533 This Time We Figh

    "What are you doing?" Asked the monstrous cultivator, right before appearing a few meters away from Daniel.

    It only took a quick look for Daniel to realize that the only detail that this being and his ancestors had in common, was their appearance. Among the many differences was the armor that he was wearing, which was not wielded and of a much better workmanship, as well as his behavior, which lacked the barely restrained brutality that Daniel had seen when fighting an entire group of them.

    At the same time, the power contained in this warrior's body was not primordial like Ashura's, but while calmer like that of any modern cultivator, the contact with mortals and weaker cultivators would send them into a spiral of anxiousness, akin to the one they would experience when stuck in their worst nightmares.

    The appearance of a member of the monstrous race was not as much of a surprise for Daniel, as it was for Ashura.. after all, it was only thanks to this race's brutality that the aspect of Horror had been born, making them the very first champions of Horror, and therefore, the most favored among his champions. It was not odd that, as a race, they had survived billions of years under Horror's influence and protection, and that at some point in time, thanks to their newly acquired innate power, they had managed to regain a human-like consciousness.

    "We are in Horror's domain." muttered Daniel in realization while ignoring the angered monstrous cultivator, whose presence explained what kind of world this was-A farm created and maintained by the champions of Horror for the sole purpose of increasing its influence through the consequences of war. The proof of this were the two warring races, who appeared to have a deep-seated hatred towards one another.. One that explained the presence of so many of their ancestors' remains in the malachite-colored valley.

    All these details fell in place within Daniel's mind in just moments after seeing the monstrous cultivator. A thought that came and went with the same speed a crazed Ashura unsheathed both of his curved knives, and dashed towards the newly arrived cultivator in a fit of rage.

    The cultivation of the monstrous cultivator was only comparable to that of someone at the high immortality stage, and yet, when compared to the body of a mortal, the difference was the same as that between an ant, and a God. Nevertheless, Ashura rushed towards him in blind anger, as if he was facing the one that had devoured most of her daughter's body, killing her.

    The monstrous cultivator looked on with confusion. The movements of this dark-skinned warrior were those of a mortal, and while his innate power was odd and chaotic, it was almost imperceptible.. Showing that it had never been cultivated. In his eyes, Ashura was a little fish attacking the very ocean itself.

    As Ashura arrived next to him, the monstrous cultivator decided to rid himself of a nuisance, and waved his hand in hope to pulverize this madman before the smell of his body could ever come close to reach the holes that were where his nose should have been, but then.. As his horrific power grazed Ashura's body, he immediately lost control over it.

    Ready to stop the monstrous cultivator from killing his new companion, Daniel stopped the moment he felt the small surge of power contained in Ashura's body, which instantly dispelled the mark contained in the immortal essence of the monstrous warrior.. But that was not all. Instead of lingering in Ashura's body, the chaotic power attached to the immortal essence of the cultivator, seeping into his body.

    Almost as if melting ice back into water, the link that connected the power within his body and consciousness started to erode, causing his essence to turn into ownerless once, and be expelled from his body. "What?! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" screamed the monstrous cultivator with panic, as the atoms of his body lost the essence that kept them packed together.

    As he stepped backwards, hoping to get away from Ashura, the monstrous warrior was only able to watch in horror as his flesh dried up, and the molecules of his now mortal body drifted away into the wind, carried by his disconnected immortal essence. Daniel tried to move closer to get a better look at what was happening, but before he could, his new companion thrust his knife into the cultivator's chest, causing his black blood to turn into a dark stain on the ground, and for his flesh and muscles to turn into dust.

    Confused by what had just happened, Ashura began to realize how different the place he was compared to his world. A place where people could appear from out of nowhere, where they could fly, materialize objects from out of nowhere, create things as they pleased.. Yet, the spiral of confusion that was starting to cloud his mind came to a halt the moment he felt a firm grip around his wrist. When he turned to his right, he saw Daniel, who had suddenly appeared next to him without making a sound.

    Curious about Ashura's devastating power, Daniel let a portion of it seep into his body, where it immediately tried to wreck havoc at a much slower speed than it had in the body of the unaware monstrous cultivator. Struggling to keep control over his essence Daniel felt waves of pain go through his body, causing him to feel shocked by how much damage a simple mortal could do to a cultivator at the godhood stage. Once he had a clear idea of the nature of Ashura's power, Daniel reinforced his essence, gaining back control of it faster than he lost it. He then pushed the chaotic essence out of his arm.

    Once done, Daniel threw the treasure of water essence and wood essence to the respective armies, and after lifting his new companion off the ground with his essence, he created a peak that completed the mountain range that encompassed the entire planet, separating the two rival armies permanently, and along with Ashura, he left.

    The feeling of being picked up by an invisible power and dragged into the sky had shocked Ashura greatly, causing him to shout in a panic one would only feel when falling to a certain death. He only started to calm down as his surroundings turned from a blur to a quiet darkness, and he found himself floating in space.

