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26 Gaining Fame

    Daniel's body was overflowing with power. The purity of his naturally produced ki was so high, that in comparison, he believed that the ki his body had produced so far, had been an incomplete version of his actual ki.

    His spirit wasn't any less impressive. In fact, he felt like his spirit connection with the spiritual plane was much clearer than before, and the spiritual essence drawn from it, was so pure that if Daniel tried to use any of the basic spells he knew, he would consume very little of it.

    Feeling the hilt of his sword with his left hand, he decided to test his newly aquired strength, so he unsheathed it, and focused his ki on the edge of his sword. The edge of the sword started to shine with a pale sky blue light.. Daniel walked towards the biggest boulder he could find, and sword in hand, made a slashing motion with his arm.

    A deep gash appeared on the surface of the three meters tall boulder. Daniel hadn't felt any resistance coming from the stone, as the sword went through it like a hot knife through butter.

    Unfortunately, Daniel still wasn't able of pushing his ki further than his own body, or the body of the weapon he was holding. Therefore, the sword could only cut what it came into direct contact with.

    'Splitting Ki' had more advanced stages to it, which would allow him to expand the blade through ki, and even send slashes of pure ki through air. But with Daniel's current mastery of 'Splitting Ki', he was only able of sharpen the sword's edge.

    Daniel sheathed his sword with a satisfied look, he then closed his eyes and focused on pushing the spiritual essence within his body through his feet, and into the surrounding ground. At an impressive speed, the rocks in the surroundings started to move and converge into a large pile, which a wave of soft soil covered right away.

    After less than twenty seconds, the pile of rocks and soil had shifted in place and taken a humanoid shape. This golem's humanoid shape, if compared to the previous golem Daniel had summoned, was much more defined. While the previous golem looked like a giant made out of rocks and soil with simple limbs, this one had a head, fingers, toes, and a bone structure made out of solid rock. Its face was still smooth and devoid of any human resemblance, but at least it was shaped like a face.

    Daniel looked at the two small rank 4 beast cores, and after thinking for a moment, he decided not to attempt a break through to the fourth rank. He had realized that his speed was too impressive, and if he were to cultivate from the peak of rank 3 to the fourth rank in just a few days, someone would pick up on it sooner or later.

    After looking up, Daniel noticed that the light coming through the hole on the roof was that of early evening. He didn't know how long he had been cultivating, but since he felt like he hadn't eaten for days, he believed that more than a day had passed.

    He needed to find a way out of this cave as soon as possible.

    The first thing he did, was to rip one of his sleeve off and wrap it around a small rod that he had made out of stone. He then soaked it with the scorpion's fatty meat, and made a rudimentary torch which he placed on the ground, before unsheathing his sword and one of his knives.

    He sat right next to the torch and started to whet the sword's unsharpened side with the knife's edge. His first few tries generated no sparks, but the more he tried, the warmer the blade became. He kept trying faster, and faster, until finally, a few sparks flashed past his fingers and disappeared in the air.

    It took him a few minutes to manage to ignite the torch, but instead of getting up and start exploring the cave, he shoved his hand inside the flame, and activated 'Time is Precious'.

    For the next five minutes, Daniel focused on the warmth on his skin, looked at the sinuous movements of the flame, and tried to understand the workings of fire essence. The torch was rudimentary, and only had the scorpion's fatty innards to keep it lit, so after less than ten minutes after it was ignited, the flame had already extinguished.

    Luckily, thanks to the system's help, ten minutes were more than enough for Daniel to understand the priciples of fire essence.

    While still sitting in a lotus position, Daniel forced his spiritual essence out of his palm. He focused on the familiar warmth and wavy movements of a flame, and after a few moments, a small fire lit on his palm.

    The fire waved quietly, growing in size above Daniel's skin for a good minute, it then detached from it and floated in the air steadily. The flame kept becoming bigger and bigger until, when it reached the size of a human's head, it finally stopped.

    The floating flame required Daniel's commands to move, similarly to the way the stone golem was controlled, and like the stone golem, the flame was considered a summoned beast. More precisely, a 'Flaming Whisp'.

    -----

    Meanwhile in Phyrri, within the decommissioned hotel was a large and elegant room. Inside this room, two old men were sitting while facing eachother. One of them, was the previous Master at Arms of the Karalis kingdom, while the other, was an old man which, if compared to the hotel owner, looked much closer to their real age. They two old men were both in their mid seventies.

    This old looking man wore a loose white robe, with two small golden cauldrons patched on his shoulders, and a bigger one sewn to his left waist area. From his body came a pungent smell which would make one's nose curl in discomfort. Whoever would smell this odor, would immediately recognize this man as a powerful alchemist.

    The two old men were having a conversation while sipping tea from a set of very refined tea cups.

    "So he hasn't come back yet.." Said the old Alchemist.

