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86 The First of Many Old Grudges

    "Will lady Emelnie attempt to enter the gathering of experts as well?" Asked Daniel with a polite tone.

    Lady Emelnie smiled at Daniel and responded "Yes. My daughter will act as my champion, and will compete to allow me to join the gathering. She is already in the capital, preparing for the event."

    Daniel had a good impression of Alesia, the miss of the Saullet family. She was direct and yet not too serious. She could laugh at a joke and fire back right away. Unfortunately, their interaction had been interrupted by the young man in green martial attire.

    The two talked for a few minutes before lady Emelnie stood up, and said "You should go and prepare now, Even with my husband's powers, it takes a week to get to the capital." She then gave him another 'Ki Flag' with her husband's ki trapped within.

    Daniel got up as well, and after bowing politely to the woman, he took the ki flag and disappeared in thin air.

    When he reappeared, he was standing in the middle of Drester.

    Daniel's karma count, for the first time since he had obtained the Karmic System, was at a neutral zero. He had cultivated until the very moment he had finished his karma points, and now, he needed to, once again accumulate them in the most tiring way possible.

    Suddenly, one after another, his group members started to exit the pocket dimension and appear next to him.

    "Finally.. Fresh air." Said Ligart with an enthusiastic tone.

    Imblen and Roley were those who had stayed within the castle the longest, so they were especially happy about being out in the open.

    Roley, which was the only one who hadn't seen Daniel yet, approached Daniel and said "It's good to see you." He then gave him a friendly hug.

    "It's good to see you too Roley.. I've checked you out when you were training.. Your progress are impressive." Said Daniel in a friendly manner.

    "I can't complain.. I was so focused that I think that I've reached my highest speed in cultivation ever during these past ten months." Responded Roley while embarrassingly brushing his hair.

    Just like Daniel had thought, the group had noticed their increased speed in progression. But since their increased speed wasn't too different from their normal speed, they had explained it as an odd state of focus reached thanks to their focus in cultivation.

    "I remember something about this in the formation project.. Something about the castle being able to help in reaching a deep state of concentration." Said Daniel with a vague tone. Trying to hint that the change they felt might have been thanks to an unknown effect installed along with the castle's formation.

    "So.. what are we going to do now?" Asked Heimart curiously.

    Daniel had an odd look on his face. He wanted to start a mission of the *Everything Counts* chain, but it would seem odd to roam around Drester while helping people in such a large group.

    So, he looked at the group and said "We only have a few days before we'll have to depart to the capital. Why don't we split and meet back here in five days?"

    Surprisingly, none of them objected.

    After a few words, Heimart walked towards a lively street filled with people, and left on his own.

    The next ones to leave were Roley and Imblen, which went in another direction while bringing the two kids along. After them, Ligart looked at Daniel and said "I'll go see if I can find you a wife Daniel.. You are almost sixteen now." He then left while giggling.

    After Ligart left, Alis waved her hand in salute and walked towards a direction that none of the other had taken. Daniel sensed with his spiritual essence that, after only twenty meters, she had entered an alley to the side of the road, and changed route. She was going towards Heimart's position.

    Jerigh bowed towards Daniel respectfully, and said "Five days." He then left as well.

    Daniel couldn't help but smile at the behaviour of his comrades. He then regained his composure, and started to think about helping others.

    In just a moment, a new window appeared in his head.

    *Primary Quest started: Everything Helps*

    -Description: Offer your help to people in need.

    Third objective set (Repeatable): Offer your help to 500 people within Drester.

    Reward: 20,000 Karma Points / Drester reputation +5% / Group reputation +0.0000007%.

    Time limit: 5 day

    With a clear objective in mind, Daniel started to sense his surrounding. The very moment he found someone that appeared to be in need of help, he teleported away.

    From simple things like giving money to a wanderer or helping someone move heavy items, to more serious things like preventing a raping attempt or stopping an assault. Daniel didn't miss any of them.

    After four long days, the much awaited mission update appeared in his mind.

    ____________________________

    *Everything Helps*

    Third objective completed (1/20)

    Reward: 20,000 Karma Points / Drester reputation +5% / Group reputation +0.0000007%.

    ____________________________

    With an exhausted expression, Daniel finally sat on a bench to rest.

    The events of the past four days had caused Daniel's view of human nature had change drastically once again.

    He had seen many odd things, like people with positive karma that tried to rob people with bad karma, a girl with a very high amount of positive karma that kept her boyfriend chained in her house and tortured him for fun, and even an old man with relatively high bad karma that walked around distributing food to orphan kids.

    For the first time, Daniel started to think that his Karmic System might be more detrimental to his perception of good and bad than it would be useful.

    He relied too much on the its ability to read people's karma, and that had to stop. After a few minutes of thinking, Daniel came to the decision of checking a person's karma only after forming his own opinion on them.

    His ability to read karma would then become one of the details that contributed to his opinion, instead of being the whole base on which his opinion of a person's character formed.

    Thanks to this way of thinking, Daniel had come to appreciate Ligart's natural talent of distinguishing between good and bad people even more.

