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68 Time Is in Constant Motion

    When Daniel left the room, he immediately recognized where he was.

    He was currently standing inside one of the corridors within the castle.

    What left Daniel pleasantly surprised, was how different the castle looked since the last time he had seen it. He could still feel his control over it, but the entire castle had been renovated with higher class furnishings.

    It didn't take long for him to guess the reason why. He had spent an entire week within the spatial formation, and of course, the rest of his group and the middle aged man would not simply waste time while waiting for him to come out.

    Daniel was currently inside the spiritual training section of the castle. If he could shift into the fictitious space made by the Clear Mage, he would probably find himself close to the very rooms he had been tested into before reaching the catacombs.

    Now, it was a relatively empty set of rooms.

    Almost afraid that he would be immediately sent into another more complicated spatial formation, Daniel decided to spend the next few minutes exploring the renovated castle.

    After wandering for about a minute, Daniel noticed that the castle's new furniture looked extremely elegant and expensive. He could guess that whomever took care of the job, had expensive tastes.

    Each and every piece of furnishing was made of high quality wood, and each patch of fabric was as soft as silk.

    Thanks to his system's passive skill 'Karma X Luck', Daniel had been able to avoid being spotted for an entire hour, until finally, someone exited from one of the room and noticed him.

    The person who had spotted him was none other than the blond young man, and the room he had just come out of was the weapon wielding testing room.

    For the past week, the blond young man had taken the habit to spend most of the day inside that room to train his mastery in single-bladed sword wielding.

    When the blond young man noticed Daniel, he immediately bowed as a sign of respect. He then stood still and said in the asum language "Greetings head warrior. Are there any instructions you have for me?"

    Daniel was now fluent in the asum language, and despite his pronunciation of a few words was still a bit off, the blond young man managed to understand him well enough. He responded "None. Keep doing what you were doing." He was about to turn away and leave from one of the corridors, when instead, he turned to look back at the blond young man and said "On second thought.. Why don't we have a spar for a bit?"

    The blond young man accepted immediately with a decisive nod, and went back inside the training room. He then removed both weapons from the stone altars, and walked into the ring in the middle of the room.

    Daniel had spent the last week improving his comprehension of spatial essence, so now that he was finally able to have some physical exercise, he was fairly enthusiastic about it.

    He walked on the opposite side of the ring, and placed himself in front of the blond young man. After a slight bow, a clean sword appeared in his hand.

    The blond young man quietly unsheathed a single-edged sword, and took his usual fighting stance.

    Silence reigned supreme within the training room, until suddenly, a flash of light was reflected on the surface of the young man's sword, as it was sent slashing the air in half and towards Daniel's chest.

    The sword's slash was immediately parried by Daniel, which after deflecting the blow, immediately countered with a diagonal slash directed at the young man's shoulder.

    Blow after blow, flash after flash.. For the next few minutes the room was filled with sounds of clashing metal and brilliant sparks.

    It didn't take long for Daniel to realize something. His mastery of the sword was in no way superior to the mastery the blond young man had reached with single-bladed swords.

    And that was not all. Not only were their skills in swordsmanship comparable.. But the young man's superior level in martial cultivation had granted him an edge over the fight. His reflexes were more evolved when compared to Daniel's, and his reaction to his opponent's blows were slightly faster.

    From the outside, it would seem like two training puppets were fighting a relentless and even fight, but to the eyes of an expert, it would be clear that Daniel had a slight disadvantage.

    Of course, for hundreds of times Daniel had the chance to finish the young man off with a simple magical attack.. But he wanted this sparring match to be fair.

    They were both martial cultivators at the fifth rank, and they both decided not to use martial arts during the fight.

    What Daniel could do instead, was to change weapon in the middle of the fight.

    The first chance to do presented itself when he found himself in a bad position following a failed piercing attack.

    The young man had avoided the attack completely by spinning in place, and following the rotating motion of his body he countered with haste.

    The slash was horizontal and was directed at the shoulder blade behind Daniel's right shoulder. It was extremely difficult to avoid, so instead of avoiding it, Daniel made his left hand slide under and past his stretched right arm.

    When the single-edged sword was about to reach Daniel's shoulder blade, before the blond young man could stop his own blow and claim victory, the sword clashed against the shaft of the spear that had just appeared in Daniel's left hand.

    Daniel immediately bent the spear to absorb the blow until its shaft was as curved as a bow. He then made the shaft of the spear reach its maximum bending capability, before releasing the tension from the bottom and making it snap towards the young man's face.

    The young man reaction was, once again, amazingly fast. He immediately jumped high in the air and used his whole body weight to support his sword in withstanding the spear's blow.

    The spear's blow was so powerful that it forced the young man's body to be pushed even higher in the air.

