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42 A Battle Between Kingdoms Part 1

    For the next few days, Daniel, almost completely devoid of karmic points, spent his time while quietly getting used to his martial and spiritual rune.

    Thanks to the two runes, everyone who wasn't already aware of his cultivation stage, would see him as a common fourteen year old boy at the second stage of martial, and spiritual cultivation.

    The past few days had been a little slow for Daniel, which unable to leave the building, did not have any opportunity to gain karmic points, and therefore, was forced to cultivate at the speed of a commonly talented teenager.

    Since he had started training that way, he hadn't been able to make a single breakthrough.

    To make things worse, was the fact that Daniel was not in the mood to cultivate. He was used to spend days without seeing his sister, but the prospect of not seeing her for a very long time, made him feel lonely.

    He had found the company of his two teachers more than once in the last few days, which hadn't failed to notice his state of mind.

    The two had hoped to have good news to give him, at least regarding the state of his uncle, but unfortunately, they hadn't received any updates on the matter yet.

    Apparently, the two hadn't found anyone they could appeal to to free Daniel's uncle, as during the hunting season, the upper management of the mining companies would not be present, leaving the minor matters to be handled by the lower level management.

    The lower level management wasn't allowed to discuss matters which didn't regard signing new contracts, or the direct purchase of raw minerals.

    Like the Huntsmen Guild, the Mercenary Union, and the Golden Cauldron, the Mining Conglomerate, as part of the Merchant's Collective, expanded through various kingdoms. Therefore, for as much fame as the two old men had, they still needed to discuss this matter with someone who could recognize their status.

    One had to understand, the ownership of a slave wasn't a simple matter. The Mining Conglomerate had obtained the rights to purchase prisoners from various kingdoms, so that they could be turned into slave, and forced into hard labor for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, this right hadn't come cheap.

    Numerous bloody wars had been fought by the various mining companies for the monopoly of each kingdom's prisoners.

    Until a day, the various companies were either destroyed, or ended up merging into the Mining Conglomerate.

    The hunting season would have lasted for two more weeks.

    -----

    Without much to do, Daniel had spent the past ten days trying new martial arts, spells, and cultivating, but not being able to see any progress, he had always given up soon after.

    It was late afternoon when, while walking around the building, Daniel noticed Nilo and Finn waiting at the gates.

    "Hey, what are you two doing here?" Asked Daniel.

    Nilo and Finn turned towards Daniel, and after greeting him, Finn said "We are waiting for the girls. Didn't you know they would be back today?"

    After hearing Finn's words, Daniel realized what day it was. Hadn't he learned about Mea and his sister from his two teachers, he would have been the first one to arrive here.

    That day, was the day in which Riri, Miri, Mea and Reila were supposed to be back from visiting the Folding Crane School.

    Nilo and Finn, of course, didn't knew as much as Daniel did, so they expected to see all four of them to come back today.

    Daniel decided to keep quiet for the moment, and wait for Riri and Miri to arrive so that he could explain what happened to the four.

    Together, they waited for a few minutes, until finally, a carriage started to appear in the horizon. But before the carriage could arrive at the building's gates, something unexpected happened.

    Time slowed at an impressive speed, and kept going until everything stopped.

    Everyone within Daniel's field of view had been frozen still. The people's clothes didn't move in the wind, the birds in the sky were immobile.. The very sunlight had stopped warming Daniel's body.

    Daniel didn't allow himself to fall into panic, so he focused on sensing the surrounding with his spirit. What he saw next, shocked him deeply.

    Wind, water, earth, no matter what element.. it was as if the very essence within the surroundings had been frozen in time, completely unable to move.

    Unable to use his eyes to even look around, Daniel kept scanning the surroundings with his spirit. It didn't take long for him to finally notice, standing in mid air, three men.

    Daniel couldn't see these three men, as they were too far high up in the sky, but if he could, he would have recognized at least one of them as the robust man with the greatsword, which was present the day of his breakthrough.

    Aside from two clusters of vibrant ki, and one of powerful spiritual essence, Daniel couldn't feel anything else. He wasn't able to observe their movements, as the wind, and water essence in the air had been completely frozen.

    All he could tell, was that they were standing in the air, and observing the surroundings.

    Not long after, Daniel felt two familiar clusters appear in the air above the building. One, was the powerful ki of the old master-at-arms, while the other, was the clear spiritual essence emanated by the old alchemist.

    From Daniel's prospective, the five spent a few moments in quiet. But what Daniel didn't know, was that the five powerful entities had been sending each other messages through telepathy.

    That wasn't because they were having a secret conversation, but instead, because the spell used by the spiritual cultivator amongst the group of three, had not only frozen every type of elemental essence, but also the omnipresent sound essence within the area.

    The two individuals which accompanied the robust man with the greatsword, belonged to the neighbouring kingdom of Zann, which was situated south of the mountain range of the Sinleah, directly south of Karalis.

    One of them, was an old martial artist which dressed in very simple farmer's attire, while the other, was a dignified middle aged man who wore elegant clothes, and followed the path of spiritual cultivation.

