Chapter 20 – Onward to water.
First sponsored chapter of the week, another one tomorrow.
The man who Rolind addressed as patriarch was an old man with a face which was time chiseled and weather beaten. His hair was quite unusual; it was long and lush with a river-silver tint, same for his beard which was also quite long.
His eyes were a sparkling blue color and seemed to be able to see the truth in anything and everything with just a glance.
“Oh! You seem pretty confident this year, who is this kid you’ve put so much faith in?” asked the patriarch as he turned to face Rolind.
Rolind didn’t beat around the bush and with a wave of his hand the light screen in front of him immediately showed the image of a young boy who was floating in the air.
“And who is this?” asked the patriarch as he stared intently at the boy on the screen.
Ignus as well as the other two Elders slightly frowned as they saw the image of the boy on the screen.
Seeing this reaction from Ignus and the other two, Rolind was visibly happy,
“This is Wade Kar, he is my Tous’s adopted son as well as my disciple. He is fourteen years old this year and at the 21st level.”
The patriarch slightly furrowed his brow when he heard Rolind say “fourteen”, he turned back at Rolind and nodded before saying,
“Mm…he is a good seed but it would have been even better if he had participated last year instead of waiting until the age limit to participate in the ceremony.”
Hearing the patriarch’s assessment of Wade left Rolind feeling rather unsatisfied after all a fourteen year old 21st level practitioner could be described as a genius among geniuses, one can only imagine the resources needed to raise such an existence. Of course Rolind wouldn’t dare say any of this out loud.
“What of you others, eh?” asked the patriarch.
The two Elders also showed their candidates on the screen as well as stating out their names ,attribute as well as their levels and now it was Ignus’s turn.
“My pick for this year is my grandson, Silver.” said Ignus as he waved his hand towards the screen.
On the screen Silver could be seen deep in thought about something, it seemed as if even the fact that he was floating in the air didn’t bother him. All he was concerned about was trying to figure out how Shiraz’s voice could be heard in this place.
Of course the patriarch, Ignus, Rolind and the other two didn’t know this. To them all they could see was a young boy who looked as if he was seriously contemplating the words spoken by the ancient voice almost as if he had understood a part of it.
“Interesting! What attribute does he possess?” asked the patriarch.
In truth it wasn’t only the patriarch who was curious about this, after all Akela had three children which could only be described as a blessing since it was quite hard for the members Divine tiger clan to have more than two children. However the problem was that the lightning attribute that was the symbol of the people of the Southern branch hadn’t appeared in the first two, so if Silver didn’t have the lightning attribute it would put the Southern branch’s identity of “born from lightning” in jeopardy.
“He has dual attributes, one is lightning and the other is light. As for his level, I’m not sure since he just underwent his baptism a few days ago but it should be above the 14th level.” said Ignus with a slight smile on his face.
Immediately after hearing Ignus say “light” Rolind as well as the other two Elders were about to shout out questioning if what Ignus said was true however due to the presence of the patriarch they contained their varying emotions and didn’t say anything.
The patriarch on the other hand almost as if he expected Ignus to say “light” simply raised his eyebrows and said,
“Oh! It seems the Tar family has been blessed, I’ll look forward to his performance. Hopefully he doesn’t disappoint me.”
After saying that the patriarch stood up and stretched out his hands towards the screen and spoke out,
“The ceremony will now begin.”
His old voice was transmitted throughout the sacred land and as soon as it faded away all the children began to drop from the air at extremely fast speeds. Same went for Silver, he was dropping to the ground at such an inconceivable speed that he couldn’t even breathe or make a sound. However just before he hit the ground, he fortunately came to a stop and slowly descended until his feet touched the ground.
Suddenly the force that was holding Silver up disappeared and due to the suddenness of it all Silver fell down landing on his hands. He turned over to lay on his back and try to catch his breath before sitting upright.
After a few moments he had finally caught his breath however his heart was still racing,
“Who’s the bastard that thinks throwing children from the sky is a good idea?” cursed Silver inwardly.
He then stood up and began dusting himself off however as he was brushing off the dust on his right arm, his hand came into contact with a hard object on his shoulder. He turned his head to look at it and wrapped around his right shoulder was an arm band with a black spherical gem in the middle.
He tried to remove the arm band and surprisingly it came off rather easily, he then thoroughly inspected the gem however he was unable to see anything particularly extraordinary except for the occasional yellow strands of light moving about inside the gem.
He decided the put the arm band back on as it probably had something to with the test as it didn’t appear harmful to him.
