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89 The Gathering of Experts Part 2

    "This loyal servant's name is Midio. I am a disciple of the Mistress of Ice, and part of her sect, the 'Crystal Clear Sect'. Twenty-one years of age. Faint spiritual merging stage." Said the young man with humbleness. He then turned to look at the rest of the disciples, and said "I claim the title of Expert of Water for my master. Anyone who disagrees, is welcome to challenge me during the competition event."

    There was a clear and direct meaning in the young man's words which escaped Daniel's understanding.

    During a gathering of experts, there would be various titles that would grant a master the right of joining the discussion during the gathering stage.

    In order to avoid confusion, the organizers of the first gathering of experts had decided that, every disciple would be able to claim a title for their master. If one disciple managed to defeat each and every other disciples that wanted to claim that same title, the title would belong to his master.

    By claiming the title of Expert of Water, the young man had claimed his master's superiority over any other spiritual cultivator that practiced water essence.

    Other disciples that claimed the same title would end up fighting during the competition stage. Winning meant one's master's superiority in teaching and knowledge, and that only he or she amongst all others had the right to talk.

    After he claimed the the title of Expert of Water, the young man in blue robes called Midio went down the stage.

    The moment his feet left the stage's floor, another person immediately went up the stage. This time, it was a younger man. This young man was clad in shiny platinum armor with no helmet. In his hand he was holding a heavy double-headed axe.

    "This loyal servant's name is Riher, from the 'Pantheon of War Gods'. My master is The Axe Wielder, and one of the school's elders. I was born nineteen years ago in the great Krehan empire, and I stand here before you at the peak of the Nigh Inhuman stage, to claim the title of Guardian of the Axe for my master." He said before going down the stage.

    "..eighteen.. Otzia.. Melting Point Sect.. Guardian of Fire.."

    "..Azaos..  Architects of Space.. the title of Ruler of Space.. Peak sixth rank.."

    "..Dione.. Archers of Doom.. Guardian of Bow and Arrow."

    "..Ineas, for the Time Weavers.. Perfection of the spiritual synchronization stage.. Ruler of Time."

    One after another, the disciples within the square went up on the stage and presented themselves to the imperial family. Amongst them, was someone that Daniel had recognized.

    The young lady of the Saullet family, Alesia.

    "This loyal servant's name is Alesia. Daughter of the Mirror Shifter and the Scarlet Blade, of the Saullet family. I am a native of the Krehan empire, and after sixteen years of age, I have reached the mid Surrounding Awareness stage. For my mother and master, I claim the title of the Ruler of the Sword." She said after a deep and polite bow directed at the imperial family. She then stepped down the stage like everyone else before her.

    From the different types of titles, Daniel had more or less guessed that there were two types of titles. One was 'Guardian', while the other was 'Ruler'.

    Only extremely difficult essences like time and space deserved the title of Rule, along with the most versatile weapons like the sword and the spear.

    The rest, were considered more common and inferior weapons. Hence the titles Guardian of Fire, or Guardian of the Axe.

    After more than an hour, Daniel had been the only one left in the square.

    People amongst the crowd were already thinking that Daniel was simply the weakest, and that he had no way of reaching the stage before the other disciples could.

    "..poor kid, the others probably scared him out of his wits.."

    "Must be his first time."

    It is worth mentioning that the order of presentation did not affect a disciple's evaluation. What it affected was a disciple's morale. By going first, one was able to claim a title first, and make use of the moment of attention to intimidate his opponents.

    Of course, Daniel wasn't aware of this, nor did he care.

    When he noticed that he was the only person left in the square, he teleported on the stage, shutting everyone's mouth.

    He bowed very slightly towards the imperial family, clearly differently than the rest of the cultivators. Then, he said "Dan, fifteen years old. I claim the title of Ruler of Space for the Mirror Shifter." He then tried to teleport out of the stage, but before he could manage to, the space around him was blocked.

    One of the masters within the balconies said "It is custom that disciples bow to the imperial family before leaving the stage." His voice deep and menacing.

    Daniel turned to look at the master, and said "I am not a native of the Krehan empire. I have respect for the imperial family, but I have other rulers to bow down to before them."

    "How dare you!.." Said the man in the balconies before waving his hand. But just as he waved his hand, Daniel felt the space around him being unlocked. Then, another voice resounded in his ears.

    "It was never a problem for participants of other nations to only recognize the imperial family and not bow to them. Do I take it that this time it's different because he will have to fight your own disciple for the title?" Asked Edmund from the balconies opposite to the one where the other man was staying.

    "Of course not. I just got irritated by his tone. Proceed with the ceremony" Said the man who had attempted to attack Daniel.

