Path of Blood Chapter 6 – Damnation and Salvation.
On the upper floors of the arena, in the corner of the room, sat a young man who unlike the rest of the spectators, did not seem amused at all. In fact, his current expression was so rigid and firm that one would get the feeling that it was forced, almost as if he was trying his best to hold something back.
This youth was none other than Zilan who had arrived here not too long ago.
The day before.
Zilan sat alone in his room, intensely staring at the void sack before him.
Three stars suddenly appeared in his eyes.
“This truly is from a Beast!”
The void sack before Zilan was actually one of four things that he had requested Flesc to acquire for him long ago, known as a voidless item.
The voidless sack, a very rare item in the human territories, could only be made by a highly evolved beast.
Beasts in general are unable to cultivate and thus were looked down upon by Humans. However, that only applied to normal beasts. Among beasts, there were those who were born with the innate ability to continuously and naturally evolve as they grew older thus called evolving beasts.
This is also the reason why a human void sack and a beast’s voidless items were so different.
The void sack could only be created by a cultivator who managed to break through the initial absorption stage and successfully enter the soul-compression stage which is where the soul of a practitioner and his element such as fire, lightning, water, are fused together into one. Once this process is complete, an empty space known as a void is left in the practitioner’s core which then becomes a storage unit for them.
Some high level soul-compression practitioners who specialise in the study of the spirit are then able to use their void to create the spirit tools known as void sacks.
For beasts however, the process is much simpler but the downside being that voidless items are much rarer compared to the human void sacks.
This is because voidless sacks of beasts do not contain a void but are actually innate gifts of beasts who are descendant of the goddess of time and space.
The weakest of these beasts, the infinite scarlet turtle are the most commonly hunted specifically for their shells which have the ability to store a large amount of things without even feeling the slightest bit of weight. Once obtained, the shells are then broken down into numerous tiny pieces which can be placed on rings, bracelets and many other ornaments.
One can only imagine the space contained within an entire voidless sack which takes roughly an entire shell to create.
The reason Zilan wanted a voidless sack was not only because of this enlarged space, but also because it would be much easier for him to use unlike a cultivator’s void sack that slowly sapped spiritual power from its user in order to work efficiently.
Of course, this was no problem for a cultivator as the amount sapped was akin to taking a few drops of water from a lake, negligible to the extreme. But for non-cultivators, it was very straining to use, with many restrictions in place which included but not limited to; the weight which although reduced could still be clearly felt, the storage capacity was even more diminished and the responsiveness was slow.
Zilan picked up the voidless sack and carefully flipped it,
*ting, ting, puff*
Three items landed on the table.
A small spherical yellow ball, a fairly medium sized container filled to the brim with what seemed to be blood and an old, wrinkled, tattered book with loose, stained pages hanging out of it.
Zilan’s eyes seemed to glow with an unprecedented shine as he glanced over each of the items. However, just as he was about to dive further into examining them, a small note fell from the voidless sack, causing Zilan’s mood to take a complete turnaround.
He hesitated to pick it up but in the end still unfolded it,
You’re very sharp for a human, so by now I believe you already have an idea as to what might be going on.
None of what happens is your fault! This is business and in my line of work, things like this are a common occurrence.
I thought you were crazy the day you came up to me and shoved an amethyst coin in my pocket, asking if I had any information on three rare items. Despite giving me the money, you still pleaded saying that you would give anything you could if I could just deliver to you any information on them.
Of course, acquiring those items by myself was a dream within a dream, so I planned to ask around the guild at home and then come back to this cursed human city to report that I found nothing but who could have thought that the mere mention of just one of those items would cause my guild master to shiver.
Which brings me to the real reason I’m writing this note to you.”
Zilan paused at this point slightly panicking,
“Does he know? That’s impossible, what I’m trying to do….”
He stopped himself, forcefully calming himself down before continuing,
“ I was offered a deal by the guild master, one that quite frankly was impossible for me to refuse. I’ll spare you the details of it and skip right to the point.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to leave the city with my life! But you don’t need to worry about this too much as this is something that I prepared myself for when I left Brivata.
The reason I’m telling you this is because of the promise you made, the promise to grant me anything in exchange for delivering you those items.
At the bottom of this note is an address, go there in a week’s time and deliver my payment. The rest of my requests will also be shared with you once you get there. You must hold true to your end of the deal.
Finally, what I’m about to ask you to do for me is entirely optional. Whether you do it or not, I will bear no resentment towards you.
I’m entirely aware that recovering my body from you humans is impossible so I won’t ask you to do that. What I wish for though is for my core to be returned to my family in Brivata.
I cannot compensate you for this, so think carefully before putting yourself in danger because if you die, then my life will have been lost in vain.
Of course, you can disregard all of this if I do manage to escape, except for the payment. You absolutely have to go to the address in a week’s time.”
Zilan folded the paper back up and placed it back into the voidless sack. There were no tears, nor could any hint of sorrow or sadness be seen on his face.
Instead a large smile that conveyed both crazed desire and genuine happiness at the same time was plastered on his face.
“It happened again!” he whispered. “Is this all? I apologise but it’s going to take much more, to derail me from my path.” Zilan chuckled evilly .
Back at the arena.
Zilan watched on as large square openings appeared on two opposite sides of the arena. On the left opening, a platform that had a single youth standing on it was slowly being raised up.
The same thing happened with the right opening only this time, three guards appeared. Two of them held large chains that were attached to an unconscious Flescs’ limbs and the other one who was dressed in an all black robe that had a hood which hid his appearance from the audience held a strange leash that was covered in various inscriptions, tightly wrapped around Flesc’s neck.
Observing this with a grim expression, Zilan’s eyes slightly widened but he still managed to control himself. What he saw next however, caused his heart to tighten and blood to rise up, filling his throat.
Once the platform had been fully raised, the announcer signalled for Flesc to be woken up. The hooded guard obediently nodded and a strange greenish light transmitted from his hands, through the leash and onto Flesc’s neck. As soon as it reached, Flesc’s whole body jerked up, the tattered cloth covering his lower parts falling to the ground.
If one who was familiar with Flesc’s appearance were to see him now, they would most definitely swear upon the heavens that the person below was not Flesc.
His face was so swollen to the point that his eyes could not be seen, a reddish-greenish slime dripped from his dislodged muzzle and a tight wheezing sound could be heard with every breath that he took. On his chest, the words “dog”, “mutt”, “trash” were branded several times over.
Zilan couldn’t take it anymore and instantly stood up, cursing with all his might towards the announcer and the guards but whether through good fortune or bad, the wild cheers of excitement from the crowd made Zilan’s sudden outburst sound like the buzzing of a single baby bee in a hive of thousands, impossible to single out.
Zilan tightened his fists in absolute rage as he stared at the figure of the person, who just yesterday was chatting happily.
This feeling, this feeling of being unable to do anything at all but watch. I despise it! I despise myself for accepting to be put in this situation time and time again.
Zilan fell back onto his seat, his head raised staring at the ceiling that had an illusionary board hanging. Two categories were placed on the board, Damnation and Salvation.
“Damnation and Salvation….” read Zilan.
“Damnation and Salvation….Haha….Damnation and Salvation…What better terms exist to describe my current situation? You are the damned beast and I the saved cripple.”
“DAMNATION AND SALVATION!!” he shouted, making sure everyone heard his roar.