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59 The Castle Part 5

    "The Clear Mage wasn't who you think he was." Daniel said to the girl.

    The petite girl looked at him with confusion, and asked "What do you mean?"

    Daniel took a deep breath, and started to explain "The Dark Warrior and Clear Mage weren't a couple of powerful cultivators like the legend says. The version recorded in your family record is more accurate, but a detail is missing.. The Dark Warrior was the Clear Mage's father." He then paused for a moment, letting the new information sink in.

    Still confused, the petite girl asked "Even if that is true, why shouldn't I free him?"

    "Because he was an evil practitioner, that's why his father trapped him here!.." Responded Daniel.

    The girl's brows furrowed underneath her mask, and before she could respond, a third voice resounded in the air.

    "He is lying." Said the old man whom Daniel had previously met in the room filled with books. "I arrived here thousands of years ago, and while in search of our patriarch's inheritance, i've ended up being trapped by the same formation the vile Dark Warrior had used to trap the Clear Mage!"

    He then looked at the petite girl, and said "Please extract the sword and break the formation.. I want to go back home." His tone was pitiful.

    "The Clear Mage, I presume." Said Daniel while looking at the old man. "You know, after all i've seen so far.. I've been breaking my brain to figure out a way to destroy this formation, and you with it.."

    "I have no idea what you are talking about" Said the old man.

    Daniel smiled, and continued talking. "I've seen your father's intentions of killing you.. More than once. But no matter how many times he tried, he could never really bring himself to do it. Because of your father's love, you were allowed to grow up and develop your sick ideas.."

    While talking, Daniel slowly walked around him, observing the old man's movements and reactions.

    "You were a talented cultivator.. I'll give you that.. But your nature couldn't be suppressed, no matter how much you tried. When you found that vicious path of cultivation, you abandoned your humanity, and started your killing spree. Your father hated himself for allowing you to travel the world and indulge in your sick method of cultivation.."

    "STOP LYING!" Shouted the old man before looking at the petite girl once again, and saying "Don't listen to what he is saying.. Remember the reason why he is here, why everybody is here! It's his greed"

    "It was the death of your mother.." Said Daniel

    As the old man heard these few words, he immediately looked toward Daniel.

    "Your father reached a breaking point.. And prepared a trap for you. Your mother's death was the only chance he had to get you back home.. So after she died, he waited for you to arrive to pay your respects to your late mother." Said Daniel with a matter-of-fact tone.

    The bony hands of the old man shut tightly underneath his large sleeves.

    "You knew it.. Since the moment you've entered this hall, you knew that your father was going to trap you here. So you did something about it.. With all the power you had, you had certainly traveled far and wide.. There was simply no way that someone like your father could have managed to trap you here.." Daniel wasn't exactly sure how the Clear Mage had managed to avoid being trapped here, so he stopped for a few moments, to allow the old man to respond.

    "Is this true?" Asked the petite girl.

    The old man turned toward her and said in a scolding voice "Stop listening to him! He has presented no proofs! He is just talking!"

    Unfortunately, the old man didn't break under pressure. It was only when Daniel involuntarily approached the large double door that he saw a reaction.

    The old man was sneaking peeks at him from the corner of his eyes.

    A large grin grew on Daniel's face as he started talking "Of course.. Now I know what happened.. It's your mother's casket."

    A shiver run down the old man's spine.

    "The moment you threw yourself at your mother's casket.. You've left part of your spirit and consciousness in it.. So instead of being simply the target of the formation, you've also become part of it." Said Daniel.

    The old man lifted his hand slowly, and took his hood off. Underneath, was a disgusting half decomposed face. Yet, on the still relatively intact part of his face, Daniel could see a large smirk forming.

    "You are a brilliant young man.. I was so close this time.. HAHAHA!" The old man didn't seem to be nervous or scared. Instead, he looked like he had just been found out cheating at a simple game of cards.

    He then straightened his clothes, and as if coming clean with his funny con, he said "I remember when, tens of thousand years ago, the first one of these idiots came to find me.. I reckon he would have failed spectacularly had he not brought a monster with him. That brat was something else.. Just like you.. So powerful and talented that he managed to destabilize this whole formation."

    "Uuuhh.. I think he is talking about one of my brothers.." Said Sewah inside Daniel's mind.

    Daniel looked at the old man and asked "You don't look scared.. I guess you can prevent us from harming you.. Might as well tell us how this thing started.." Said Daniel.

    "Well, I happen to be only able to enjoy a few conversations per decade, so I don't see why not." The old man then started to recount the story of how the tournament had been created.

    According to him, the presence of his rogue spirit within the formation, had changed it significantly. Every ten years, the formation would weaken enough to allow him to take partial control over it.

    The point in time when the Clear Mage had control of the formation, was when the formation was at its weakest, and during one of these episodes, one of his descendent, accompanied by a cultivator of unbelievable talent, had managed to destabilize the formation enough to make "breaking out of the fictitious space" possible.

    When the first of his descendant managed to enter the catacomb, his rogue spirit attempted to take possession of his body.

    It was doable, but thanks to the help of that unbelievably talented cultivator, he had failed miserably.

