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149 Why Work When You Can Be

    "Next customer." Said Daniel with his usual smile present on his face.

    After four hours spent waiting in line, it was finally the Illusory Maiden and her companion's turn.

    "We meet again.." Said the Illusory Maiden with a plain, and slightly cold tone.

    Daniel's smile widened for a moment, then responded by saying "Indeed we do. What can I help you with?"

    "We are not here for business. We are here to talk to you about your relationship with that kid, if you don't mind." Said the man that accompanied the Illusory Maiden.

    "Of course I don't mind. But that will have to wait. As you can see, I'm working now." Responded Daniel politely.

    The man, just like the Illusory Maiden, was one of the highest ranking disciples within the Sect of the Illusory Edge, but despite the smile we walked around with, he was an extremely vicious person, and didn't share her companion's calm mind.

    After hearing Daniel's dismissive words, he immediately became hostile to him. Unfortunately, a simple look around was enough to calm him down.

    Not only Der was looking intimidatingly at him, but also the rest of the guards, and the hundreds of high level cultivators that were waiting for their turn to conduct business with Daniel.

    As of now, Daniel was untouchable within the marketplace.

    "We appreciate your disponibility, we will wait for you to close shop." Said the Illusory Maiden with a polite tone.

    Ever since Daniel had left her stuck within the illusion, a certain level of respect for him had formed within the woman's mind. Especially since illusions were the main weapons of her sect.

    After bidding farewell, the two left the marketplace.

    -----

    Despite the meteoric increase in fame, Daniel alone was only able to do so much. This had caused their stall to make less money in the second day, than in the first day.

    Something else that contributed to this situation, were the numerous problems that had appeared periodically.

    For example, the shopkeepers that dealt in selling and purchasing essence treasures had tried to profit from Daniel's job, and had increased the prices of their product by doubled the price of their merchandise.

    Daniel didn't like that for a very simple reason.. He was the one that most likely would end up buying thing at an increased rate, as most of the customer that came to his stall already had their own treasures prepared, and only a few were stupid enough to buy them on the spot.

    He had to send Ligart and Roley just so that they could convince these merchants to keep their prices at a certain level.

    Ligart would use his sympathy and charm, and if that didn't work, Roley would quickly remind them that they could simply change venue the next day, and take away the majority of the daily flux of customers from this specific marketplace.

    Another problem, were the representatives of different groups that had come to propose a partnership with Daniel.

    He had to politely refuse each and every proposition individually, as these representatives did not schedule an appointment to talk to him, but showed up in the marketplace and stood in like alongside other legitimate clients.

    At the end of the day, they had managed to make eighty percent of what they had made the previous day, and had to spend ten percent more for all of the essence treasures they purchased in the area.

    "This won't work for much longer.." Said Roley with a grim tone. He had threatened the various shopkeepers all day, and yet, he had still only managed to get the treasures at slightly higher price than before. He knew that these people wouldn't agree to his demands for ever.

    "I know.. We have to open a marketplace ourselves, and only invite the merchants that are willing to keep a reasonable price for their merchandise." Responded Daniel.

    "And how do you plan to do that? They could simply open a stall in the closest marketplace. People would still go to them to purchase items and come to us to have them turned into spheres." Pointed out Roley.

    Daniel became pensive for a few seconds, then he said "The stick and the carrot.."

    "What do you mean?" Asked Roley with confusion.

    "We threaten to leave someone to each and every marketplace that can keep an eye to their shops, and write down whoever buys treasures from them. We won't deal with those people. That's the stick." Responded Daniel casually.

    "What about the carrot?"

    A faint smirk appeared on Daniel's face, as he said "We promise that we'll buy each and every essence treasure that the merchants have left at the end of the day if they open shop at our marketplace."

    It was now sunset, and Daniel, Alesia and the rest were preparing to leave, when the Illusory Maide and the man that accompanied her appeared in front of them.

    Daniel's stall was the last one to pack and leave, so, the square was relatively empty. Only a few old cultivators which weren't lucky enough to have a turn at Daniel's stall and a few guards were left.

    Daniel took four chairs and a small table out of his pocket dimension. On this table, was a teapot, and four tea cups. He then invited the two to sit, and sat on a third chair.

    The fourth chair remained empty, until Daniel turned to look at Zack, and said "Come, join us for a cup of tea."

    Daniel observed the face of the two members of the Sect of the Illusory Edge. On the face of the Illusory Maide, no change could be seen. It was almost as if she didn't care who was going to seat with them. On the other hand, the face of the man that accompanied her twisted in what appeared to be anger.

    "So, what can I help you two with?" Asked Daniel with a polite tone. Behind him, the others were making their calculations about their daily earnings, dividing the items they had purchased by type, storing the monster meat, and preparing to leave.

    "We have come to talk about the event that took place here yesterday. A few disciples were attacked by someone under your employment." Said the Illusory Maiden.

