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152 A Karmic Debt Must Not Be Underestimated

    Just as Daniel finished speaking, the faces of the two elders contorted in hideous expressions. One of the two was about to talk, but before he could, a few voices were heard coming from their surroundings.

    "He is right, I saw that too.. The last two attacks were way too powerful for an early fourth stage."

    "Wasn't a limit to the early fourth stage agreed beforehand?"

    "That lightning bolt didn't save your sect from the loss.. Only the kid's life."

    All of the people who had spoken were cultivators at a level of power similar to the elders of the Sect of the Illusory Edge, so, the two elders were unable to refute their words without looking like sore losers.

    Their faces twisted in irritation once more, until one of them finally said "Very well. It was our fault. We will pay what is owed."

    Currently there was a person in the crowd which was particularly worried after noticing the face of the two elders. That person was standing quietly next to Kyla and Kien, and was the young man which, by deciding to silence Zack once and for all, had caused all of this mess.

    If he had actually told the truth, he would not have had anything to worry about.. But since he lied about what had happened the day he and the rest had been injured, he knew that the punishment that awaited him would not be light.

    He could see the numerous looks of pity coming from his companions. From beside him, he noticed his girlfriend Kyla slowly distancing herself from him, while Kien clenched his fists in hate at the sight of the elders of his school agreeing on giving the portion of Zack's spirit back to him.

    After the elders agreed that the bet had been won by Daniel's side, along with the Illusory Maiden and Yan, they left immediately, but only after giving a sideways look at the young man.

    The crowd started to disperse, and with them, the group of disciples of the Sect of the Illusory Edge.

    The walk back to the sect's ground was the most stressful experience that the young man had ever faced in his life. None of the disciples which claimed to be his friends dared to say a word to him, and his girlfriend and her brother looked like they didn't care for him.

    Unable to bare it anymore, he quickly grabbe Kyla's wrist, and took her into a narrow alley. Kien followed right after seeing this strange occurrence.

    Once alone, the young man looked at Kyla and said "You have to help me. I-I did it for you.. For us.."

    Kien was utterly confused by the young man's words. He turned to look at his sister, and said "What the hell is he talking about?"

    Kyla looked at her brother, and while feigning confusion, she said "I don't know.."

    "STOP LYING!" The young man burst out in rage. He was anxious, and couldn't bear to end up in an additional bad spot today. "You lied about Zack! He never touched you.."

    Kien's eyes opened in shock and horror. "Wha.. Kyla! IS THIS TRUE?!"

    "Brother, no! I swear!! He really di-"

    *SLAP*

    "ENOUGH!" Shouted the young man after slapping Kyla heavily on her face "You kept complaining about not wanting to marry.. About not wanting people to know that you slept around before marriage!.. It was my idea, but you were never against it, not for a moment"

    After hearing the young man's words, Kien lifted his hands and held his head in between them. He was suddenly remembering all the awful and humiliating things he had done to his childhood friend.

    Still unable to accept the truth, he turned to look at Kyla, which was now on the verge of crying, and said "Please, tell me he is lying.."

    A couple of clear tears started to stream down Kyla's cheeks, as she said while sobbing "I.. I really did not want to marry.. I'm s-sorry.." She then started to cry.

    After hearing his girlfriend's confession, the young man turned to look at Kien, and said "You have to help me.. If I go down, I'll bring your sister down with me."

    When the young man finished speaking, he noticed that something was not right.

    The previously shocked Kien was now standing straight. His expression was indifferent to say the least.

    Unable to hear any response from her brother, Kyla stopped crying just to look at him, but she saw the same thing her boyfriend saw. It appeared as if Kien had simply lost interest in what had just been revealed.

    "Brot-" Just as Kyla decided to call for her brother, their surroundings lost their defined shapes. The straight lines of the buildings started to ondulate, and their colors became increasingly more blurred. Her brother's body, was not an exception.

    The only two people who were unaffected were her, and the young man.

    One after another, the colors started to dissipate, until finally, their surroundings changed completely. They were standing exactly in the place where they were when observing the event, but the difference, was that the elders, the Illusory Maiden, Yan, the other disciples of the Sect of the Illusory Edge, and the many other cultivators, were all looking at the two of them.

    On the opposite side of the stage, Der looked at the two with disdain. He already suspected that Zack was innocent, but seeing his alleged victim confess, made him feel disgust.

    A completely different expression was on Alesia's face, which was looking at the scene with a sense of pride swelling up in her chest.

    Zack had been forced to toughen up in the past, due to the awful treatment he received, and the constant beating, and yet, even he couldn't help but cry after hearing the two people who had ruined his life confess.

    After all, he was only a fifteen year old kid which had spent the last part of his life being hated and looked at with disgust.