    From that event, he had learned a few things. He could take possession only of his descendants, and he needed people with an unbelievable talent to stress the already defective formation, to allow people into the real catacomb.

    To those capable of reaching the real catacomb, he would ask to extract the sword from the heart, and free him. Unfortunately, that was easier said than done, as unless an unbelievably cultivator was present to disrupt the formation, none of them would be able to enter the true catacomb, and would be stuck in the fictitious one instead.

    Unfortunately for him, the amount of talent necessary to obtain that reaction, was something that the creators of the formation hadn't even thought possible, and one of these people, for all he knew, might be born once every hundreds of thousands of years.

    It didn't take long for an idea to pop into his head. He would send cultivators out in the world to tell the story of the Clear Mage and Dark Warrior inheritance, just to attract as many cultivators as possible.

    Tens of thousands of years passed slowly, until finally, only four thousands years ago, the ancestor of the petite girl's family managed to reach this place, along with a cultivator of unbelievable talent.

    The Clear Mage still wasn't aware of the effects that destroying the formations would have on his rogue spirit and consciousness, so instead of convincing him to extract the sword, the Clear Mage took control over his descendant's body.

    Only later did he found out that, removing the soul himself would not work, as the core part of the formation rejected him no matter what body he possessed.

    For the next four thousand years, he waited for another occasion.

    That occasion presented itself with Daniel.

    "A double path cultivator.. We are similar you and i! We both cultivate two paths Hehehe" Said the old man before laughing. He then stopped, and continued talking "Now I have a question.. What betrayed me? I knew, since the moment I have told you that I would have taken you as my disciple.. From your reaction, I was sure that you hadn't believed me.. How did you now?"

    Daniel's eyes moved right above the old man's head, above which a number was floating.

    "I can see right through you.." He said with a matter-of-fact voice.

    That number, was 1,623,772,167.. and it was blood red in color.

    "Well, fair enough! Who am I to understand all the trick a monstrosity like you has in store" Said the old man while shrugging. "Anyway, I can only kill both of you, and wait for the next time.." He then turned toward the petite girl and added "Oh, i'll be taking your body as well" He said while parting his rotting lips and showing a set of black teeth.

    Daniel looked at him and said "Wait a second, don't you want to see my last trick?"

    The old man turned towards him "Don't play me brat, I can hear the glasses you are trying to climb on shatter. Nothing is going to save you" He said.

    On Daniel's face, a large smile grew. Inside his mind, a few windows had opened.

    -----

    *Primary Quest started: No Rest for the Wicked*

    -Description: Complicate the lives of humans with bad karma.

    Second objective set: Survive

    Optional: Prevent the death of Alis

    Optional: Kill the Clear Mage

    Reward: +50,000(+5000)(+1,500,000)

    Failure: Death

    -----

    Open Approach

    Difficulty: Extreme

    -Destroy the Clear Mage's possessed body.

    -Have Alis open the crypt

    -Destroy the remnant of the Clear Mage's spirit.

    Countdown:54 seconds

    (Requirements: rank 7 of martial cultivation or rank 8 of spiritual cultivation)

    Reward +200% KP (150,000/165,000/4,500,000)

    -----

    Open approach

    Difficulty: Hard

    -Deactivate the formation

    -Pierce the Dark Warrior's sword into the heart of the possessed body within 10 seconds.

    -Have Alis open the crypt

    -Destroy the remnant of the Clear Mage's spirit.

    Countdown: 2 minutes 12 seconds

    Reward +150% KP (125,000/137,500/11,250,000)

    -----

    The old man immediately grabbed the petite girl's neck, but didn't kill her. He required her body, and the better the shape was, the more it would last.

    Daniel immediately sent a lightning strike against the old man. The hit took away part of the old man's shoulder, but didn't seem to be felt in the slightest.

    The old man turned around, and sent a hundred of ice spikes towards Daniel.

    The spikes had been created by transforming the Clear Mage's spiritual essence into the water essence, therefore, they were unable to reach Daniel, which used the statue of the pierced heart as a cover.

    Once the spikes reached one meter from the statue, they turned back into uncontrolled spiritual essence and disappeared into thin hair.

    Daniel raised his arms from behind the statue, and shouted "OKAY! I SURRENDER!!"

    "What are you on about?" Said the rotting old man.

    With a sheepish smile covering his face, Daniel responded "I said I surrender! I'll destroy the formation and free you. I'd rather leave now, and maybe be rewarded by you.. than die here"

    The old man's dirty smile resurfaced, then he said "Very well, but i'm still taking the girl."

    Daniel shrugged and said "I honestly don't care."

    "Chop chop then, I am waiting" Said the rotting old man.

    Daniel moved towards the sword, and with a single motion, he removed it from the heart.

    The exact moment in which the sword was removed, everyone within the fictitious castle was immediately teleported into the real one.

    The scene was hundreds of times more terrifying than the previous black and white version. The place was completely covered in bones, and blood had dried everywhere around the place.

    A few fresh corpses decorated the various rooms. Some had been chopped into pieces, while others had had chunks of flesh bitten off of them. There was even one that was roasting above a fire.

    The old man took a deep breath, and with an ecstatic face, he couldn't help but groan and say "Ohh.. finally.."
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