    "That's what they have told you?" Asked Daniel with brows arched in fake surprise. He then added with unconcealed sarcasm "Did they also exaggerate the number of the aggressors?"

    "They claim to have been attacked by a cultivator much more powerful than they were, and simply because they attempted to speak to him." Said the man with irritation. He couldn't bear Daniel's tone, but since Der was still standing around, and he could feel the tremendous power he emanated, he kept himself calm.

    Daniel waved his hand casually, causing a spatial portal to open in the area.

    On the other side of this portal, was Jerigh, which rapidly crossed through it and looked and stood next to Daniel quietly.

    Instead of looking back, Daniel turned towards the man, and said "He is the one who defended one of my employees from being kidnapped. You should be thankful to him, since he decided to leave them alive."

    Jerigh wasn't concealing his power, so the two of them were able to feel it clearly. He didn't appear to be stronger than any of the individual members of their sect, in fact, his sheer power was even lower, considering that he still hadn't formed a complete immortal essence, and only possessed ki and spiritual essence.

    "This isn't a matter to joke about. How are we supposed to believe that he could do something like that?" Asked the man, clearly irritated by the implications of Daniel's words.

    Daniel looked at the man up and down, then said "You are at the peak of the fourth stage of immortal cultivation, why don't you verify yourself? Control your power output at a level similar, or even slightly higher than his, and spar with him. He won't mind."

    "You are not worried that I could win, disproving your story?" Asked the man.

    "No." Responded Daniel while smiling slightly.

    The man turned to look at the Illusory Maiden, which then turned to look at Daniel, and said "What if he wins?"

    "He will apologize, I'll pay for the damage he caused, and my company will work for free for your sect. Forever."

    The Illusory Maiden and the man that accompanied her opened their eyes in shock. Their brows couldn't go any higher than they were right now.

    Zack, on the other hand, was starting to panic. He turned to look at Daniel, and said "N-no.. I can-" but he was quickly interrupted by Daniel.

    The first one to regain her composure, was the Illusory Maiden, which asked "I assume that you will want something in case your companion managed to win. What is it?"

    "I think it's only fair to demand something in return, right? After all, we are doing this to demonstrate that your sect members lied. What I want is fifty perfect crystals, plus another fifty for the damages that your group has caused to Zack since the day he stopped being part of your sect. Furthermore, I want the promise that you'll leave him alone in the future.. OH! And the missing portion of his soul." Responded Daniel casually.

    "That's ridiculous! Each of those requests are preposterous!" Barked out the man while springing up from his chair and grabbing the hilt of his sword.

    He stopped only after feeling the oppressive pressure from Der, which closed his hands in tight fists, and was ready to attack at any moment.

    As he sat back on his seat, he noticed that not even a hint of worry had appeared on either Daniel's and Jerigh's faces. The only one that was terrified, was Zack.

    "We have made two perfect crystals in our first two days of work by simply producing essence spheres on the spot. We are organizing a mass production, and we will sell our own products soon.. A hundred perfect crystals is going to be pocket change for us a few years from now.. The promise of producing your own essence spheres for free is already worth more than anything your sect can offer.." Responded Daniel calmly.

    Noticing that her companion was about to lose his mind, and cause trouble not only for the two of them, but also for their sect, the Illusory Maide graciously got up on her feet, and said "Very well, we'll bring the matter to our elders and sect leaders. We will come back to discuss about this in a couple of days."

    She then looked at her companion, which after noticing her look immediately calmed down, and followed her as the two left.

    "Didn't you ask a little too much?" Asked Der from behind Daniel.

    Daniel got up on his feet, and after turning to look back at him, he said "I didn't want them to accept on the spot. I wanted them to ask for their leader's opinion. They'll accept.. And they will lose."

    -----

    Back into the pocket dimension, the earth and wood elementals were working to create various small rooms.

    These rooms, would soon become similar to the room within the castle, in which Daniel's group members could increase their comprehension in the various essences.

    They were the rooms he had promised to whomever decided to work for him, and would soon be filled with spheres of all types of essence, from which people could reach a fifty percent comprehension at the very least.

    Daniel had asked their two groups to build them because if he created them out of his immortal essence, he would have to constantly keep them up. Instead, if the elementals created it, they would remain permanently.

    The previously peaceful elemental workers were minding their own job, when suddenly, they turned towards the castle.

    In the depths of the castle, was an extremely large cube completely made out of metal. This cube looked like it could weight hundreds of tons, and on its surface, one could distinguish the various different metal which composed it by the various colors.

    This cube had been created in one of the castle's cellars, and along with a small sphere devoid of color, was one of the only things inside the room.

    The transparent small sphere, was a time sphere which could be used to speed time by five times.

    There was also another object within the room, which was completely hidden from other people's eyes.

    It was right in the middle of this metallic cube.. A small piece of metal, from which a heavy comprehension of metal essence was emanated weakly.

    Since the day of its creation, this metallic cube had always been steady, and quiet.. But today, its shape started to change.
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