    "Remain calm. Nothing will happen to you." Daniel said in Ashura's native language, which he had picked up from reading his memories in the few minutes the two had spent after going back to his present. He then closed his eyes.

    The familiar sight of a system window appeared in his mind, offering a quest to find the five young women he had lost while on his way back to the present, as well as multiple options to achieve that. Luckily, Daniel's power was beyond the reach of a simple solar system, and that was proven by how, in one of the suggestions, he was give the exact location of each of the five young women he was looking for, whom he could have reached as easily as teleporting to them-An option which he followed by simply opening five spatial portals, through which he dragged them in a matter of seconds.

    "Dan, what is going on?!" Asked Rose with confusion.

    Before Daniel could respond, Dawn chimed in by saying, "We were waiting for you at the bottom of that tower.. And then some monsters appeared out of nowhere! We tried to fight them but.." her voice trailed off the closer she came to say what she wanted to say.

    Daniel noticed this, and asked, "But what?"

    "We were too weak." said Lilith with clear embarrassment.

    Like the others, Lilith had been raised into a competitive domain, and never before, when forced to face against someone at an identical standard of power, had she ever felt as powerless as when she and the others had been ambushed by the monstrous warriors. In her mind, she couldn't help but relive the moment Dawn, Cassie, and Rose had been overpowered, and instead of helping, she had taken Saha, and tried to run into the stone forest. Embarrassment was the last thing she had felt before a bang on the head had sent her limp on the ground.

    Rose, who had always acted as a leader of sorts among her group, noticed Lilith's state of mind, and tried to change the topic by saying, "What happened? Why do we have our powers back? I thought you said there was mana in this universe.. And who is that?"

    "Yes, turns out we were not lost in a universe devoid of mana, but a time that preceded the birth of it.. And this is Ashura." Said Daniel with a matter-of-fact tone, while purposely choosing to leave out the fact that those who had kidnapped them, had tried to turn them into the same monstrous warriors they had fought, as well as his encounter with Chaos and Fate. He knew that there wasn't a convenient way to explain to Dawn and the others that their little travel in time had likely birthed the creation of the world of cultivation, or at the very least, started a loop that had anticipated it.. That was not a conversation he was willing to have to begin with.

    "I didn't ask for his name, I meant.. Wait, what?!" Said Rose with a dumbfounded expression.

    "It appears that fiddling with the spacetime while in the vicinity of a portal, is not a good idea.. But now we have bigger problems. We are in Horror's domain, which if I recall correctly, you once mentioned was the direct superior of Sacrifice." Said Daniel with increasing urgency to her.

    Rose recalled how one time, back in the Half Moon sect, she had helped Cassie with memorizing the pantheon of the aspects of existence. Specifically, the one considered problematic. At the bottom of this category of aspects of existence, along with many others, were entities like Competition and Sacrifice, who represented specific portions of their direct superiors, Conflict and Horror. In turn, Conflict, Horror, and a few others, were all existences that were born from an aspect of pure Chaos.

    During his encounter with Chaos, the mention of a portion of power left by his "little brother" made Daniel's mind go directly towards Conflict, who had selected his bond, the demonic wolf cub, as his champion-a power whose residue Chaos was able to recognize in his body.

    "We probably only have a few days before the blood cultivators notice the legacy from the Trigate, and start hunting us here." Said Daniel before pointing his finger towards the planet he had just left, and that now only looked like a half green-half blue ball in space.

    "We can't outrun them here. We don't even know where the portal is, or if there is a void to hide in." Said Cassie with confusion while trying to calm down Saha, who was starting to panic over the possibility of having to go back into the possession of the blood cultivator who had controlled her like a puppet for days.

    As Ashura observed the conversation in foreign language with confusion while still trying to get used to floating through space, Dawn and the others attentively observed Daniel, whom they were hoping would already have a plan to escape. However, this time, instead of pulling another trick out of his endless sleeve, Daniel said, "We are not escaping this time."

    As he finished speaking, several materials appeared from the distance, and the moment they came near the group, their shape and nature began to change in both shape and composition, until finally, a few minutes later, they stopped. They then all assembled into a ship identical to the one Daniel had used as bait with the blood cultivators. Once fully built, Daniel completed the preparations by filling it with several formations that could maintain the control over each piece, without him having to pay attention to them.

    Formations to bend time and space, to cloak the ship into the surrounding darkness, to maintain the shape of each metallic panel, nail, and component of the engine Virgil had engineered, everything was done in a matter of minutes.. after which, Daniel reached for his right shoulder with his left hand, and after making an incision about two inches deep into his flesh, he inserted his fingers into the wound, and pulled out three nail sized grey beads, or how they were known in his universe, grey matter.

    He stuffed two of these beads into his pocket, and sent the last one flying towards a small bead-shaped opening by the side of the engine, which closed immediately after. Once done, Daniel said through a smirk, "A few days is all I need.. This time we fight back."
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