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112 Traces of a Predecessor

    "There is something I don't like about this place.." Said Sewah inside Daniel's mind with an uncertain tone.

    Daniel stopped his cultivation, and asked "What do you mean?"

    "I don't know.. It feels like.. It feels like the members of your own group. It's difficult to explain.." Responded Sewah in a confused state. His words didn't make much sense to Daniel.

    After expressing his doubts, Daniel went back into focusing in his cultivation.

    He entered a state of complete relaxation, and then, started to absorb the beast essence within the beast cores, and the various types of mana in the surroundings.

    In less than five minutes, he had already lost consciousness.. And just like he had predicted, a vortex had started to form around him.

    This vortex was extremely different from the one that had appeared in Phyrri. It's difference to the previous one was not in effect, but in power.

    At first, every bit of essence in the space immediately around Daniel, had disappeared within the mass of the vortex.

    This vortex kept growing until it reached a size large enough to cover the entire dead valley, then, it finally stopped.

    The cultivators that were protecting Daniel from above the peak of the mountains, were immediately alerted. Their spiritual essence and ki were being pulled out of their bodies, and the more time passed, the more powerful the pulling force became.

    At some point, they had to retreat past the mountain range-like barrier, as they were afraid that the vortex would empty their bodies of not only spiritual essence and ki, but also of life essence.

    When they were out of the pulling force range, they started to carefully observe the dead valley past the mountain range, which was now covered in pure darkness. It looked as if there was a black hole hidden inside the ring of mountains.

    The shock was evident on their faces. They couldn't understand how a young man could create such a powerful event by simply increasing his cultivation to the third rank. What they did not know, was that this wasn't a consequence of him breaking through to the seventh rank, but of charging through in both paths of cultivation at the same time.

    Whenever he lost consciousness during a breakthrough, his ki and spiritual essence would become more compatible, and now, they were merging. This process required an immense amount of mana to be completed.. Much more than two beast cores at the seventh rank could ever provide.

    It was like assuming that a thirsty giant could be satiated with a teaspoon of water. If a barrel of water was given to him, he would gulp it down all at once.

    An hour had passed, and yet the vortex was still doing strong. The space around it was starting to crack, as if spatial essence itself was being absorbed. Not even a sound could heard..

    The essence in the surroundings was in turmoil, and in front of everyone's eyes, the mountains started to shake.

    Cracks appeared on the various peaks, from which smoke and vapor was ejected constantly.

    It was at this moment, that the observers understood that this wasn't a mountain range, but a dead valley surrounded in sleeping volcanoes.

    Suddenly..

    *BOOOOOOM* *BOOOOOOM* *BOOOOOOM* *BOOOOOOM*

    One after the other, the tops of the mountains exploded. The large clouds of smoke, cinder and melted rock, were thrown up to twenty thousand meters in the air, but instead of propagating in the area, they moved towards Daniel due to the pulling force of the vortex.

    Edmund, which was observing from far away, was starting to get worried. He did not know what would happen to Daniel, as he wasn't present the first time the vortex had appeared. Unfortunately, all he could do was to observe and wait for things to be over.

    The spectacle was terrifying. Glowing lava, and immense clouds of smoke and dust kept being sent high up in the air, and falling back down in the middle of the dead valley.

    This situation kept going for a full day, after which the vortex caused by Daniel had finally started to decrease in size and intensity, and finally, disappeared.

    When Daniel woke up from his state of unconsciousness, he was covered in soot.

    The many cultivators that were left to guard Daniel immediately approached him. Some of them were worried, while some of them were curious.

    Before they could even enter the ring of active volcanoes, they fell on the ground in pain, as they heard a shrill and devastating scream.

    This scream was earth shattering, and by itself, it had caused the volcanoes to erupt once again.

    In the middle of the dead valley, a portion of the ground had started to glow in heath, and bulge as if a bubble was forming on its surface.

    Suddenly, an enormous hand popped out of the previously solid ground, as if it was a fish jumping out of the water, sending molten rock flying everywhere.

    Daniel was standing only a few meters away from this figure, and even he couldn't help but fall on his knees and cover his ears in pain.

    Covered by the dust that had yet to settle, Daniel saw a large scaly hand with long yellow claws perforating the ground, and pulling something much larger out of the glowing pool of lava.

    The temperature in the surrounding was getting increasingly hotter, and despite the increase in power, Daniel felt his back cover in sweat, as a few big drops fell from the tips of his nose, and chin.

    Next to the first scaly hand, another one appeared. It slammed heavily on the ground right next to the other, causing the settled dust to fly back up in the air.

    Something that seemed like the head of an enormous horned snake came out of the pool. Its mouth was huge, and bright lava could be seen dripping from in between its large teeth like dozens of small waterfalls.

    After the creature shook its head, sending all the lava in his mouth to fly all over the place, an enormous pair of wings, which resembled that of a bat, appeared.

