Chapter 82: Suspicious People
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By the time Mwana left the old seller’s place, he had already decided to participate in the Underground Masquerade. Anyway, it was not like he had many great ideas of making a quick buck. Before, he had thought to smith or do some embroidery but Milele was a big place; it did not lack people, adults at that, in these professions. Art? There was a thing called starving artists. They were everywhere. He had also thought of selling some art and story books that he drew containing the tales of old and new heroic legends as well as age old romantic tales. If he could sell them to some of the young boys and girls flooding to Milele, he would surely make some shells. However, it was not like children were known for having full pockets. At most, what he earned would only be enough for covering mundane costs.

“At the end of the day, this fighting stage seems to be the easiest path for me towards Blood Boiling stage.”

“Anyway, I wonder what request the old man wanted to ask. Ha ha ha, he did not know he was playing with a veteran.” Mwana had indeed caught on the old man’s tone when he gave him the coin the first time.

Even though he had been a bit interested in the underground masquerade fights, Mwana was not ready to do anyone any favours thus he acted like it was nothing to him; but his disinterested reaction was not all acting either as the special dragon flower was just something he learned of today. It had yet to attract him to a significant extent. 

While the unique Dragon Flower did not hold much value to him at the moment, resources that could nourish blood were an absolute necessity to him. The Blood Dragon aspect of his Myriad Dragon bloodline was like a guillotine hanging over his neck but it was also his way out. It had its benefits and negative effects. In terms of side effects, his blood dragon bloodline had the [Drain Ability] which reduced his stamina and would have made him sickly and unable to practice martial arts had it been a pure blood dragon bloodline. The solution to such an issue albeit temporary was to acquire a lot of blood nourishing resources and practice spells and techniques that boosted his blood and overall health.

As for the positive aspects of the bloodline, it would theoretically be much easier for him to excite his blood the second time as it was a blood related bloodline. In general, some bloodlines were just easier to nurture and excite during the Blood Boiling realm than others. For instance, in the case of someone like Mwana’s classmate Damu whose bloodline was related to the core nature of blood, the blood boiling realm might as well not have existed.

‘While other people are worrying, Damu probably already forgot that such a level even exists. It is just a breeze to him. At this point, he has probably advanced much farther than the rest of us. He might even be the strongest in our year if it turns out he has crossed this hurdle; obtaining the power of Bloodline Transformation!’

[Damu – Blood. His name just means blood and his bloodline is also related to blood.]

‘There is also big bro Mkata-mwezi, he said he is almost done quenching his organs now. With his bloodline, I doubt the Blood Boiling Realm would even pose an issue to him. He even chose to do things the traditional style and save Blood Boling for last.’

Mwana had to shake his head a bit to escape these thoughts. Whenever one obsesses over the talent of others it is easy to become hopeless and depressed. In that case, Mwana decided to just focus on himself. The target was simple: Blood Nourishing –> Blood Boiling –> 2nd Bloodline Awakening –> Bloodline Transformation

While his initial goal involved becoming a Magic Student, magic alone was not enough to dominate the world; no single aspect was. Apart from physical weaknesses, the other drawback for Magic users in the Zika world was the scarcity of magical energy in the environment. Natural energy was more abundant than magic so even if someone had a natural energy capacity of 100 units the power they could mobilize in the environment was much more than a magician with the same magic capacity. This was the main reason magicians had 2 tiers:

Tier 1: Pure Mage

Tier 2: Magician + Warrior

It was obvious who would be stronger and the 2nd tier was naturally the path many chose to pursue, at least when one was younger. With age, it was inevitable that those whose talents could not keep up dropped off along the road. The few whose talents were not adequate but still wished to remain on the path would choose to only focus on one or at most 2 aspects of being: body, mind, soul, lifeline/vitality, nature, magic, and divinity. As Mwana was still young, he could still split his focus and train in multiple aspects.

Therefore, Mwana’s overall Goals during the time he was in Milele Town were:

- achieve Magic Student rank

- advance his swordsmanship and become a Great Swordsman

- attain Blood Boiling and hasten the 2nd Bloodline Awakening

- quench his lungs and attain Inner Breath

If he achieved his goals, he would attain the ability to fight opponents far above his level. Even if it might be at the cost of serious injuries, at least he would not be completely helpless. He would at least attain strength comparable to a Senior Warrior. ‘My Bloodline Transformation will obviously be a type of Dragonification. If I can achieve that, I will not have to worry about physical strength ever again.’

‘Pting ting.’

‘Kacha!’

It was the sound of things falling and something crashing down and breaking that awakened Mwana from his thoughts. When he looked at the ground, his wares were scattered all over and while everything else was fine, the pot he had bought for his mother was shattered to pieces. Instantly, his frustrations almost burst to the surface. He was already feeling down due to comparing himself with others and his random worries about his future yet now his mother’s gift was wasted. How could he not be angry?