    During his descent, Daniel quickly retracted the spear and made it rotate by a hundred and eighty degrees, before sending it towards the exact point in mid air where the young man would have found himself in just a few moments, with a firm a decisive piercing motion.

    Beyond Daniel's expectations, the young man's body twisted in mid air in response, and with his free hand he grabbed right underneath the spear's head, diverted its trajectory, and while still rolling over the spear's shaft, he slashed towards Daniel with a vertical motion.

    The only thing Daniel could do, was to ditch the spear and somersault past the young man's body. He then immediately got back up on his feet, and pointed the short sword that had magically appeared in his hand at the young man's neck.

    The young man was bent on his knees, but only one hand was touching the ground. The other hand tightly held his single-edged swords, which was now pointed at Daniel's side.. Ready to slide in between his ribs and pierce his heart.

    A faint smile grew on Daniel's face as he took a step back, and said in the asum language "Amazing.. The progress you've made in the past week is really impressive"

    The blond young man bowed deeply in response and said "If only you had my age and cultivation level, I could never myself compare to your ability."

    Daniel waved his hand in embarrassment. Honestly, the blond young man was the most talented martial cultivator he had ever met. Not only was he under twenty years old, but he had already reached the level of mastery of single-edged sword that the Dark Warrior had in the past. Therefore making him capable of defeating the final form of the training dummy.

    One could understand the young man's dedication in swordsmanship from that alone.

    After exchanging a few more words, Daniel left the training room along with the blond young man, and continued to explore the renovated castle by himself.

    Before long, Daniel had managed to find the position of the rest of the group.

    Heimart, Alis, Ligart and Imblen were currently arranging the furniture within one of the rooms.

    The two kids were also present within the castle. They had been inadvertently teleported nearby the castle by the middle aged man, but when Alis found out that they were orphans and had nobody to wait for them home, nor a home to come back to to begin with, she had offered them a job as first members of the castle's cleaning crew.

    Daniel entered the room that his group members were currently decorating.

    The first one to spot him was Ligart, which dropped his end of the drawer he and Heimart were carrying, and approached Daniel immediately.

    "Daniel! You are out!.. Please do something.. That girl is crazy.. She spent so much money on this stuff!" Ligart burst out with an imploring tone.

    Clearly amused by Ligart's behaviour, Daniel responded with a smiling face "I thought you didn't like eating on tables encrusted with dried blood.. I think that if you ask Alis, she could arrange a room for you decorated with the discarded furniture.."

    "Ha! Ha! Ha!.. Very funny" responded Ligart with an unamused tone. He then said "Why don't you ask her how much she spent on renovating the castle.."

    Daniel shrugged his shoulders and said "It doesn't matter really.. We have plenty of money for no-"

    "It's three millions.." Said ligart, interrupting Daniel's train of thought.

    "WHAT!?" Daniel suddenly burst out.

    The figure of Heimart quickly approached the two, while cleaning his hands on his pants. He said "Hold on.. It's not just for the furniture. We have also renovated the library, and with the help of the middle aged man, we made projects of reconstructing the spiritual training section of the castle. That's what increased our expenses so damn much."

    "Where is the middle aged man?" Said Daniel curiously. "And where is Roley? I can't feel him inside the castle."

    Heimart took a small locket from within his spatial ring and threw it at Daniel. He then said "He is in here.. The man said that this is a failed pocket dimension. Inside it, space is extremely chaotic. He said that it is the fastest way for someone with absolutely no comprehension of spatial essence to gain some. He also said that it is like giving a dictionary to an illiterate person.. So go figure."

    Daniel pushed a wips of spiritual essence inside the bead, and noticed Roley rotating and twisting in the middle of unstable space. His clothes were covered in vomit and he looked stressed beyond words.

    With a single thought Daniel surrounded him into his spiritual essence and forced him out of the failed pocket dimension.

    The moment Roley appeared, he looked around and said "Finally!.. I was supposed to stay in that hell for only a day.. What the hell happened?!?"

    "Yeah.. about that." Said Heimart with a strange tone. He then took a brief pause before adding "The middle aged man left about ten hours after he put you into the pocket dimension.. He hasn't come back yet."

    Shocked by the ludicrous reasoning of the middle aged man, Roley took a deep breath and said "I need a damn bath.. I am going to drown anyone that comes to bother me.." He then walked out of the room and towards his with heavy steps.

    "Okay.. What else is new?" Asked Daniel while secretly enjoying the liveliness of the place.

    It was at this moment that Alis and Imblen had finished to assemble the curtains.

    Alis came down of the ladder she had climbed on, and said "We've found out the reason for the gathering."

    "Oh, that's interesting.. What is it?" asked Daniel curiously.

    "Apparently, when we were busy with the tournament, a strange event took place." She then took a brief pause before continuing "The only ones who felt it were spiritual cultivators who had reached a deep comprehension of time essence, but according to the rumors, time reverted back by four seconds."
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