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84 Solitary Cultivation

    After a day spent shopping for materials and furniture, The group entered a restaurant and sat for dinner.

    "So, how do we decide?" Asked Ligart once again.

    During the day, the group had talked extensively about their options. In the end, they had narrowed down the decision to two. The first option, was to purchase a patch of land in which to place the castle, while the second, was to leave someone outside of the pocket dimension that could keep the ring safe while the rest cultivated.

    Both options had pros and cons. For example, Leaving the castle outside would allow them to cultivate in peace, and maybe even expand.. But they were not powerful enough to protect their territory from invaders yet.

    In the second option, they would be safe within the pocket dimension. Unfortunately, someone would have to stay outside to protect the rest while they cultivated. A mistake, and they could all end up in the hands of a powerful cultivator.

    There was a third option, which after a bit of deliberation, had been discarded. And that option was to allow Daniel's spatial essence teacher to keep the ring while they stayed inside to cultivate. The reason why this option had been discarded, was because Daniel still wasn't sure if he could trust the man or not. The two had an agreement, and were not that close.

    What the rest of the group didn't know, was that Daniel already had a clear idea on how to solve this problem. He simply hadn't found a way to justify it yet.

    It was during this dinner that he said "I know how to solve this." He looked at the rest of the group one at a time, and said "I have the highest mobility, I can call the middle aged man in case of emergency.. And I have the fastest speed in cultivation. I should stay outside and cultivate on my own."

    "That's not fair. You might end up being alone for days, maybe even weeks at a time.. Beast cores of the sixth rank take time to fully consume." Said Heimart with a disapproving tone.

    The reason why Daniel had decided this way was simple. The group feature of the karmic system.

    Within the group feature of the karmic system, there was a passive shared effect similar to his own 'Time is Precious'. The effect was the same, and the only differences were the magnitude of the effect, and the fact that it included the entire group.

    The only rule that needed to be respected in order for this effect to take place, was that the group members needed to be either in the group's ground, or in the presence of the group leader. Therefore, if Daniel decided to enter the ring along with most of the others, he would take away the chance to cultivate with an increased progression from one of his friends.

    "I'll be fine. I'll keep training with the middle aged man in spatial essence and I won't be alone. Plus, I can enter the ring whenever I want." Lied Daniel before looking at the ring and saying. "Speaking of which, before I forget.." He then put his hand over Heimart's opened palm, and disappeared. Leaving the ring to fall in Heimart's hand.

    Daniel reappeared inside the castle. Specifically, he was within the mess hall, where Roley, Imblen, and the two kids were currently having dinner.

    "Hey Dan!" Said Roley with a happy tone.

    For the past couple of weeks, he had enjoyed comprehending the water essence thanks to the water sphere Daniel had given to him.

    "Hi.. Look, before we all start cultivating, I was thinking about installing the water sphere in this dimension's space. You would still be able to use it, I'll make sure to install it in a visible place.. But it has to stay inside pocket dimension." Said Daniel without beating around the bush.

    Roley immediately took the water sphere out of his ring, and threw it at Daniel. With a big smile he said "I think it's a great idea."

    Daniel immediately teleported outside of the castle. He was now about a thousand meters away from it, in the opposite direction where the earth elementals resided. He then locked the water sphere on the space floor.

    In a matter of seconds, water started to propagate and fill the entire space.

    Daniel could finally feel the moisture in the air, which now felt almost identical to that of the outside world. The only places where the water did not reach, were the earth sanctuary that now had become a large rocky island, and the castle, which still possessed a shield of wind essence embedded in the formation.

    After installing the water sphere, Daniel decided to proceed with the purchase of the group version of 'Time is Precious'. After the window of the shared karmic effects opened in his head, he purchased it at the cost of 500,000 karma points.

    Then, he opened the group windows.

    ____________________________

    Group of the Karmic System's Wielder.

    Name: Group of the Karmic System's Wielder (Provisory)

    Number of members (Details): 6

    Overall Karma: 254

    Karmic effects:

    Time is Precious Lv.1 (Group)

    ____________________________

    Shared Karmic effects (Details)

    Reputation (Details)

    ____________________________

    Daniel was enthusiast about this group's feature. Thanks to the group version of 'Time is Precious, he would be able to increase his friend's very talent in comprehension and learning. It was like they had a very weakened version of the system themselves.

    Luckily, the effects were still small, and would hardly be noticeable by the rest of the group. At best, they would be happy about their oddly fast speed in cultivation, and blame it on their motivation.

    Of course, this also came with strings attached. If Daniel ever decided to go all out with this group upgrade feature, sooner or later he would have to find a reasonable explanation for the changes.

