two are pretty much similar holding positions as both expert Alchemists and distinguished Fire Guardians.
For someone to be able to conceal something from them then their power level must definitely be terrifying.
“Who the hell is that brat?” whispered White Snow.
At this time, another storm was occurring in the spectators area as the light screen suddenly flashed announcing,
“Participant : Zilan Malaika.
Successfully broken the record for most finds in the green forest.”
Just as the people were about to react the light screen continued,
“Participant : Zilan Malaika.
Successfully broken the record for most valuable items found in the green forest.”
“TWO RECORDS AT ONCE!” shouted an Alchemist whose heart could no longer take it. This new participant was too perverse.
In the higher area of the spectators stands, the mood was not as colourful. In fact, no one was speaking as they all silently stole glances at the person who previously held the record for most finds, the genius, Jipende.
“Hmph! What are you idiots looking at? The green forest is nothing but a playground, young Master’s focus was solely on the more difficult Red forest otherwise, if he wanted to he could have set the bar much higher.” Shouted a rather young weasel-like student Alchemist who was standing beside Jipende.
Hearing this, the crowd couldn’t help but curse that idiot inwardly. The time it took for Zilan to break the record was obviously faster than Jipende’s so how is it that he was the one focusing on the green forest?
Jipende on the other hand, unclenched his fist as he thought about his accomplishments in the red forest. It was what he did in there that caused his Master to recognise him, as for the record that was just a bonus.
“Just a Half Breed with a good nose.” Sneered Jipende. “We’ll see how he’ll fare when he enters the Red forest.”
Zilan, Kifo and Fujo's tear continued until the trio were finally nearing the borders of the green forest.
Their relationship was also getting much closer as Fujo continued to discover that Zilan held many secrets. Despite this though, the carefree attitude as well as the calm and cool air that his junior brother exuded really meshed well with him.
Kifo on the other hand left him somewhat puzzled. One minute he seemed simple minded and casual yet the next it was like he became a shadow that trailed behind Zilan, giving off a dangerous pressure that was hard to notice.
He couldn’t deny though, this time he’d gained a lot by moving with Zilan. Nothing could escape his notice.
He’d asked many times how Zilan was able to locate so many things so effortlessly only to receive the, “I read a lot” response.
“The pressure keeps increasing, it looks like we’ll be entering the red forest soon.” Spoke Kifo as his body visibly shook before stabilising.
“Mm, the danger level will also increase once we enter.” Added Fujo.
Zilan took a deep breath. The increased pressure was still at a level that he could comfortably handle.
As they continued to trek forward, the amount of green trees became scarcer and scarcer, slowly being replaced by the ruby red slightly shorter trees.
Once all the green vanished from view, the pressure suddenly took a quantitative leap, instantly doubling. Both Fujo and Kifo bent down from the shock however, Zilan stood his ground with only his feet faltering for a fleeting moment.
Sweat trickled down their foreheads as they bravely pushed forward.
It didn’t take long for them to get back to their plundering ways but expectedly their speed greatly diminished. This was partly due to the pressure however, the largest contributor was the constant bumping into people forcing them to give up on the endeavour lest conflict breaks out.
“Brother Zilan, I understand not wanting to needlessly scrap for a few things but surely we can’t give up on everything just because of a few people. Sometimes, it’s better to act than give way.”
As he listened to Kifo, Zilan could only sigh,
“Let’s rest here. The sun is still directly above us, time is on our side, thus there’s no need to rush.”
Fujo could only agree after noticing Zilan’s expression.
“Eh?” Kifo suddenly looked towards a direction and exclaimed.
“There’s something there, I can’t tell what it is?” replied Kifo.
“Come out!” barked Fujo.
On queue, a ten foot tall crimson creature abruptly jumped out. It resembled a disfigured human with long lanky arms made of a wooden substance, that appeared oddly flexible and razor sharp at the same time. It had no face, and no defining features except for its spiky limbs.
“What is that?” whispered Fujo, asking Zilan.
“That…it could be a puppet of some sort but this feels different. Could it be…… Quick, kill it for me.”
Hearing the response, Kifo honestly wanted to slap himself for opening his mouth.
Left with no choice after seeing the determined eyes of Zilan, Kifo quickly adjusted himself and prepared to attack.
“Do you need any help?” inquired Fujo.
The wind faintly whistled, signalling the disappearance of Kifo. A breath later and he appeared behind the strange creature. Even with the pressure, his speed was still terrifying.
“Ashura’s sword, first stance.” Growled Kifo.
A pitch black flaming sword made entirely of Darkness Beast force then appeared in his hands. Slashing out from the bottom of the creature upwards, a ferocious ghostly image flew forwards making the ground rumble and causing trees to be directly uprooted.
In response, the hideous puppet stabbed both of its arms out, sending waves of the forests pressure towards Kifo.
A large crater was formed from the collision of the two forces and both figures were blown in opposite directions of each other.
Apart from dusty clothes, Kifo was seemingly alright however, the same could not be said for the mysterious creature. Its left arm was torn off from the shoulder, bits and pieces of it were scattered everywhere.
Dark red sap leaked from the wound and just as Kifo was about to continue the onslaught, the creature surprisingly turned around and proceeded to flee.
“What the hell is that?” wondered Fujo, looking towards Zilan who had a wondrous expression.
“Intelligence? Is that intelligence?” pondered Zilan.
“Should I chase?”
Zilan then bent down and picked up one of the pieces of the destroyed arm.
In the most unthinkable move, Zilan put the piece in his mouth and proceeded to chew on it.
“Tch! Looking at me like that. Do you think I want to do this? If I could use my eyes, I wouldn’t have to resort to these crude methods of analysis. This matter is too important, if it is what I think it is.”
That's probably it for this weeks regular releases. Have a great weekend.
$15 = 1 extra Pob chapter to the schedule.