    The creature stretched his wings, then, he folded them up on the back of his gargantuan body as it slowly crawled out of the pool, which, unable to allow the passage of its massive body, was further destroyed.

    Once fully out, the creature stretched its muscles, its wings, and finally, opened its eyes.

    Daniel, which could only see the shape of this creature until now, finally saw two large yellow-colored spheres appear in mid air. The very next moment, he felt an incredibly powerful suction force coming from the direction of these two yellow-colored spheres.

    Thanks to his newly acquired powers, he was able to avoid getting pulled in the air.

    The dust and cinder that prevented Daniel from seeing clearly was rapidly breathed in by the creature, which after a few moments, appeared clearly in front of his eyes.

    "A dragon.." Muttered Daniel in stupor.

    The creature which was buried within the dead valley, right in the middle of a ring of volcanoes.. Was a dragon.

    When the surroundings cleared up completely, Daniel finally noticed what the Dragon was doing.. He was breathing in anything that was floating in the air.

    Once it finished inhaling, it suddenly looked up in the sky, and ejected an enormous amount of bright flames and lava.

    Each gas, particle of dust, and pebble breathed in by the dragon, had been either combusted or melted within the dragon's lungs, and then, spat back out.

    Drops of molten rock started to fall all over the dead valley like glowing rain. It was so dangerous, that Daniel was forced to create a shield of stone, which immediately melted upon contact with the lava.

    The temperature in the surrounding was, once again, rapidly increasing.

    The dragon was currently looking around. It almost seemed like it was in a place it didn't know.

    It was only when Daniel, out of necessity, had created a shield of spatial and dark essence that the dragon had finally taken notice of him.

    It stomped the ground with his massive hands, clawing at the soft earth and destroying it under its passage. Once in front of Daniel, it lowered his head until his mouth was just a few meters away from him.

    After the shield of space and darkness had done its job, and Daniel had decided to let it dissipate, what Daniel found in front of him left him scared beyond words.

    The huge mouth of the dragon had appeared in front of him, and its eyes were staring directly at his.

    "Now I know what was wrong with this place.." Sewah said timely from within Daniel's mind.

    "Where am I?" Asked the dragon with a voice powerful enough to leave Daniel shaking in place.

    Daniel had talked to more than one angry cultivator at the ninth rank, and yet, he had never felt as much pressure as with this dragon. He couldn't even understand what rank of cultivation this dragon was in.

    To be fair, Daniel wasn't even sure if dragons could be considered beasts. He had never read anything that wasn't folklore about Dragons, or seen more than a few prehistoric drawings of them.

    Daniel quietly observed the gargantuan dragon as if there was a chance that he could just incinerate him if he dared to open his mouth.

    "Oh.. right.. Sorry." Said the dragon with an apologetic voice, after noticing the terrified look on Daniel's face. Then, it started to rapidly shrink, and take a humanoid form. Once his body stopped changing, it had taken the shape of an extremely good looking young man.

    This young man was wearing a purple robe, and parts of the side of his face had black scales. His fingernails were long and sharp, his pupils yellow as the sun, and he had two small horns on his forehead. The rest of his body, was overall human-like.

    "Here we go.. So, where were we?" Said the dragon with a much calmer tone.

    Seeing that Daniel was showing no response, the dragon raised his hand and quickly snapped his fingers in front of his eyes.

    That action brought Daniel back from his shock. He was now looking at the dragon turned human with fear, and a bit of embarrassment.

    Before Daniel could talk, the dragon approached him, and after moving its head near his body, he started to sniff him out.

    "You smell familiar.." Murmured the dragon. After a few more sniffs, his bright yellow eyes opened in realization as he said "You smell a bit like my master.. That's odd..!"

    As he heard the last words uttered by the dragon, Daniel's face contorted in confusion. He couldn't help but say "What do you mean by that?"

    "That you smell a bit like him?.. Do you need me to turn back into my full form? So you can hear me better?" Responded the dragon sarcastically while smirking.

    Even in his human form, the small puff of air he breathed out when he smirked contained smoke in it, and was scorching hot.

    "He is the servants of one of the other users.." Said Sewah from within Daniel's mind, as if revealing the answer to all questions.

    "What do you mean??" Responded Daniel while trying to keep a straight face in front of the dragon.

    "I am not the only blessing my father has given around, remember?.. And all blessings are different. This dragon must have something to do with the system of another blessed one. That's why it felt so familiar.. He is no different from those who have entered your group.. But he also is."

    According to Sewah's explanation, this dragon was part of the blessing that had been granted to a different user, by Iewah, The Catering Tree.

    If that was true, it meant that Daniel, for the first time, had found a trace left behind by one of his predecessors.

    While looking at Daniel's distracted and confused face, the dragon noticed something odd. He then asked with curiosity "What is wrong with your immortal essence, why is it split?.."
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