    A few ideas had come to mind, and the best ones were two. The first one was to comprehend time essence, and claim to be able to fasten the speed of cultivation while at the same time slow down their aging. The second excuse was to learn alchemy, and claim to have invented a pill capable of increasing a person's affinity between ki and beast essence.

    Naturally, these ideas were still at their embryo stages. It was still premature to think about this, as the cost for the next level of 'Time is Precious (Group)' was of a full million karma points. So, he didn't expect to feel the need to explain himself anytime soon.

    Daniel teleported back next to Roley, and after telling him the position of the water sphere, he left the ring once again, re appearing back on his seat at the restaurant.

    The group enjoyed their dinner for a couple of hours, until finally, the rest of the group accepted Daniel's proposition to leave him in charge of protecting the pocket dimension.

    The next day, they bid Daniel farewell, and entered the ring to cultivate.

    Now alone, Daniel teleported multiple times in Drester's space, and once outside of the city, he opened a rift in the ground, then jumped into it, closing it back behind him.

    -----

    Ten months later.

    Twenty thousand kilometers away from the borders of Karalis, was a city called Golden city.

    This city was a city-state, and did not belong to any kingdom or empire. Most inhabitants were unranked humans, and their main job was tending to the fields.

    What these unranked humans cultivated, wasn't food, or at least not all of it. What these unranked humans cultivated, were alchemical plants and herbs.

    The large fields surrounded the golden city completely, only leaving small strips of space in between them for the clean and well defined roads. These roads were filled with carriages that went in both directions.

    The golden city wasn't too large, and yet, it was very luxurious and lively.

    This city's name didn't come from the fact that it was made out of gold. The reason for its name, was that it belonged to the alchemical association called Golden Cauldron.

    Inside the Golden Caldron's headquarters building, were a few different offices, and inside one of these offices, two teenage girls sat quietly in front of a desk.

    Behind this desk, an old looking man sat. His expression was devoid of good emotions, as he looked at the two girls in front of him.

    If Daniel were here, he would have recognized all three of these people. The two girls were Reila and Mea, while the old man was the Silver Alchemist, his teacher of spiritual cultivation.

    ".. I've told you, I don't know where he is.. He might have ended up in a radius of hundreds of thousand kilometers.. He could be anywhere." Said the old alchemist.

    While secretly clawing at the armrests of her chair, Reila said with a near desperate tone "But you've sent him somewhere.. It was your artifact.. How could you not know where it takes??"

    "The artifact wasn't mine.. It belonged to my family for generations, and it had been found by one of my predecessors. I didn't know where it took him. If I had a choice, or a different spatial artifact, I would have used that.. But that was all I had." Said the old alchemist, seemingly for the tenth time.

    He then looked at the depressed expressions of the two girl, and with a reassuring tone he said "Look, I've never seen someone as talented as your brother. Unless he is stupid enough to go and provoke powerful people left and right, he'll find his way back home. You two should focus on your own cultivation."

    "My brother was always all I had. He took care of me when we were at our lowest.. If he won't be back soon, I'll go looking for him instead." Said Reila with a determined tone.

    "It is certain that he is alive.. So wait here, and keep cultivating. You won't help your brother by getting yourself killed out in the world. You may be talented, but you are only a third rank spiritual cultivator." Responded the old man, almost as if rehearsing the lines he had to repeat over and over again in the past year. He then said "Go now.. Your lessons are about to start."

    The two girls stood up, and after a slight bow, they left the room together.

    Reila couldn't help but be swallowed once again by the feeling of helplessness she had felt for almost a year.

    Mea looked at her, and after giving her a comforting hug, she said "You know your brother better than anyone else.. Nothing will stop him from seeing you again."

    The two then walked towards their class.

    In the past eight months, Reila and Mea had cultivated thanks to the support of the Silver Alchemist. Reila had reached the late third rank of spiritual cultivation, while Mea had cultivated to the early fourth rank of martial cultivation.

    Before sending them to the Golden City, Master Kye had made sure to pass on to Mea a large number of martial arts. Included those which belonged to the Rulin house.

    The two spent their days cultivating and practicing spiritual and martial arts. In secret, they also made long term plans on how to go look for Daniel. The only thing they lacked, was a general direction.

    -----

    Krehan empire, Drester. 23:10

    Twelve kilometers east from Drester, was a rocky patch of land. It was covered in blades of grass and moss, and it looked like nobody had come here for a long time.

    Suddenly, the ground started to tremble. The tremble soon turned into an earthquake, and in just a few moments, the rocky ground split into two.

    From between these two large rocky walls, a young man flew out in silence. His ki was vibrant, and from the outside, it appeared to be at the peak of the fifth stage of cultivation. But the truth was different.
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