    Proving that Zack wasn't guilty wasn't one of Daniel's objective, as if he decided to actually do that, he would find it very difficult. The only reason he had decided to try, was because the opportunity had presented itself.

    He had had the idea the very moment he had seen Kyla, her brother, and her boyfriend come to spectate the fight. That was the reason why he had reminded the reasons for why this event was taking place.

    People could have thought that he wanted to make sure that the Sect of the Illusory Edge would pay in case they'd lose, but that was only half of the reason. What he wanted to do, was to remind the two elders that all of this had happened for a reason and one reason alone.. Zack's accusations.

    The Illusory Maiden looked at Kyla, Kien and the young man with fury in her eyes, and said "Come with me." she then walked towards Daniel's side, and after approaching Zack, she said "Allow me to apologize on account of our sect."

    Zack looked quietly, as the Illusory Maiden bowed apologetically.

    Next to her, Kien couldn't even look at him in the eyes, while his sister and her boyfriend turned to look at the elders of their school, as if hoping that they could save them from this humiliation.

    Their desperate looks were met with angered eyes, as the words of the Illusory Maiden reached their ears. They said "You are allowed to come back to the sect if you wish. I will personally tend to your training, and protect you from now on."

    She was more than aware of how her presence on Kyla's side of the story had gave an additional layer of credibility to her lies, so, she wanted to make amend.

    "You will also have a say in deciding what will happen to these three." She then added.

    Daniel looked at Zack, which had a conflicted expression on his face.. He didn't want him to thread the path of vengeance or hate, so he moved his head closer to him, and whispered "Karma has a debit with you.. Don't waste it on something that you might regret in the future."

    Daniel's words hit Zack deeply, leaving him in a pensive state for numerous long seconds. He was thinking of all the suffering he had gone through, and how harshly he had been treated, but also of how much he used to love playing with his friends when he was a kid..

    The words that Daniel whispered in his ears kept ringing in his head over and over again, until finally, it struck him. What Daniel was offering, was not to forgive, but to forget. He was offering a chance to start anew, and to join his group.

    He had nothing left in this city. One of his two childhood friends had betrayed him, and the other had refused to believe in him. His sect had kicked him out, and the majority of the inhabitants of the city would always look at him with the doubt that maybe, just maybe, he had really done it.

    Rationality quickly took over the hate he felt, as he turned towards Daniel, and after nodding, he looked at the Illusory Maiden, and said "I already have a group now. I just want my spirit to be whole again."

    "What about them?" Asked the Illusory Maiden.

    For the first time since Daniel had met him, Zack showed the parvence of a smile, and said "I don't care."

    -----

    Pocket Dimension, 23:11

    Daniel was once again sitting on the balcony outside of his room, and running around him, was Wolfie, the newborn metal elemental.

    Sitting on the chair on the other side of the table, just like every other night in the past three nights, sat Alesia.

    The two of them had taken the habit to come there after a long day of work, and talk while trying a new  type of liquor.

    Despite the late hour, loud noises could be heard coming from all around the castle. This was caused by the industrialisation of his pocket dimension.

    Now that people could earn powerful cultivation resources through simple work, many people had decided to give up sleep just in order to increase their income. This had caused the crystals to be quickly adopted as an acceptable type of currency within the city, villages, and auxiliary pocket dimensions.

    *COUGH COUGH* "Oh, this is" *hic* "..definitely the strongest one we've tried so far.." *hic* Said Alesia through a hiccup caused by the sheer power of the alcohol contained in the liquor they had been drinking.

    "I think we should ease up on the strong stuff.. I don't want to have to carry you around because you are too drunk to walk straight.. Hehe" Commented Daniel with an unusual blush on his cheeks.

    "Look who's talking! You look like.." *hic* "..an apple.. Hahaha!" Alesia burst out laughing at the sight of the half drunken Daniel. The fact that she was half drunk herself didn't help her in holding back her laughter.

    The two laughed for a few seconds, until finally, they put down their glasses, and like they had gotten used to, looked at the dark and empty sky.

    After a few minutes, Alesia broke the silence by saying "So, what did you want to show me?" A couple of minutes were all it took for the two of them to sober up from alcohol.

    In response, Daniel weakly waved his hand.

    The very next moment, thousands of small lights appeared in the empty sky. They were all of different, and emanated the familiar feeling of starlight.. Distant, and always present.

    Alesia looked at the sea of stars, and recognized it as the same formation of stars which could be observed from their world, which Daniel had carefully replicated.

    All around the pocket dimension, the various cultivators, ranked beasts, and elementals turned to look at the sky, and sure enough, they recognized it as well.

    The only one who wasn't looking at the sky, was Daniel, whose eyes were glued on Alesia's amazed expression.

    After a few moments, he turned to look at the sky as well.
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