541 The Secret Domain of Karma

    "Dan.. champion of Karma's domain." Said Daniel after a slight and polite bow.

    At the mention of an aspect of Karma, the guard looked at Daniel with respectful confusion for a few long seconds, then said while pensively raking his grizzled beard with the tip of his fingers, "Karma.. Karma.. This is the first time I have heard of it. Give me a moment, please." As he finished speaking, the guard raised the clipboard he was holding in his left hand by a few inches. This small action seemed to be enough to trigger a small formation hidden within it, which projected a massive window of light in the air, on which were written thousands of names, details, and information regarding the domains.

    As the eyes of the guard went through the list a couple of times, his confusion deepened.. Until finally, after confirming that Daniel's name and domain of belonging were definitely not within the listed domains, he deactivated the formation. He then turned to look back at Daniel, and said, "No, not here. This is quite odd.. There is no record of Karma's domain in the multiversal records, or even of the existence of the lord Aspect you represent.. And yet, here you are."

    "Does that mean that I am not allowed in?" Asked Daniel with a puzzled, yet still polite tone.

    Daniel's understanding behavior seemed to shock the guard deeply. "No! Of course you may enter.. I just, well, if this is a first encounter, I have to record your arrival." He said while waving his hands in a hurry, implying that there had been a misunderstanding.

    Despite being given the relatively simple task of verifying that the arriving domains were respecting the regulations, amongst which was the number of allowed participants per domain, as well as being in possession of an invitation, the guard did not dare deny Daniel entry, and there was a good reason for it. That reason was the fact that the importance of a domain was reflected in the aspect of existence they followed, and not the size of their domain, as not all similar aspects were on the same level.

    Karma, as an aspect of existence, was a concept whose creation could have only been possible after the birth of consciousness.. Just like the aspects of Law, Sacrifice, Ingenuity, and many others. However, while the influence of those aspects was limited to the actions of those who followed the law, sacrificed themselves and others, and lived in the pursuit of technological progress, Karma did not have those bounds.. After all, just like Life and Death, humans were ultimately unable to avoid living, dying, or affecting their karma through their daily actions.

    Because of the omnipresent nature of Karma, as well as the secrecy of its domain, the guard had no choice but to treat Daniel the same way he would treat the champions of a high level domain, and therefore, someone whom he could not offend.

    "I am sure that this is all a mistake. I will report your arrival to the domains of Horror and Order, and find you the moment this matter is resolved. Meanwhile, you are free to go in." Said the guard with a respectful tone before waving his clipboard in the air-An action that caused the appearance of a gargantuan gate made out of pure gold whose size implied that its use was clearly meant for a much bigger group.

    Daniel nodded to the grizzled guard in appreciation, then turned towards the massive golden gate, which was now slightly ajar. From this seemingly small opening, came a pillar of light that brightened the entire room, projecting a shadow of light towards, and past Daniel and the others, making it difficult for them to see what lay on the other side.

    As Daniel and his companions approached the door, they realized that this seemingly narrow opening was more than enough for all of them to walk comfortably side-by-side. The light that shone through, however, was not as accommodating, and instead turned brighter the closer the group came to walking through.

    After almost a minute spent walking under the oppressive rule of pure light essence, the white glow died out, revealing an odd-looking emerald sky tainted by dense red clouds which drifted in the distance, carried by the powerful winds. Under his feet, Daniel found a suspended platform as big as a large city square on which thousands of people could have stood comfortably, and in the distance, he could see dozens of floating mountains, spaceships, sleeping beasts, and suspended castles that emanated the power of the domains to which they belonged. A few miles under the platform was an impressive looking city, with wooden buildings and wide stone streets built over a valley of red dirt.

    Despite the distance from the city, it was not difficult for Daniel and the others to spot the millions of cultivators that were flooding its streets and squares, which appeared like a colony of working ants which had lost any semblance of cooperation.

    "What was all of that.. Karma's domain? Did you really just bluff our way into an Exalted Assembly?!?" Asked Rose in confusion. Despite not knowing how the security of an exalted assembly was handled, she knew that what Daniel had just done was probably not something that any random cultivator could have pulled off.

    Unwilling to explain himself, Daniel shrugged his shoulders and began to walk towards the edge of the platform. Then, just when he was only a few steps away from falling off, he turned towards the Rose, Lilith, and Saha, and said, "I have kept you safe. You should be able to find members of your domain here.."

    As if only just realizing that what Daniel had said was true, the faces of Lilith and Saha brightened, showing their desire to find someone who could take them back home. However, that was not the case for Rose, who, deep down, had found the past few months more interesting than the unimportant tasks which her sect's patriarch would assign her every now and then. Nevertheless, whether it was Saha's and Lilith's happiness, or the bitter feeling that Rose was experiencing, both sentiments were erased the moment Daniel said, "Unfortunately, you know that I am a champion of Destiny.. So I can't simply let you go, can I?."

    Right as he finished speaking, before any of the girls could respond, Daniel pointed his finger at Lilith's chest, where, hidden under two layers of clothes, was a diamond necklace infused with a mental power that was beyond anything a cultivator at the godhood stage could perceive, let alone destroy. Now that Daniel had reached a level beyond that stage, however, destroying these kinds of protective amulets was as easy as snapping a twig.

