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537 Changes Within

    Back on the ship, Daniel quietly sat on the cold floor of a small training room, with his legs crossed and hands resting heavily on his knees. Fully relaxed, and with eyes closed, he was letting his consciousness be carried by his essence through his body, inspecting it for changes that, due to the urgency of the situation, he did not have the time to observe or understand before.

    To a cultivator of his level, every small difference within his body would appear as clear as a black smudge on a pristine painting.. but what Daniel saw as soon as he started paying attention, was the entire canvas dipped in ink.. Drastically different from anything he had ever felt, or seen before.

    While similar in shape and prowess to before, Daniel's current essence was hiding a form of power which he could feel had the potential to destroy universes and obliterate immovable obstacles, but that was dormant within the depths of his spirit, mind, and body. Only awakened by an infinitesimal part of its potential, this power had changed his body to both his eyes, and the eyes of anyone who had ever met a true aspect of existence.

    The first time Daniel had somewhat felt this change happen to his body, was when Chaos had created mana.

    He had observed as the Chaos' primordial power sprouted from every rock and drop of water, and blossomed as flowers of absorbable energy in front of his eyes.. An event that very few people had had the honor to witness with the full knowledge of what was going on, and that had changed forever not only the universe, but him as well.

    After coming back to the present, and assimilating this change, Daniel had finally understood.. Not only what kind of entities Iewah's children had the potential to become, but also why their powers were shaped by the nature of their hosts. Even more importantly, he had learned what was stopping them from advancing past the limits of the godhood stage, with no hope of breaking out of it.

    This reality was simple. It was not a matter of paths of cultivation, or systems being above others.. It was all a matter of understanding what destiny truly was, as they were all born from Destiny.

    By witnessing the birth of mana, Daniel had seen the beginning of a new era. An era where luck, chances and opportunities allowed people to change their destiny, and where talent and passion could were fate's natural enemies.

    From the beginning of his cultivation journey, Daniel had fought against Fate by using his instruments of free will to carve a new destiny for himself, and the people he cared about.. But it was only after witnessing to the moment where the theory of destiny became real, when Destiny was truly born, that he finally understood.

    As a champion of Destiny, he could not embrace another aspect of existence, and enter the realm of championship, but that was because he was an aspect himself-A seed of what existed beyond humanity, born within the infinite flow of time, and present in the entirety of space.

    Everyone of Iewah's children was the same. Taken from the infinite tapestry of fate, given free will, and allowed to break free as a true aspect of existence. That was the nature of Destiny's champions.

    The dormant power Daniel could feel in his body identified him as the aspect of Karma.. Weak due to the minuscule influence he possessed, unusable, and yet present. Nothing of what he tried did anything to rekindle this power, except for when he had first broken through to the stage beyond godhood.. A moment in which the power had flared through his body and out, eager to be created, before inevitably going back to sleep.

    Luckily, this power was in no way a limitation to Daniel's cultivation, as shown by how, when his ship's formation attracted one massive wave after another massive wave of natural essence from the surrounding space, and moved it directly into Daniel's body, he could feel no limitation that would stop his cultivation's progress in either the short run, or the long one.

    -----

    Three months later.

    With this increased variety of opportunities, Daniel spent his time hiding from the natives of Horror's domain, the Monstrous Clan, while also chipping away at the faction's forces by hunting its biggest karmic debtors with the restored functions of karmic system, and starting a one-sided war of attrition against the very aspect of Horror, and its domain.

    He did this while constantly making sure that the legacy of the blood faction would remain hidden within his dormant power, which, while still unusable, was perfect for masking the presence of the aspect of Sacrifice. A remnant of the Murderous God that had been ingrained into the blood legacy, and that was the reason why the legacy could be perceived through the limitations of the multiverse by other blood cultivators.

    After just a month of this abuse, champions of Horror that did not belong to this universe started to appear, showing that Daniel's threat was starting to be taken seriously, and that he was not only this universe's problem.. But, alas, that changed nothing. Daniel's evasive means were at the level of a child of Iewah, and his power was growing beyond any domain believed to be possible. At the end of the third month, the damage done by Daniel to Horror's influence in the universe was the last of its inhabitant's worries.

    Destiny's spawn were killed on sight for a reason, and now, one that could cultivate beyond the godhood stage had appeared in their universe. None of their attempts at hunting him down had worked, and now, within the Doom Palace, the winds had changed.

    The confidence of a quick resolution had disappeared from the monstrous faces of Overlord and his followers, replaced by the anxiousness caused by having a ticking bomb in their own house.. But of this, Daniel was not aware. What was bothering him at the moment, as he looked at the empty space beyond the spatial formation that was moving his ship, was not knowing how his family was doing.. Or whether they missed him. Only sporadically distracted by the chatter that came from behind him, or the screams that could be heard coming from within the depths of the ship, where Ashura was trying to cultivate his extremely primordial and chaotic power.