    With only a day missing before the appointed time, Daniel decided to stroll around the city and relax. But before he could even leave the square, he felt his ki being erased from one of his ki flags.

    In the blink of an eye, Daniel had disappeared from where he was standing, and had appeared in mid air right above a busy street.

    In this busy street, Ligart was lying on the ground while covered in bruises while surrounded by a group of cultivators. Most of these cultivators were at the peak of the fifth rank, while the remaining ten, were at various stages of the sixth rank of cultivation.

    Daniel recognized these people as part of a group which belonged to the mercenary horde. They hadn't learned the specific name of this group, but Daniel remembered that he had killed at least two of their members.

    The group was surrounding Ligart and looked like they were waiting for somebody else to arrive. Some of them presented light injuries, clearly caused by Ligart's attempt to fight back.

    Daniel quietly observed the situation from above a building's roof.

    Surely enough, a middle aged man dressed in a similar attire to the one the rest were wearing, approached the site at high speed. He then stopped at the edge of the group, which split in order to let him through.

    "He is not the one who killed your son, but one of the killer's group." Said one of the injured young men while looking hatefully at Ligart.

    Daniel was really surprised to see that the middle aged man was at the early seventh rank of martial cultivation.

    This man looked at Ligart and said "You.. you are coming with me. After spending a few days together, you'll tell me everything about where to find the rest of your group of vermins.." His tone was vicious and filled with repressed killing intent.

    The man approached the injured Ligart, and just as he was about to knock him out, a voice that  came from up in the sky stopped him.

    "Okay, that's enough.." Said Daniel while walking down an invisible flight of stairs.

    "IT'S HIM!" Shouted the injured young man. "That's the one who killed your son! I've seen it with my own eyes!"

    After hearing the young man's words, the man immediately unsheathed his sword and pounced at Daniel. The whole action took an instant to play, but when the man expected to feel the edge of his sword pierce through Daniel's flesh, he instead heard the familiar sound of the edge of his sword split the air in two.

    A light blue ki attack kept going in the air after the slashing motion, cutting straight through the building behind Daniel, and coming out from the other side.

    After a moment of surprise, the man turned around in order to find Daniel. Which was currently sitting next to Ligart, with one of his hands pressed against the latter's shoulder.

    Clear and milky white essence could be clearly seen seeping into Ligart's skin and slowly closing his wounds.

    "You are too impulsive for your age.. Let's talk." Said Daniel with a neutral voice.

    The man showed a face filled with a rage deeper than ever. He then said with a vicious voice "YOU! You have killed my boy.. There is nothing you can say to apologize for what you've done!.. I must have your head before the sun sets, or I will never be able to feel like a man again!" His eyes were getting watery from how deep his rage towards Daniel, and his sadness towards the loss of his son were.

    "All those whom I've killed had already initiated an attack that, had I not avoided, would have killed me instead. I never meant to apologize.." Responded Daniel in a matter-of-fact tone. He then said "I am not responsible for the loss I've caused by killing someone who tried to kill me.. But by solving this matter with words, I might prevent the rest of your family from feeling that kind of loss once again."

    Daniel words were true. During the battle in the rocky forest he hadn't killed anyone who didn't attempt to take his life, or one of his friend's lives. The reason was simple.. He did not like to kill.

    The man seemed to have calmed down on the outside, but those who knew him, knew that he was only focusing on the battle. He looked at Daniel and barked "Enough talking."

    He then pounced at Daniel with such a speed, that it looked like he had teleported.

    His sword was high up in the air, and just as he was about to slash downwards, a dozen of small rocky spikes burst out from the ground and attempted to pierce his body.

    A shield suddenly appeared on his left arm, which he used to defend himself from Daniel's attack.

    The shield was a high level weapon, and was made with very tough materials, but they could do nothing against Daniel's comprehension of earth essence.

    The tips of the spikes suddenly turned into diamonds, which easily perforated the shield.

    About to be impaled, the man stepped over the internal part of the shield, and jumped high up in the air.

    Just as he was about to land on the ground and attempt another attack, an enormous rocky hand burst out from underground, and caught the man in the air.

    The man immediately tried to struggle, and at first he managed to free his arms by overpowering Daniel's spiritual essence.

    When it seemed like the man was about to free himself, he felt the rock that was keeping him in place turn into sand. After only a seconds, the sand had become so fine that it could be mistaken for dust.

    It was at this moment that the man started to feel the moisture increase inside it.

    Slowly, water filtered into the sand bit by bit. This went on until the dusty clump of fine sand became saturated with water and turned into a floating clump of quicksand.

    Without a solid surface on which he could make lever on, the man pointlessly tried to swim out of the quicksand. "YOU BASTARD! LET ME OUT OF HERE!" Shouted the man furiously.

    Daniel wanted to finish this quickly, so he changed the air composition around the man's head into one devoid of oxygen, and making him faint after a bit more than five minutes.

    Once out cold, Daniel dropped him on the ground, and teleported away with Ligart.
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