    With a simple snap of his fingers, Daniel destroyed the mental barrier that had protected Lilith's mind, and before she could protest, or try to defend herself, he invaded her mind with his own power, and aimed it towards the destruction of the memories that depicted the events that had followed their escape from competition's domain. In their place, Daniel added false memories that showed how the champion of Destiny had abandoned Rose and the others after his escape, forcing them to roam an unknown universe until they were ultimately found by Dan, a champion of Karma.

    The moment Lilith's characteristically hostile expression softened and she started to look at Daniel with respect and gratitude, two emotions that were so unlike her, Saha understood what had happened. Even though it was unlikely that the champions of Competition who knew Daniel's face would have been allowed to participate in the exalted assembly, nothing would have stopped Rose and the others from denouncing Daniel to their domain.. And that was too much of a risk for him to take while in the dragons' den. So, as Daniel's eyes moved onto her, Instead of forcing him to destroy her mental barrier, she simply removed it, allowing him to replace her memories as he saw fit.

    While she didn't trust Daniel as much as Cassie and Dawn, she was not as hostile towards him as Lilith was.. She knew that the last few months would have been easier for Daniel if he simply killed them all, and went on his own way.. but since he had taken it upon himself the burden to keep them safe, and even now, at the most dangerous moment, he had simply chosen to erase a portion of their memories instead of killing them, collaborating with him was the least she could do. "You have kept your word.. Do what you must." She said right before Daniel's gentle mind power dove into her mind, and manipulated her memories.

    Once finished with Lilith and Saha, Daniel turned to look at Rose, who, unwilling to allow her memories to be erased, instinctively reached for her own mental protection, and turned to look at Dawn and Cassie. However, what she was fearing and expecting at the same time, never happened. On the faces of her two companions was a calm expression, almost as if they expected Daniel not to touch their memories, or if he did, showing that they were completely fine with it.

    "They can go if they want, but you need to stay by my side until I leave this universe." Said Daniel to a worried Rose, who breathed out in relief right after hearing his words.

    Now calmer, she let go of her amulet, and asked, "Why?"

    "Do not read too much into it. You know more about your sect than they do, so your amulet is stronger. If I could have, I would have broken it." Said Daniel with a matter-of-fact tone. He then ignored the disappointment any sensible person would have been able to discern in Rose's expression, and instead, reached for his hair.

    With a rapid motion, he pulled a single strand off his hair, which he then rolled up into a ball and threw off the platform, where it turned into a small cluster of dirt that slowly grew in size, and kept growing until it reached the size of diameter of a small city. Once it stopped growing, the dirt on the surface began to shift, caving in on some spots and filling with water, and rising into the shape of a mountain in others before turning into stable rock.

    To the eyes of the tens of thousands of cultivators who witnessed Daniel's action, it appeared that a small planet was forming in front of them.. One that was not simply made out of vast formations, but of true natural mana marked with the power of a cultivator, and an unknown aspect of existence.

    As Daniel's feet separated from the platform, and he, along with the others, floated towards the tear-shaped planet, the rocky side of the only mountain present on it started to crumble, revealing a perfectly sculpted stone palace which morphed into wood immediately after being revealed. In front of the palace's entrance, emerged a stone laid path with green blades of grass by each side.

    From the distance, Daniel could feel the curious gazes of many powerful cultivators, who had stopped themselves from prying only after feeling how imposing and profound the mark of Karma was.

    "It would seem that you have made quite a spectacle of your arrival." Said Dawn with a not-so-well hidden spark of pride. She and Cassie were the only two members of their group of friends whose memories Daniel could have manipulated, but willingly chose not to.. and that was because they were already members of his group. As such, they would not betray him unless they truly believed it would be the best course of action. At the same time, they could not help but feel second-hand pride whenever Daniel was treated with the respect they believed he deserved.

    "Good." Said Daniel right before descending onto the planet, which after his arrival, took off towards a relatively empty portion of the sky.

    While on his way to the universe where the Exalted Assembly would take place, Daniel had done his best to formulate a plan that would allow him to take the target of Destiny's champion off his back, since despite all the means his system had to prolong his survival and help him avoid danger, he had no intention of living his extremely long life in hiding. Ultimately, the best solution he could think of, was to create a fictitious and secretive domain that revolved around the aspect of Karma, and of which he would assume the role of the sole known champion.

    Under this identity, Daniel hoped to increase the influence of Karma, and by doing so, awaken his nature as a true aspect of existence. If successful, his existence alone would become something beyond the reach of mortal cultivators, eliminating any existing threat to himself, and his friends and family.

    To do that, there was no better chance than the Exalted Assembly-An event in which he would be able to obtain information regarding the politics of the multiverse, and show the promise of his secretive domain. If that was not enough of a reason to take the risk, joining the hunting party that was tasked with hunting him, would also reveal to him all the means the domains of the multiverse had to capture a champion of Destiny. In order to succeed in any of these goals, he needed to gain recognition.
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