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50 Better Safe Than Sorry

    Back in his room, Daniel was sitting quietly on his bed.

    In his right hand, was the small bottle which contained the healing pills, that he and the girl had bought an hour earlier.

    Through the transparent bottle, Daniel could se five pear-sized beads. They had hints of transparency, and a dull white color completely devoid of any sort of shine.

    This wasn't the first time Daniel had seen a healing pill. The first time was when he had extorted one from one of the young masters of the School of Everlasting Fury, in order to heal the hand of the little girl that one of his goons had hurt.

    The only difference was the rank of the pill, which considering the time it took to heal the girl, and the magnitude of the injury it was capable of healing, was a rank 5 healing pill at best.

    Daniel opened the small bottle, and made one pill roll out of the bottle's neck and on his palm. He then observed it for a few moments.

    Through his spirit sense, Daniel could feel the healing essence within the bead, but he couldn't quite understand its working. It was similar to the essence sphere within the greenhouse ring that the old alchemist had given him.

    The essence was there, but he couldn't quite understand how it worked. Therefore, comprehension wasn't possible. To this day, Daniel still hadn't understood the use of that sphere.

    Of course, differently from the sphere within the greenhouse ring, Daniel had one more way to comprehend the healing essence within the pill.. and that, was to use it on himself.

    He only owned five healing essences, and each would have a limited effectiveness and use, so he wanted to make the best out of it.

    After a full minute of being immersed in his thoughts, a satisfied expression appeared on Daniel's face. In his mind, a familiar window was present.

    -----

    Dan Hiel - Karmic system's wielder.

    Age - 14

    Rank

    - Late rank 4 of Martial cultivation (Perfect Body)

    - Peak rank 4 of Spiritual cultivation (Perfect Connection)

    Karma - 5790

    -----

    Weapons Masteries (Details)

    Martial Arts (Details)

    Skills (Details)

    Spells (Details)

    -----

    Reap What You've Sown

    Time Is Precious Lv.4

    Reduced Cost Lv.4

    Second Chance Lv.1

    System Upgrades (Details)

    -----

    In just a minute, Daniel had spent almost twenty thousand karma points to upgrade 'Time is Precious' and 'Reduced Cost' from level two to level four, and to purchase the first level of 'Second Chance'.

    At first, he had no intention of purchasing 'Second Chance'. But now that he was alone, and about to enter a tournament that he knew barely anything about, and together with people he knew even less.. he decided that an additional layer of survival, was better than nothing.

    Suddenly, on Daniel's hand, an extremely sharp dagger appeared.

    He rapidly activated 'Time is Precious', and put the healing pill in his mouth. The next moment.. He took a deep breath, and after mustering all the courage he had, he used 'Through Stone and Steel' to stab his forearm, then used 'Splitting Ki' to open a huge gash that reached all the way from his elbow to his wrist.

    Since the moment Daniel had thought about consuming the healing pills, he had been worried that, in case he wasn't injured, the healing essence wouldn't take effect, and therefore, he wouldn't be able to comprehend it.

    In order to avoid possibly wasting a pill over a failed attempt, Daniel had no choice but to injure himself.

    Behind his gritted teeth and pained expression, Daniel rapidly swallowed the healing pill. He then focused on the essence which suddenly started to pervade his body.

    Before the pill could even go down his throat, it decomposed and turned into a dense stream of healing essence. The feeling Daniel had felt at that moment, was like drinking a warm glass of milk. But instead of feeling it fill his stomach, Daniel felt the wave of warmth explore his whole body, and after reaching the injured point of his arm, it started to concentrate on the wound.

    Daniel kept his eyes wide opened and observed his open wound carefully. The pain made him clench his teeth tightly, and big drops of sweat had started to form on his forehead.

    The warm was now filling his arm completely, and after a few moments, Daniel saw the milky streams of healing essence stretch from his muscles, blood vessels, and skin.

    Every stream would reach for the opposite side of the wound, and slowly connect the two cut off parts, before pulling them back together, and forcibly healing them to a perfect state.

    The moment the cut off parts of his arm were attached back together, the pain was numbed almost completely.

    The whole process had only taken ninety seconds, as the curative power of a rank 7 healing pill was too high when used on a wound as easy to heal as a flesh wound.

    What Daniel had just did, was the equivalent of asking the best doctor in the world, to heal a scratched knee. It was an immense waste of resources, but it didn't come without any rewards.

    Thanks to the fourth level of 'Time is Precious', Daniel had managed to comprehend healing essence's workings at an impressive speed.

    In fact, from the use of a single healing pill, he had been able to learn how to turn his spiritual essence into healing essence of the lowest level, and that was the only requirement to be considered a spiritual cultivator with healing skills.

    His current comprehension of healing essence was now deep enough for him to, had he been an alchemist, create a rank 1 healing pill.