“Who broke it?!” Mwana only managed to catch the shadow of the culprits. These people were already over a hundred meters away by the time he looked up; fast! They could only be described as extremely fast, faster than the fastest athletes on Earth.

From the brief glimpse Mwana had caught of them before they disappeared, he could tell that the culprits were around a dozen men all dressed in black. ‘It seems like they were chasing someone. Who are they?’ While Mwana could not pinpoint their identities, just from their mode of dress, he was already extremely suspicious. ‘They are all dressed in black?! Almost 20 men all in black chasing someone…I am sure this is…

Mwana’s suspicions were not without cause. This was because within the overall culture in Toro, usually only unmarried women in some tribes such as the Siribi and Warana tribes among others would dress this way. Before marriage, the main way of dressing was a robe or shuka tied diagonally around their chest with one breast exposed. After marriage, the robe would be tied to cover both breasts and the head would be shaved. As for older women, there was no strict dress code or hair style. These were some of the customs among various Nomadic pastoralist tribes in Toro. It should be noted that these tribes did not view women's breasts in a sexual manner. In fact it was not uncommon for men who tried to 'explore' around the area during 'relations' to receive the rebuff, "don't play with the children's food".

Anyway, when anyone saw men dressed in black, they automatically knew they were up to no good. At least within Toro’s borders, Mwana did not know of a single black cultural dress for men in any of the tribes.

Looking at his scattered things, Mwana picked them up before setting his eyes on the broken pot. There was sadness in his eyes and a hidden anger too. Something he had spent efforts to haggle for had been broken. It was a gift for his mother. ‘My mother deserves all the good things. How could I possibly let this go?’ With that in mind, Mwana’s legs were like a hot engine as he chased after the men at wind breaking speeds. They had to pay. However, was this all there was to Mwana’s motivation?

Shaaaaaa

Wheeeeeeee

“God! At this rate won’t I get blown away too?!” Kia was leaving the information center when a furious wind blew strongly across her. She was holding her dress down but the wind was so strong that it almost carried her entire self with it. Looking up, dark clouds and faint sounds of thunder covered the skies, “It is going to rain… I better hurry.”

Even after inquiring about the flower that was her mother’s lifeline at the town’s information center, she got the same information, “Undead Marsh and Dragon Heart Island.” These were not places she could go with her current strength.

As Kia hurriedly walked back to the inn the Jua village entourage had rented, there was a park ahead that she would have to pass through, a dead zone that barely anyone used. Before she even got to the park, a light drizzle and cold wind had already filled the empty streets. Everywhere looked deserted and the little people remaining were rushing indoors. Lately, the town had been unsafe with things such as serial killings. Further, with many people arriving in Milele for the magic competition, there were obviously the snakes mixed in among the ordinary folk. Even ignoring criminal outsiders, as an urban center, Milele did not lack its own criminal underground. Therefore, many people would close down their businesses before night arrived. It was especially so on days like this when the rain was predicted to be heavy.

In Kia’s eyes, there was almost no one else on the street as she walked back to the inn. Her present state of mind was a bit muddled and absent minded as she thought about many things especially her family and home. It had been too long since she came to this continent and she had also been extremely young when she left home. As a result, memories of her home were gradually fading away into a blur of nothingness.

“In a few years more, will I even be able to remember mother’s smile?” The thoughts made her a bit melancholic and a sense of homesickness pervaded her body. It made a chocking feeling arise in her body.

However, Kia’s unique emotional state was suddenly broken when she noticed something. Through her pitch black eyes, she saw something pass by the cross section of the street she was on. It was several meters away but Kia still etched that brief sight into her mind. However, it was not what she saw that shocked her but instead, what she smelled; a scent she would never forget; a scent that she had been seeking all along.

“Weeping Purgatory!” When she uttered these words, a strong invisible force burst out of Kia’s body. Despite the normalization formation that dampened the use of supernatural powers in the town, none of the drizzling rain could touch her.

The "Weeping in Purgatory" flower which also went by the simpler name, Funeral Flower, was Kia’s salvation; her mother’s salvation. Who were those people? Why did they have the scent of the flower on them? Were they adventurers strong enough to enter the danger zones and harvest the flower? Did they have the flower and was it up for sale? One way or another, Kia had to know.

In the street, the few people who were walking on the same lane as Kia were shocked to see her disappear. A single leap was all it took and she had already turned the corner following after the group towards the ‘dead zone’ park.

Final Note:

The moment of conflict rapidly approaches.

The conflict that sparks here shall determine the fate of these children's future.

Author Note:

Damu is introduced and featured in chapter 20 and 21. His bloodline ability is simply the control and manipulation of blood. 

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