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52 Hostage Situation

    The area suddenly became dead quiet.

    The large number of cultivators silently observed the submerged castle, while at the same time, they used their ki flags to call back their allies.

    All through the island, many figures were seen suddenly changing their direction at a moment's notice. Action that greatly confused most of the observers.

    Back to the lake, people didn't immediately enter the lake, as having all assisted to the man's death after he entered the water, they didn't know what dangers it hid.

    Only a few spiritual cultivators, convinced of being able to avoid the corrosive ability of the water, wanted to try to approach the castle.

    A small number groups which had at least a spiritual cultivator that had comprehended water essence, started to approach the lake's shore. These groups plans were basically the same. Create a shield around their bodies, and proceed underwater.

    One by one, they entered the lake along with their companions. The water started to deviate when reaching too close to their bodies. They then slowly disappeared from people's view.

    The castle was large, and impressive. People believed it to be at least as big as any other kingdom's royal castle. Yet, they could only see the silhouette of its top.. and in a far distant point into the water at that.

    For cultivators, to disappear from sight after entering the murky waters, was expected.

    "I can take us in.." Said the spiritual cultivator within Heimart's team.

    Heimart looked carefully at the murky water, and as he was about to agree, the petite girl stopped him by saying "It's not only the water.. It's something within.." in a low voice.

    The group quietened down once more. Many had been convinced that the strategy used by the spiritual cultivators had worked, so people started to approach other spiritual cultivators to try to convince them into taking them along.

    Various scenes started to take place. Some promises of wealth, some tried to get on their good side, and some others even tried to kidnap cultivators who had a distinctive resemblance to them, so that they could use them as bargaining chip for a safe passage.

    But the most common scene, was for groups to find the faintest excuse to exterminate a spiritual cultivator's party, and then promise them to spare the spiritual cultivator's lives in exchange for being taken into the castle.

    Unfortunately for Heimart's group, many had witnessed the scene of how the spiritual cultivator of his team, had traveled until here by riding on the back of a summoned elemental beast made of water essence.

    Many eyes ended up on them.

    A well dressed man approached Heimart's team. On his back, were around fifteen martial cultivators, and they all wore an attire with similar color and cuts of the well dressed man.

    It didn't take long for observers to understand that, this man, for a group to be able to afford sending such a large number of powerful cultivators to participate into the Lost Inheritance Tournament, it had to be extremely powerful.

    The man completely ignored the Heimart, the petite girl, and the third martial cultivator.. And while looking at the spiritual cultivator, he said "We require your assistance in reaching the castle.." His tone flat and devoid of any emotion.

    "I'm afraid I have to refuse, i'm here with my team" Responded the spiritual cultivator right away.

    The well dressed man looked around, and pretended to only just notice the three people within the spiritual cultivator's team. He then said "A small and pathetic group. Why not come with us? We can protect you even after we enter the castle"

    Heimart, slightly irritated by the man's words, said "He has already refused. Leave it be." with a firm voice.

    The face of the well dressed man contorted in excessive disdain and shock,  and from behind him, a loud voice shouted "HOW DARE YOU ADDRESS THE YOUNG MASTER!" His face was filled with rage, as if he had just witnessed the worst crime. He then put his hand on the hilt of his sword.

    In response, the martial cultivator within Heimart's team, grabbed the pole of his spear, and prepared as a cautionary action.

    Unfortunately, the group's action was all an act, and a similar response was what they had been waiting for.

    The moment the martial cultivator's hand wrapped around the spear.. "You want to attack the young master?! How dare you! Prepare to die!!" Shouted the same cultivator from behind the well dressed man.

    A third party suddenly approached the scene.

    A powerful looking cultivator amongst the members of the third group, stepped forward and while looking at the spiritual cultivator, he said "We'll support you, in exchange for taking us with you into the castle." His intentions were clearly not directed at Heimart's entire team, but only to him.

    The group of the well dressed man unsheathed their weapons in response. They all carried the same type of blade.

    The leader of the second group looked intently at the young spiritual cultivator and said in a loud voice "Agree or we'll be on our way!"

    The petite girl and the martial artist within Heimart's team assumed their battle stances, ready to fight at any moment. The situation was becoming very tense.

    Similar scenes were seen all over, and theirs was just one of the many.. In fact, various skirmishes had already started on the large field in front of the lake.

    Knowing that no word could fix this situation, Heimart's team prepared for battle. The surrounding quietness completely surmounted the sounds of the nearby fights.

    From behind the well dressed man, three martial cultivators dashed past him and immediately attacked Heimart's team.

    The rest of the group, was carefully watching the second party, as they were afraid they would be as shameless as they were, and intervene in the fight.

    The three martial cultivators were no pushovers. They were all at the fourth rank of martial cultivator, and their fighting abilities were remarkable.

    Unfortunately, they were neither geniuses or prodigies.

