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123 The Wasteland World - Plans

    "Can I at least see where I'm being kept?.. I know nothing of this world but what you've told me about it. I would like to see more of it." Said Daniel with a bored tone.

    "I'm afraid that won't be possible." Responded the middle aged woman without even thinkin about it.

    "Let him out.." Said the old man plainly.

    The woman turned to look at the old man in surprise, while saying "Father!"

    "The kid wasn't angry after you've told him that he'll probably become your focus of research.. He knew that you wouldn't let him go, way before he asked. It's also true that he knows nothing of this world.. And about how dangerous the monsters outside are.." Said the old man with a matter-of-fact tone.

    "Why let him out then?"

    The old man looked at Daniel, then added "Because even with his current power.. There are thousands of people in the tribe that can slap him unconscious.. Just let him out, I'll keep an eye on him."

    "Okay.. But I do hope it's not because of those fruits you can't stop talking about.."

    "It's not." Responded the old man plainly, before moving towards Daniel cage, and opening it.

    Daniel slowly walked out of the room and approached the old man, which in response, touched his arm.

    The old man's eyes opened widely in shock. He had never imagined that Daniel's progress in cultivation would be this fast. He looked towards his daughter and said "I stand corrected.. Hundreds of people.. It's better we don't feed him any more powerful monster's meat.." Then, after letting go of Daniel's arm, he turned towards the dark corridor and started walking.

    Daniel followed him right away.

    As the two were walking in the dark corridor, the old man looked at Daniel sideways and said "I was lying.. I do want a few more of those fruits.. hehe"

    -----

    At the end of what looked like a kilometer long dark corridor, Daniel started to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    After a few more minutes, they were finally out.

    What appeared in front of Daniel, was something that seemed to be a cave within the bellows of an empty mountain.

    The end of the tunnel lead on a ledge on the side of the wall of the cave. From over it, Daniel could see the extremely large underground city.

    The sound of talking, shouting, screaming could be heard coming from all around.

    Street vendors, artisans finishing their work right outside of their houses, and kids under ten years of age played around.

    The houses were carved on the walls of the cave, or on the large boulders in the middle. Their entrances made the cave appear like a wasps nest.

    If Daniel hadn't seen the state this world was in, and couldn't see the black spots of contamination of the people's bodies, he would guess that this was just a peculiar and normal city.

    "Say young man.. You already know why you haven't been corrupted.. Right?" Asked the old man casually while munching on a ripe and juicy fruit.

    "I do."

    "Care to share?" Asked the old man, still maintaining his casual tone.

    Daniel was aware of the reason why the old man had let him out of the cage. He hadn't believed the old man' world, as they weren't spoken to trick him, but his daughter. His real motive for letting Daniel out, was to make leverage on his compassion, and to try to extract informations that his daughter would never be able to obtain with any of her tests.

    "You will never be able to be immune to the corruption of this world."

    "And why is that?" Asked the old man to Daniel.

    Daniel looked back at him with an apologetic expression, then said "This world simply lack the type of power that might allow you to build a resistance to the essence of corruption."

    "What power is that?" Asked the old man with curiosity.

    Daniel sighed deeply, then said "It's a power called spiritual essence. It's used to refine the spirit.. Which from what I've learned after absorbing the monster's corrupted essence, is exactly what you'd need to shield yourself from the effect of the essence of corruption."

    "Can you demonstrate to me the use of this 'spiritual essence?" asked the old man while taking a last bite of the fruit.

    "That's the problem. Spiritual essence isn't produced.. It's exchanged with the spiritual plain.. A power that comes from another plain.. I guess it's similar to the essence of corruption in that.." Said Daniel with a pensive tone. He then added "If I had it, I would be able to create clean water.. Pure air.. Speed time, and even heal injuries."

    Just as Daniel finished speaking, an idea flashed in his mind. He asked "Can you tell me more about those 'mages' that caused the corruption of your world?"

    "We don't know much about them.. It's history thousands of years old." Said the old man in response.

    "Did they have a base?"

    "Yes.." Said the old man with a dispirited tone, then, he added "It's where the largest of the portals is said to have appeared. It' a prohibited place.."

    Daniel's brows furrowed in surprise "Prohibited by who? I thought there was no one left to enforce something like that."

    "It's not a prohibition enforced by us.. Not all the corrupted monsters are as stupid as the ones you've seen."

    -----

    Inside an extremely large underground castle carved into the northern side of the mountain.

    Ten men were standing in front of three old people. These three old people sat on large chairs made out of black bones.

    Part of these three old people were two old women, which occupied the chair in the middle, and the one on the right, and an old man which sat on the chair to the left.