    The retired Master at Arms's brows furrowed and responded in a not too cordial tone. "I still don't buy that crap about wanting to thank him for saving your granddaughter.."

    "Mhahaha! What reason do I have to lie to you!" The old Alchemist didn't take the rudely put comment too seriously, after all, the two were old friends.

    "Sure, laugh away.. in the fifty years i've known you, you have never bothered to thank anyone that helped you. The best you did was to send them a few pill.. or a chest of gold.." Commented the Master at Arms bitterly.

    The Alchemist's eyes rolled back and responded with an annoyed voice. "Again with the price's wedding?! I thought you would have forgotten about that by now.. Haven't I sent you a chest of gold!?"

    "That wasn't even worth a fourth of the price of the present! You!.. Lousy Alchemist.." He then turned away and refused to comment further.

    A few quiet minutes went by as the two sipped tea in silence.

    "Seriously.. The kid is a prodigy in everything that regards martial cultivation.. why are you looking for him?" The Master at Arms said seriously.

    The old Alchemist smiled wryly and said "That kid cultivated from the early rank 2 to the peak of rank 3, and learned how to use stone skin.. in a single night." He then sipped his tea, and added "He is a spiritual cultivation prodigy as well.. how do we solve this?"

    The Master at Arm's eyes widened in shock when he heards the words of the old Alchemist. "Are you serious?" He asked right after swallowing the mouthful of tea he had in his mouth.

    The old Alchemist simply nodded, and while looking at the content of his tea cup, he said "A talent corpse has no future.. for now let's hope he isn't dead."

    -----

    Back to the large cavern underneath the Sinleah's Mountain Range, Daniel had found a way to leave from the way he came.

    He had decided to summon one golem after the other and order them to take the shape of small sets of stairs, he would then give up the earth essence's control, so that they would turn into inanimate solid constructions.

    After a bit of trial and error, and a few heavy falls against the solid rock, he managed to reach only six meters below the hole on the roof of th cave.

    "I can make it.." Said Daniel while avoiding to look down. A fall like that wouldn't have killed a rank 4 beast, and probably not even the new and improved him, but there were no doubts that he would break a few bones if he did. Plus, there were no lakes underneath to grant him a softer landing point than stone.

    He took a few deep breaths, and after mustering the courage, he bent his knees and took a huge leap upwrads. The stone and earth's stairs immediately crumbled under the weight.

    If one were to look from the edge of the hole, they would notice a thin arm appearing inside it, then disappearing the next moment. Daniel hadn't made it outside.. but luckily, he had managed to grab a protruding stone with the tip of his fingers, and avoid a painful fall. He then climbed up slowly, and managed to roll out of the massive hole.

    With his back pressed against the edge of the chasm, he took a few deep breath and shook the tension off his shoulders. He then got back up on his feet, and started walking towards the base camp.

    -----

    Base camp, 23:11

    A guard was sitting quietly next to the wooden signs at the edge of the base camp. His eyes were half closed, as he was in the process of falling asleep. His large greatsword was laying on the side of his right leg, and was about to slip and fall on the ground.

    Before the guard could manage to fall asleep, a dark silhouette, which seemed to be approaching the base camp, appeared out of the blue. Before the guard even finished opening his eyes, he grabbed his weapon and sprung up on his feet. He then shouted "WHO'S THERE?"

    The silhouette drew closer..

    The guard started to get nervous, so it shouted once again.. "WHO IS TH-" but before he could finish, he realized that the silhouette belonged to a young man in his early teens.

    The closer the silhouette got, the more details was the guard able to see. The young man's body was thin but well defined, and his skin was completely covered in dirt. His clothes were in tatters, the only parts that weren't ruined were his belt, on which a longsword hanged on the side, and a leather strap wrapped around his left thigh, which contained a set of sheathed throwing knives.

    Various guards on patrol heard the sudden screams, and approached the entrance of the canyons. They then joined the first guard, and stood next to him, observing the approaching young man.

    The young man, was of course, Daniel.

    Daniel approached step after step, noticing the guards crowding the entrance of the canyon. What Daniel didn't know, was that he had become kind of famous lately.

    Apparently, an unknown party of hunters had come back from their hunting ground with one of their members missing. The party confirmed the presence of more than one rank 4 beast within the canyon, and had also requested the head hunter to send a searching party to look for the lost member.

    Usually, they would have gotten paid for the information, and rejected right away. But fortunately amongst that group, was a young mage, which after exposing her relationship with the current leader of the Golden Cauldron, was granted the help they had asked for. This group was Daniel's hunting party, and the young mage, was none other than Yala.

    Daniel kept approaching in front of the surprised looks of the crowd of guards, which after he got close enough, noticed the monstrous head of the Commander Steel-back Scorpion in his hand.
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