    While the robust man was only at the early seventh rank of martial cultivation, both of the two men which accompanied him, were at the early eight rank.

    Daniel's two teachers were both at the peak of the seventh rank, and thanks to their experience, and large knowledge of martial arts and spells, they would have had no problems with fighting one on one against the two early rank 8 cultivators. Unfortunately, they were now outnumbered.

    The spiritual cultivator amongst the group of three, had casted a spell which didn't allow for help to arrive, so Daniel's teachers were left with little choice but try to gain time by talking.

    "I thought that, at your age, you would have been in a lonely farm somewhere in Zann.. it's a surprise to see you here, Seymour" Said the old alchemist to the old man in simple clothes.

    The old man seemed to be smiling for a moment, then his message reached the ears of everybody present "Sorry to disappoint, Silver Alchemist. This is an important matter for my Zann kingdom, I couldn't just stay back and watch." He said.

    The old master-at-arms was the next to talk. His tone was serious and didn't let others believe he was open to discussion "We all know the reason why you are here. The kid is our student, and you can't take him" He then prepared himself to take his weapon out of his spatial ring at any moment.

    The middle aged man in refined clothes showed annoyance in his face, then said "Enough with this, we probably aren't the only ones on their way for the kid, and you two aren't strong enough to keep him safe, so we are leav-" but before he could finish the sentence, all five of them turned their heads towards the same direction.

    In a matter of seconds, four more people entered Daniel's spiritual senses.

    Two of these people were spiritual cultivators, while the remaining two, were martial cultivators. Once again, amongst the newcomers was someone which, had Daniel been able to take a look at, would have recognized.

    One of the two spiritual cultivators, was the old woman who had examined Daniel the day of his breakthrough.

    Amongst the remaining three people, was a very thin male, who had reached the eight rank of spiritual cultivation, and two identical looking old men. Both of these two old men had reached the peak of the seventh rank, and dressed similarly to the other. One wore a black martial attire, while the other wore an identical attire, but white in color.

    The four belonged to Umelan, a kingdom situated in the region thousands of kilometers of desert, southwest of Karalis.

    The four newcomers weren't the help that Daniel's teachers had been hoping for, but at least their enemies had not only the two of them to be careful of.. But also their competition.

    "A spy.. That's unfortunate" Said the old alchemist while looking at the old woman.

    The old doctor looked at the old alchemist with an apologizing face, and said "My apologies vice president, but as you know, this is way more important than my job at the Golden Cauldron." She then paused for a moment, and continued "Is it wise for you to meddle in this conflict?.. Only Master Kye has an obligation towards Karalis, not you."

    The old alchemist looked at the old doctor with a derisory expression, then said "Unfortunately, it is my student that you are trying to abduct."

    "Enough of this! We are wasting time." Said the poorly dressed old man from the Zann kingdom. In his hand, a scythe suddenly appeared.

    At almost the same time, the robust man unstrapped his greatsword from behind his back, and in the hands of the two identical old men from the Umelan kingdom, two pairs of twin daggers appeared.

    In the hands of the old master-at-arms, a gold colored halberd appeared. The sheer metallic essence within the pole weapon, had forced the frozen essences which surrounded it to slightly tremble, showing the difference in power with the other weapons.

    The situation became quite tense afterwards, as nobody talked anymore.

    Daniel, along with everybody else, was still completely stuck in the frozen space. But even in that state, he could feel the ki of the martial cultivators vibrate vividly, and the spiritual essence being emanated by the spiritual cultivators in large quantities.

    He knew that a large scale battle was about to take place.. But before the thought could be completed into his head, one of the two old man with twin daggers had already disappeared, and appeared right in front of him.

    The old man extended his arm and tried to grab Daniel's body, but before he could touch him, a stone spike appeared from underneath his feet.

    The spike expanded at an incredible speed, but before it could completely pierce the old man, he had already disappeared. The missed attack had been launched by the well dressed spiritual cultivator from the Zann kingdom, which while countering the old man's attempt to snatch Daniel away, had almost been cut in half by the golden halberd of the old master-at-arms.

    Bright sparks flew everywhere as the golden halberd clashed against the sharp edge of the old man in farmer clothes's scythe.

    Noticing the distraction within the two, the thin spiritual cultivator of the Umelan kingdom formed two large hands made out of lava, and tried to grab the two clashing martial cultivators.

    In response, the well dressed man, and the old alchemist shielded their companions with two thick water shields.

    The two men with twin daggers were keeping the man with the greatsword occupied, and had in fact, already managed to injure him thanks to their higher cultivation, and combined attacks.

    The old doctor took the chance to approach Daniel, so she created an ice path between him and herself, and as she was about to dash and grab him, a thick lightning bolt descended from the sky, and crashed against the old woman's path.

    She barely managed to take off in the air before another lightning bolt formed in the sky, and was thrown at her. But as she was about to be thunderstruck, one of the two daggers wielding old men appeared in front of her and threw a cross of ki towards the incoming bolt, dissipating the majority of it.

    The old woman reacted quickly and shielded the old man and herself with a light shield, which easily parried the weakened lightning bolt.

    In just a second, the fight had started.
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