    The old woman in the middle was heavily dressed with monster's pelts. Her hair were black despite her age, and the corruption on her body was as heavy as the old man that was chatting with Daniel. She represented the scholars of the tribe.

    The old man was extremely robust looking, and lying on the armrest of his chair, was an enormous monster tooth which had been carved to the shape of a rudimentary greatsword. He sat on the chair to the left, and represented the defenders of the city, or how they would be called in Daniel's words.. The warriors. His body was completely covered in black, with no spot left of its natural greyish color.

    The clothes of the second and last old woman's weren't heavy, but her body was fully covered. Despite her age, she seemed to be lean and agile, and on the ground next to her chair, she kept a bow and a quiver filled with arrows. The corruption on her body was almost complete, and only a few spots on her face were of a lighter grey color. She represented the hunters.

    These three, were part of the triumvirate that lead the people of the tribe..

    In front of them, were the middle aged man which had captured Daniel, along with his two sons and the rest of his hunting party.

    "Tell me about him." Said the old man while looking at the head hunter.

    "He seems to be younger than my son, and his cultivation is only slightly worse. His fighting abilities cannot even be compared to that of our own warriors, in fact.. I mean no disrespect sir, but I doubt there is anyone who would be able to match him in hand to hand combat skills if at the same level of power." Responded the head hunter.

    "Your words do not surprise me.. What would a hunter know.. How do you know he isn't a member of our race that found a way to avoid contamination?" Asked the old man slightly irritated by the middle aged man's words.

    "His skin is.. Well.. it's not naturally grey like ours. It' rosy. Plus, he emanates a power very different from our aura.. There is no doubt that he isn't part of our race."

    "Where is he now?" Asked the old woman that sat in the middle chair.

    "As per protocol, we have handed him over to the Scholar Lucious and his daughter, Scholar Lara." Said the middle aged man, then, after a brief pause, he added. "Now, if you will excuse us, we have to prepare for our next hunting trip."

    The old woman that represented the hunters said "How was the baptize of your child? You said that the kid interfered."

    "He did, but after my son completed his task."

    "Very well.. You may all go." Said the old woman with a dismissive tone.

    After the groups of hunters left, the representant of the scholars called a young woman which was waitin to the side, and once she approached, said "Go and help scholar Lucious and scolar Lara in their work. Keep us updated in anything that happens."

    -----

    "So, you're telling me that there is a hierarchy amongst the monsters.. that there is one powerful and strong enough to rule them all.. And that the base of the 'mages' is within their area?" Asked Daniel with a stifled expression.

    "That's about right." Responded the old man plainly.

    Daniel looked at the old man with as much seriousness as he could muster. Then, he said "What you call 'magic', sounds exactly like the type of power that I was talking about.. Spiritual essence. If there was a connection to the spiritual plain in this world.. Not only would you be able to train your spirit, but would also become immune from the corruption."

    "How can you be so sure that we will be able to use this spiritual essence to cultivate? We don't even have a similar unique power.. We could be unable to." Responded the old man with a matter-of-fact tone.

    "Everything alive has a spirit. But you are right, you wouldn't be able to use it for the same reason monsters and beasts from my world would not be able to.." Said Daniel with an apologetic tone.

    The moment the old man heard these words, his face changed into one of disappointment.. Until he heard Daniel's next words.

    ".. You need a weak body to cultivate the spirit. This means that only your children would be able to."

    The face of the old man lit up for a few seconds, then, after thinking of it for a bit, he turned back to his previous disappointment. "It doesn't matter.. Our children won't be able to cultivate it before they'll be corrupted by the food. They'll need food before they'll be able to strengthen themselves."

    As the old man finished talking, he looked back at Daniel. He then noticed the extremely wide smile that had appeared on his face, and Daniel's eyes move on his hand.. The hand in which he was holding the pit of the fruit.

    "There is no way that you have enough clean food for an entire generation of our people to survive.." Said the old man with a bit of irritation.

    Daniel looked back at him with a smile wider than before, and said "Want to bet?"

    The old man truly didn't believe that Daniel could pull this off.. That he could save his entire tribe.. Or better.. Race. Unfortunately, they had no chance. The corruption had taken over the world, and if they did nothing, sooner or later, the tribes would be wiped out one after the other.

    "Alright.. I'll talk about it with the Triumvirate."

    "What is that?" Asked Daniel with curiosity.

    "The three leaders of our tribe.. The head sholar, the chief hunter, and the strongest of warriors." Responded the old man in an explanatory tone.

    Daniel's brows arched in curiosity, as he asked "What do you need warriors for?"

    "We are not the only tribe around.. You are lucky we have found you.. Or you might have been inside the cauldron of any of the other cannibalistic tribes in the surroundings."
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