It wasn’t until now that Silver began to look around his surroundings. The jungle was humid and filled with the smell of rotting plants. In front of him were tall bamboo sticks and entangled trees with wet, muddy leaves. The ground beneath his feet felt damp and he couldn’t help but marvel at the sight of sun rays flashing through the small gaps provided by the movements of branches and leaves.
Silver just stood there for a while with a faint smile on his face,
“This reminds me of penterway forest…..”
After the time it takes to eat a meal (thirty minutes), Silver took a deep breath and decided to head out,
“If I’m going to stay here for three days, I’m going to have to find a source of water first.”
As he was traversing through the jungle Silver noticed that until now he hadn’t seen a single animal, nor had he heard anything. Not even the droning and chirping of insects could be heard, the only thing Silver could hear was the rustling of leaves caused by the wind.
“Something’s not right!” thought Silver.
He immediately stopped moving and began to look carefully around him, however he was unable to catch a glimpse of anything. “Maybe I’m just seeing things.” thought Silver.
Just as he was about to dismiss his uneasy feeling and continue on his way, his body suddenly jumped fifteen meters into the air and landed on a sturdy branch covered with a thick layer of foliage.
Silver had absolutely no control over his body when he jumped, all of that was done by his [Instinct].
Seeing nothing wrong Silver was about to jump back down when suddenly a black illusionary looking tiger appeared beneath him, it looked more like a raging black flame that had taken the shape of a tiger than a real tiger.
It was currently crouching on the ground moving extremely slowly, it’s footsteps leaving tracks in the damp mud and it’s legs rippled as it moved further onwards. Its glowing amber eyes were moving around continuously as if searching for lost prey.
As Silver watched the tiger continue to go buy, he suddenly understood why his instinct had acted up. He didn’t know why but although he could tell by the aura the black tiger was emitting, it was probably weaker than him. He felt like he shouldn’t attack, it was a very weird feeling but he felt like attacking the tiger would set him on a path he didn’t wish to tread.
“The rules are to kill as many tigers as possible but I feel like that isn’t the purpose of this ceremony. What were the words Shiraz said again?
You will be given three days to slay as many tigers as you can, however beware of your limits and do not kill your clansmen here. The road to the North or the road to the South, choose wisely and may the Divine finally pass on.”
Silver sat cross-legged on top of the tree silently contemplating on those words while also watching that black tiger. The tree was pretty high so Silver was able to see quite a distance away.
After about three hours, the tiger seemed to have given up and finally stood up from it’s crouching position. It took one last look around it before giving a faint roar and began to head the other way.
Seeing this Silver paused his meditation and decided to follow the black tiger.
Why was he doing this?
That was simply because Silver had noticed that although the tiger seemed illusionary, it acted completed the same as a normal tiger. The fact that it was hunting him proves that these tigers need to eat which also meant that they needed to drink.
Therefore since Silver was unfamiliar with the area, his best bet was to follow the tiger around until it got thirsty and led him to a water source.
Another hour passed, however to Silver it was the same as an eternity. There had been too many close calls to count in this short period of time, if not for his [Instinct] he definitely would have been noticed by the black tiger. Silver now truly understood just how valuable this [Instinct] was.
Currently Silver was jumping from tree to tree, trying to keep up with the black tiger’s movements when suddenly he stopped moving and let the black tiger go, no longer following it.
A smile appeared on his face, “all that chasing had paid off”, a few meters ahead of him a wide expanse of land could be seen and in the middle of it a small lake.
Many unusual animals could be seen drinking from it however as soon as the black tiger appeared they all scattered, running for their lives. The tiger didn’t bother with them and just quietly drank before heading off a few minutes after.
“Good! I’ll make this my central point and map out everything else I come across with this lake as the center.” thought Silver to himself.
Now that Silver had met his goal of finding water, now he had to think of food. He had thought of many things such as instead of hunting prey himself, he would wait for another predator to kill an animal and he would swoop in and steal it. However he dismissed that idea as it was too risky and so his only option was to forage for berries and other foods.
With that out of the way Silver found a comfortable spot on the tree and decided to rest his eyes for a bit, when he woke up he would go find food and look for anything he could use to store water. Only then would he begin to contemplate, the words spoken by Shiraz.
Unfortunately it seems as though Silver wasn’t fated to rest, because all of a sudden from somewhere close enough for him to hear.
Silver heard a faint cry carried by the wind, it sounded male however due to the wind and the distance Silver was unable to make out what the boy was saying.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ A/n- If you enjoyed the chapter, please join me in thanking Matthieu Emery from France for sponsoring this chapter.