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97 The Gathering of Experts Part 10

    After Daniel finished creating a spatial sphere that contained the full concept of portals, Edmund entered one of his empty pocket dimensions, and immediately installed the newly created sphere inside it. He then started to study it.

    Comprehension of essence couldn't be sped up by time essence, as it was something that regarded the mind, which had a similar limitations to the ones life essence had. That meant that it could take months or maybe even a year to fully comprehend a new concept for someone like Edmund.

    The only people whose time needed to: comprehend essences, reaching mastery in weapon wielding, or learn a martial or spiritual art could be reduced, were Daniel, and the members of his group.

    Strangely enough, the system's effect did not have the limitation that time essence had. And yet, time essence would include the effects of the karmic system, as if the system's effects were not applied, but in fact always present.

    How things were right now, this meant that if Daniel used his maximum speed of cultivation granted by the system, along with the time sphere he owned, his speed of cultivation would be one thousand and five hundred times faster than the speed of a norman untalented person.

    In exchange, he only needed to pay the same amount of karma he would spend when cultivating with 'Time is Precious' activated, and no time essence.

    On the other hand, the fastest speed that the members of his group could achieve in cultivation while under the effect of the karmic system and the time sphere, was three point fifteen times their normal speed.

    Their various levels of talent were, of course, different from Daniel's. For example, Jerigh's prodigious talent in cultivation was, by itself, dozens of times faster than Daniel's innate one.

    The rest of the group was not an exception. They were all extremely talented, and if not for Daniel's Karmic System, he would not be able to keep up with them.

    Emelnie took the pocket dimension her husband had just created, and went towards her study room to prepare a few questions for him to ask during the gathering.

    In the living room, only Daniel and a depressed looking Alesia were left.

    "What's bothering you?" Asked Daniel to her.

    She looked back at him, and with her head lowered, she said "This was my first gathering of experts.. I really wanted to win for my mother."

    "Time, resources, opportunity, and effort." Said Daniel with a firm tone.

    Alesia looked back at him in confusion, and asked "What do you mean?"

    "You are younger, she had much more resources than you, and many more opportunities to train her swordsmanship to a higher level. Her mastery of the sword was nearing the ninety-five percent, and yet, despite her talent and preparation, you were still able to be the unexpected obstacle that threw our out of the competition." Explained Daniel with a matter-of-fact tone. He then continued "Next time you'll fight her, you'll win for a simple reason."

    "What reason?.. And how do you know so much about her mastery of the sword?" She asked back in a low voice.

    A faint smile appeared on Daniel's face as he ignored the second question, and responded by saying "Because now that you've lost, you'll put twice the effort." after making sure his words hat hit where they needed to hit, he continued. "Come on, let's go eat something.. If I don't show up every day or so, Lig starts to nag at me."

    -----

    Back in the throne room, the emperor was sitting on his throne, and in front of him, was one of his imperial advisors.

    "We've researched Daniel's origins. He is part of the legion, and in the registration form he wrote that he came from a kingdom called Karalis." Said the imperial advisor to the emperor with a polite tone.

    The emperor turned back at him and asked "Where is that?"

    "The Nestreia continent." Responded the imperial advisor immediately.

    "Nestreia?" The emperor's eyebrows arched in surprise "When?"

    The imperial advisor started to scroll through a few sheets of paper, and when he found the right one, he said "Just a bit longer than a year ago. He appeared out of the blue in Cerulis, a port city outside our borders. He then took a ship that took him to the Clear and Dark Island, where he participated in the Lost Inheritance Tournament. After the tournament ended abruptly, he went towards Jeah, and there, he, along with a few others, assisted the city lord and his army in defending the city from a raid of asum warriors. They reached Drester not much later. There, the young man met Edmund Saullet."

    "Nothing before Cerulis?" Asked the emperor curiously.

    "Nothing.. But.. Your Imperial Highness.. There is something that doesn't match with the story. From the reports we have obtained from a few participants of the tournament, Dan was a spiritual cultivator adept at the use of wind and water essence.. While multiple reports we've received from the city of Jeah claim that Dan was an incredibly talented.." The imperial advisor paused slightly before finally saying "swordsman.."

    "That's ridiculous." Immediately responded the emperor. He was about to dismiss the imperial advisor, but as he lifted his hand, a thought came to his mind. His eyes moved back on the middle aged man and said "Bring me the letters sent by my son, the Crown Prince. All those that arrived in the past half year."

    The imperial advisor immediately bowed, and left from a corridor to the side of the throne room. He came back after a few minutes with a pile of letters, which he quickly handed over to the emperor.

    The emperor started to check the letters from the oldest to the latest, and finally, when he saw the content of a letter that had arrived just three months earlier, he stopped. This letter said:

    ____________________________

    "Dear Father

    I write to tell you that my travel is going well, and that our campaign is successful.