    "What are you looking at?" asked Rose after slowly appearing next to Daniel's lone figure.

    Having noticed her long before she could get closed to him, Daniel did not turn to look back at her, and simply said, "Home."

    "Is that where home is? None of us is from this universe." She said, confused by Daniel's answer.

    Daniel shrugged gently, and said with a matter-of-fact tone, "I am not looking with my eyes."

    Slightly embarrassed by his response, Rose cleared her throat, and said, "Has.. something changed since we have come back to the present? You seem.. Different." In her eyes Daniel appeared more solemn than before, but after talking to him, she had realized that this change was likely not due to a change in his personality, but something that had to do with Daniel's mystical nature as a champion of Destiny.

    Daniel did not respond, and instead, while still looking at the depths of space, he said, "Where is home for you?" he then added before Rose could have a chance to respond, "The others, they always ask me when they'll be able to get home, and I get it. They want to be safe again.. And I can't say Ashura and I are much of a company." As he reached this point he turned to look at Rose, and while leaning on his right elbow against the metallic railing, he said, "But you haven't.. ever."

    "A cage is safe, but a cage nonetheless." Said Rose without having to think too much about it.

    As soon as Rose finished speaking, Daniel burst out laughing as if he had just heard the most cliched sentence ever conceived. A laugh that did not embarrass Rose, as much as bring a smile on her face, since she knew he was not mocking her. "Well, whoever made your cage is a **ty blacksmith." he said before once again turning to look at the emptiness of space. Then, after a few long seconds of silence, he added, "Maybe breaking out of your cage, means that you are really starting to live."

    Rose knew what Daniel's meant, but somehow, she felt that those words were not only valid for her, but for Daniel as well, and for every other being she had ever met, seen, or heard of. An idea that left a bitter taste in her mouth, as if she had just realized that everyone had their own cage, and that the only truly free person she had ever encountered seemed to be the man that was casually looking at nothing, just a couple feet away from her.

    "Are you alright? Are you still.. Dan?" She asked, now more than ever convinced that something had changed.

    Daniel was not expecting this question, but as he thought about it, he found himself unable to give a clear answer. Instead, he shrugged his shoulders, and said, "I don't know.. I hope I am." This answer was able to turn some of the odd feelings Rose was experiencing at the sight of this new Daniel, into a sort of worry.. Yet, before she could push on the subject, the light which Daniel was staring on until now suddenly expanded, and in the blink of an eye, they found themselves within a new solar system, with a relatively small green star at its core, and half a dozen planets orbiting around it.

    From the moment of their arrival to the system, it only took a few more seconds for Daniel's ship to reach what appeared to be the only inhabitable world-A planet with a dusty and grey atmosphere, red lands and green oceans. Once there, it took even less for him to find the warrior that had created the horrific scenario that, for the past millions of years, had constantly generated horror and desperation from the sufferings of the planet's inhabitants.

    Aware of Daniel's arrival, this monstrous cultivator could do nothing to avoid his destiny.. Which was to be mercilessly obliterated by an indifferent Daniel who, immediately after killing him, quietly muttered to himself "Next.." before closing his eyes, and reading the update instructions given by his system.

    -----

    Meanwhile, in the Doom Palace.

    *BANG* *CRACK* The noise of the Overlord's fist slamming on his throne resounded within the entire main hall, alerting the cultivators that were present even before he could bark out in anger. "ANOTHER ONE!"

    Standing quietly in front of him were the hooded elders of the monstrous clan, as well as the blood cultivator who, after being spared his grandmother's fate, had been used as a living compass whenever the Blood Legacy would reappear.

    The number of the elders was slightly smaller than what it was before, and that was because of what had happened only a couple of months before, when five of the elders had managed to reach Daniel before the legacy could once again disappear.. But instead of coming back with good news, of these ancient monstrous cultivators, nothing was heard of ever again. Only the blood cultivator had been spared from that incident, and forced to go back to lead more and more people to Daniel whenever he felt ready to face them.

    "Lord, this is getting out of hand. Losing farms is not a problem, but if he can kill us whenever he wants.. We only have two choices.." Said the oldest of the elders before taking a few steps towards the throne. He then added with confidence, "We either retreat.. And leave this universe to him.. Or.."

    "Or what?!" Said the Overlord with irritation. He himself had taken part in half a dozen failed hunts, but for some reason, he had never been able to catch up to Daniel before he hid his traces.

    "We call for an Exalted Assembly, and make him a problem of the multiverse." Said the elder, causing a number of gasps to precede a deafening silence that took over the entire hall.
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