    Heimart and the petite girl were easily able to overpower their adversaries, while on the other hand, the martial artist of their team, being only a peak rank 3 martial cultivator, was on the losing end.

    Still trying to find a way out of this mess, the petite girl and Heimart decided not to kill the men. They instead injured them lightly and sent them back to their group. Then aided their companion.

    Slight surprise could be seen in the well dressed man's eyes, when he saw his three subordinates being so easily defeated. He looked at six people amongst his remaining group, and with a nod of his head, he sent them to join the fray.

    Now facing two people at once, Heimart's team was facing a more difficult situation. The petite girl was still holding a slight advantage against her two enemies, while Heimart's was only able to fight them to a stalemate.

    The weak link of the chain, was once again, the young martial cultivator within their group.

    After no longer than half a minute, the martial cultivator was on his knees, with the cutting edge of one of the two cultivator's blades, gently pressed against his neck.

    Until then, on the other two fronts, the battle was going well. The petite girl had managed to injure one of her adversaries, and Heimart had managed to throw a few good punches as well. But alas, the moment they noticed the capture of their companion, they were forced to stop.

    "Woah, easy there" Said Heimart, as a blade pressed too hard against his neck, and cut his skin lightly.

    "See? There is no point in going with them.. They are not capable of reaching the inheritance" Said the well dressed man to the spiritual cultivator.

    The leader of the second group, which until now had been observing the fight, interjected by saying "The offer still stands.. Say it and we'll help you out"

    The spiritual cultivator was now anxious. No matter what words they used to try to convince him.. both of them were threatening him. Either by threatening people he had become friends with, or making leverage on his attachment to his own life.

    "Well.. this is about enough time, isn't it?" Said Heimart suddenly.

    The well dressed man looked at him and said with an aloof voice "What for?.."

    Heimart slowly raised his hand, and pointed right next to where the well dressed man was standing and said "For him to arrive, of course."

    The well dressed man couldn't help but instinctively turn to his left, and there, he saw a young man in simple clothes standing quietly. His face contorted in contempt.. he turned back to look at Heimart, and with derision in his voice, he said "Is he supposed to take you out of your predicament?"

    On Heimart's lips a faint smile appeared, as he said "It's not my predicament anymore.. It's yours.."

    The young man who Heimart was point at, was of course, Daniel.

    Now irritated, the well dressed man unsheathed his blade, and walked straight towards Daniel.

    He then made an horizontal slashing motion, trying to directly separate Daniel's head from his body.

    Unfortunately, only the deaf noise of the blade swinging through air could be heard.

    Daniel had lowered his body at the very last moment, and slid right on the man's blind side. In the man's ears, the sound of a calm voice could be heard. It was "Would you mind telling your goons to let them go?.."

    Embarrassed, the well dressed man barked furiously "Or what?!" he then twisted his body, swinging his blade in a circular motion in an attempt to cut Daniel's body in half.

    Once again, the only thing he managed to cut through, was thin air.

    Daniel was using 'Shadow Approach' and 'True Motion' at the same time. His naturally agile body, along with the partial absence of mistakes in his movement and the quiet and stealthy nature of 'Shadow Approach', made him completely unpredictable.

    "Or I will freeze all the liquids within your body, and turn you into an ice sculpture." Said Daniel with a matter-of-fact tone.

    "BULLSHIT!" Shouted the well dressed man, but before he could turn around and attack once more, he felt the surrounding temperature drop of several degrees.

    He looked at his companions in panic, and noticed that none of them was in the same state of discomfort he was. He started to shiver, and his warm moist breath became visible whenever he exhaled.

    Unable to speak, the well dressed man started to become paler and paler, as the blood within his body retracted from his arms and legs, and focused on his thorax.

    Daniel looked at the three martial cultivators which were holding his friends hostage, and said "Now, you could kill my friends.. but that would mean the death of.. this guy who I assume is your young master.. So, if you don't want to take him back inside a set of water vases, I suggest you release them, and be on your way."

    His tone still matter-of-fact, as if nothing could change anything he had said.

    *Clank*

    The providential sound of the well dressed man, now unable to squeeze his fingers around the blade's handle anymore, dropping his weapon on a nearby rock, reached everyone's ears.

    The three martial cultivators removed their blades from the necks of Heimart's team, and stepped back. Their face filled with worry, and a tiny bit of anger.

    Daniel stepped away from the well dressed man, and increased the temperature of the air around him once again. A few of the man's subordinates approached him and kept him from falling. They then walked away from the area while dragging their young master.

    The leader of the second group noticed Daniel's superb comprehension of water essence, but as he was about to open his mouth and talk, Daniel looked back at him and said "Can I help you with something?" His tone cold and menacing.

    The group leader froze in place. Swearing to have felt the surrounding temperature drop by a few degrees, he closed his mouth, shook his head, and walked away with the rest of his group.

    "Busy couple of hours?" Asked Daniel to Heimart while smiling.

    "Hehe.. you can say that" Heimart responded.
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