    The general is teaching me a lot on how to command the troops, and how to be respected.

    The places we have seen are beautiful and interesting, my mother and my younger siblings would love to visit them. I have also heard many interesting rumors.. Like rumors that claims that there is a territory where beasts of legends thrive, or a rumor about a young man that after learning how to become a dual cultivator.. disappear less than a year ago.

    I hope that my words find you in good health, and that I will see you soon.

    Take care, your son Kirt."

    ____________________________

    The emperor looked at his advisor, and asked "How many people saw him perform as a martial cultivators?"

    Ignorant to the content of the letter, the imperial advisor looked back at his emperor and said "Seventy-nine city guards, eleven captains, and the City Lord himself."

    The emperor handed the letter over to his advisor, which after a quick read, looked at the emperor in shock before asking "Your Imperial Majesty, you are not thinking that he may be the young man mentioned by the Crown Prince?"

    "It's far-fetched.. But it's simple to verify. One needs the physique of a martial cultivator to be a martial cultivator. If we touch him during the premiation, we will be able to confirm it." Responded the emperor in a calm tone.

    The news of the appearance of a dual cultivator had reached the Krehan empire after nine months.

    The reason why the news had reached them so fast, was because the letters and reports to the krehan empire, were sent through a formation installed directly into the imperial castle.

    Spatial cultivators, which were always present during military campaigns thanks to their high mobility, were able to utilize this one-way formation to teleport small objects directly into the imperial castle.

    The size of what they could teleport depended on the distance. In order to teleport a full grown man, they had to be no further than twenty thousand kilometers.

    Further than that, and some 'parts' might be lost in the middle.

    That meant that the entire military of the empire, whose total number was in the hundreds of millions, would theoretically be able to enter into an enormous pocket dimension, and teleport back into the castle from anywhere within the radius of twenty thousand kilometers.

    Unfortunately, due to side effects caused by a teleportation from longer distance, this method had been mostly used to send reports instead of being used for military transportation.

    Of course, the empire had learned about this limitation in the worst possible way.

    When the spatial cultivator that thousands of years ago had found the instructions to replicate this formation, he had mistranslated the distances.. Reading two hundred thousand instead of twenty thousand.

    When two thousand years ago the Krehan empire had found itself at war with a neighbouring empire, and the enemy army was approaching the capital, many fractions of the military had been forced to teleport back to the imperial castle.

    One amongst these factions, happened to be forty thousand kilometers from the capital. Ignorant of the dangers, the men entered the ring, and let the master of space amongst them to teleport them back.

    What arrived in the castle, was half of the body of the spiritual cultivator, and the ashes of what was once the ring which contained the pocket dimension.

    This event had forced the empire to reexamine the instructions of the formation. Only then did they find the mistake, and found out about the formation limitations.

    It was thanks to this formation that the news had reached all the way to the Krehan empire. If they waited for the news to spread by voice, considering how far Nestreia was, it would have taken a century or longer.

    -----

    The next two days passed peacefully.

    Daniel had installed the time sphere into his pocket dimension, and had created a flow of time inside a two kilometer radius from the castle.

    Alesia had spent the past two days with the rest of the group, which was already accustomed to her presence. Daniel had even allowed her to visit the martial library, and to train within the weapon wielding testing room.

    On the second day, she had challenged Jerigh into a sparring match, which ended with her being defeated in only two moves.

    Her shock was so deep that she couldn't help but think of what would have happened if Jerigh joined the competition of the Ruler of the Sword in her place.

    Unfortunately, there was no going back now.

    When the day of the Evaluation and premiation arrived, Daniel and Alesia left the pocket dimension and teleported back into the Saullet mansion.

    There, they found the Saullet couple waiting for them.

    "Where were you?" Asked Emelnie to Alesia in a slightly worried tone.

    Alesia looked back at her mother, and with a bright smile she said "I was hanging out in Daniel's castle. Lots of good people there."

    "Alright.. Are you two ready to go? The evaluation will start in an hour." Said Edmund with a voice filled with an irritation that not even he knew the reason for.

    After both of them nodded, Edmund teleported the four of them into the city square.

    The setting of the square was slightly different. There was a podium in the exact point where previously was the stage, and the black-cloaked man was waiting right in front of it.

    Around the stage, all the disciples that had participated in the competition stage were currently waiting just outside the edge of the square.

    Closer to the edge, were those who had claimed a title, and had fought for it. They had the right to be evaluated first. The rest stood in the back, and would be evaluated only for their presentation and demonstration.

    At the end of the day, the presence of the latter kind of disciple was only to make number.

    After another hour passed, and every master had arrived along with their disciple, the black-cloaked man said with his usual clear voice: "The Evaluation stage will begin now. Contenders of the title of Guardian of the Axe. You may step forward to receive your evaluation."
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