    Edmund's protection made Daniel reconsider his character. Of course, he might have done this only out of rivalry with another master of space essence, but he had also supported someone who had seemingly behaved in a rude manner towards the imperial family. And that was a big risk in Daniel's book.

    Suddenly, the three oldest children of the imperial family stood up and jumped on the square. Then, in order by seniority, they went up the stage and presented themselves.

    "Krissa, first princess of the Krehan empire. I claim the title of Ruler of Space for my master, the Master of Invisible Walls." Said the twenty years old young woman.

    After she left the stage, the second oldest one amongst the siblings present jumped over the stage and said "Krim, third prince of the Krehan empire. I claim the title of Ruler of the Spear for my master, The Phantom Piercer."

    The third and last to go up the stage, was the oldest and most carefree amongst them. "My name is Kreom, and I am the second prince of the Krehan Empire. I claim the title of Ruler of Sound for my master and mother, The Empress."

    After the quick introduction, the three left the stage and went back to sit on their chairs above the floating pedestal.

    The stage disappeared from the center of the square, and a man appeared in its place.

    This man was completely covered by a black coat, so none of his features could be seen. He said in a loud and powerful voice. "The Presentation stage of the gathering has terminated. The Demonstration stage will take place two days from now."

    After the announcement, the platform on which the imperial family was sitting on disappeared. Only then did the powerful cultivators dare to recover their disciples, and leave the square.

    -----

    "You probably should have been a little more polite." Said Emelnie while looking at Daniel.

    Edmund interjected in the conversation and said to his wife "It's alright. The emperor said nothing, and now he has been noticed." He then turned to look at Daniel and said "You have two days before the demonstration. Are you ready?"

    "It wouldn't hurt to know what am I supposed to demonstrated" Responded Daniel with an irritated tone. Edmund had forgotten to explain many things to him about the whole event.

    "Just demonstrate your comprehension of essence.. That will be enough." He Responded in a casual manner.

    "Speaking of essence. What else do you have to teach me about Spatial essence?" Asked Daniel with hints of curiosity and expectation.

    Edmund entered a pensive state for a few moments, then looked back at him and said two words "Fictitious space."

    Daniel couldn't help but smile before saying "Can I make a request?.."

    "Go on." Responded Edmund plainly.

    Daniel's smile widened as he said "I would like to borrow the time sphere you own that speeds time the most."

    -----

    Daniel's surroundings looked normal, and had he not know that he was currently within fictitious space, he would have fallen for this illusion.

    He was currently standing in the square where he had presented himself, with nothing else but a grey sphere which emanated a faint feeling of antiquity. Nobody else was around, only him.

    Without thinking it over for too long, Daniel installed the time sphere within the pocket dimension that contained the fictitious space. He could not feel the change directly, so he sat right next to the sphere, and activated 'Time is Precious'.

    It didn't take long for Daniel to notice something that confirmed his guesses. The time sphere could hasten his speed his progress just like the karmic system could. He then thought that the most plausible reason why nobody had managed to use time essence to hasten comprehension, must have had something to do with the mind.

    The only guess that Daniel was able to make, was that there was an unknown type of essence that regarded the mind, which he unknowingly happened to understand thanks to the karmic system.

    If Daniel was right, that would mean that the karmic system acted over the wielder's mind, time and life.

    What was even better than the discovery of being able to cultivate with time essence, was that time essence and the karmic system's effect could add up to each other.

    After a minute of attempts, he found our that despite the order he activated the effects, their added effect would always be the same.

    Daniel's current level of 'Time is Precious' granted him roughly five hundred times the speed of cultivation a normal person had, in exchange of karma points, while the time sphere multiplied the speed of progression by three times.

    This meant that, thanks to both time sphere and karmic system, he would be able to achieve what one took three years to do in one day.

    And cream on top, the karmic system only counted its own increase in progression when consuming the point. No matter if the time sphere was activated or not, he would only spend the normal amount of points he would normally spend with 'Time is Precious' activated.

    Daniel decided to waste no more time, and immediately started to comprehend not only the fictitious space, but also the acceleration of time contained within the time sphere.

    Twelve hours later.

    After only twelve hours of looking at the time flow at a faster pace, and feeling the difference between fictitious space and real space with his spiritual essence, Daniel had finally managed to understand these two very different portions of essence.

    He was now looking at the time sphere. In pain at the sheer thought that he would have to give it back to Edmund when they would part ways.

    Of course, now he could speed time by threefolds by himself, but he wouldn't be able to create a time sphere without a time treasure.

    Unfortunately, Daniel hadn't even heard of a time treasure being sold, not to talk about its price.

    The gathering of experts was composed of five events distributed in the span of eight days. So, he decided to make full use of these eight days and learn as much as he could from Edmund.

    A sudden flash of determination made its appearance on Daniel's face, and the very next moment, two rank 7 beast cores appeared in his hands.
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