    What was unfortunate, was the incredible consumption of karma points, which despite the increase level of 'Reduced Cost', still decreased by an impressive amount.

    For the next hour, Daniel's groans and pained growls resounded within his room.

    When they finally stopped, Daniel had passed out on his bed, completely covered in sweat, next to an empty bottle.

    -----

    Almost twenty hours later, Daniel woke up on his bed.

    The sheer memory of how he had spent the last hour awake came back to his mind, giving him goosebumps.

    After getting back up on his feet, Daniel washed up, and left his room.

    He had slept all the way to the late evening of the day after, so when he left his room, he saw the rest of the group preparing to leave for dinner.

    In the day Daniel had slept, the group had gotten used to the idea of Heimart being the leader.

    Heimart, back to his school, had been the leader of his generation of students, so he was used to giving orders and assigning tasks. He also had a good character, and since his faulty habit of cheating presented itself only when betting with his cousin, he was also respected by everyone as a honorable person.

    The petite girl was the only one he didn't dare give order to. Either because he thought that she wouldn't listen, or because she was more powerful than he was. After all, she had fought with the pirate captain alone, and didn't seem to be in too much of a disadvantage.

    The members of the group had been sent by him to gather informations about the tournament. Only a few suggestions had been given to them, being them to ask to natives of the island, and to ask to old people.. the older the better.

    Unfortunately, none of them had come back with more informations than the ones they had gotten from the receptionist. At best, a few of them had heard a few rumors regarding the tournament's prize.

    After a dinner devoid of good news, the group went back to their rooms for the night.

    Daniel, completely unable to sleep, spent the night practicing the mastery the sword, and his martial arts.

    The way the system increased his speed of comprehension still greatly amazed him. An increase that allowed him to perfectly learn and do something that before, he didn't even know existed.. All of that in the short span of a few hours.

    After a full night of practice, Daniel's mastery of 'Splitting Ki' and 'Through Stone and Steel' had reached a new level. In fact, he was able to expand the reach of the blade by pushing his ki further than the weapon's body. His swordsmanship had also increased to the next level, making him able to parry, counter and nullify an attack with a simple movement of his wrist.

    This brief training session, along with 'Time is Precious', had costed him a full thousand karma points for a total of twelve hours of practice.

    -----

    It was now the morning of the day before the start of the tournament.

    Every single cultivator within the Clear and Dark city were preparing in small and organized groups, or with the companions they had come to begin with.

    A few more dezen of ships arrived to the island, unloading large crowds of cultivators which promptly  invaded every market and shop within the city. The most chaotic day of a decade had started.

    Fortunately, Heimart had seen this coming, so he had convinced a few members of his group to pack the essentials for the lot of them during the last couple of days.

    Various fights took places between the numerous parties of cultivators, while the various merchants put the most expensive and high end items in exhibit, while jacking up the prices of every item within their inventory by many folds.

    Daniel and the rest of the group, spent the day making plans and organizing.

    The first objective of the tournament, was to find the castle of the Clear Mage and Dark Warrior, so the group had decided to split into three teams. Two composed by four people, and one composed by three.

    Heimart and the petite girl, along with two other people, were on one team. Ligart and the man with the strange mustache, whose name was Paule, along with two more, were part of the second team.

    Finally, Daniel guided a team of three.

    Once the tournament would start, the three would split into three different directions, and explore three different sections of the island.

    If, one of the teams managed to find the castle, they would communicate its position to the other teams through the use of an item they had bought during the last couple days of preparation.

    This item was a special piece of metal which could contain a cultivator's ki within. This item was called 'Ki flag'.

    Each of the team leaders, being Daniel, Heigart and Paul, had two of these ki flags, and on each of them, the ki of the two other leaders had been imprinted.

    The moment one of them found the castle, or found themselves in a dire situation, the team leader in possession of the two flags, would slowly erase the other's ki imprints.

    The owners of the imprints would naturally feel their ki being erased, and would know exactly where to head to.

    Daniel's team members were a young man at the peak of the third rank of spiritual cultivation, and a girl at the early fourth rank of martial cultivation.

    According to the rough estimations given by a few officials, whose work was to observe the influx of visitors during the two week prior to the start of the tournament.. this year's participants were around fifty thousand.

    Many of these cultivators had come from powerful sects, schools and families within the kingdoms that surrounded the sea, inside which the island was situated.

    Because of this, the group had expected there to be many feuds between the various groups, which they would attempt to settle during the tournament.

    After all, once inside the island, the various young masters and mistresses of these powers would only have their own strength to protect themselves, and in case they would be killed, nobody would know for certain who had killed them.

    This, wasn't a problem for Daniel, which being a complete stranger to the area, didn't have to worry that an old enemy would try to settle a score with him.

    With this thought in mind, he bid farewell to the group, and made his way to his room in order to take one last good night of sleep before the tournament would start.
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