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160 Not a Quiet Meal

    "Hey lard-ass! Who told you that you could come here?" Shouted someone from the section in which the gold-badged students sat. The person that shouted, was a young woman of around twenty years of age.

    "Look at that, freshmen. Somebody came to ransack your food. Hahaha!" Said a twenty-five years old looking man from another table of the gold-badged section.

    After that, a few other people from the gold-badged section started to heavily flout on Serf.

    Alesia and Talia looked around at the people in confusion, and then back at Serf, which just like Daniel, walked in silence. What they found weird, was that both of them didn't appear to be affected by Serf's treatment.. especially himself.

    The reason why Daniel wasn't surprised, was that he had already heard people talking about a very large and ridiculed student. They talked about it openly because they didn't care if they offended him. He had understood who that person was the very moment he had opened the door of his room, unfortunately, he hadn't heard the reason why he was treated like that.

    The four of them walked all the way to the deep end of the hall, and towards the counter. There, they ordered a few dishes of food, and went to seat at an empty table in the copper-section.

    Talia was visibly uncomfortable. A lot of people were looking at them, and she couldn't help but look around nervously.

    Alesia noticed her behaviour, so, she tried to distract her by starting a conversation "So, we are doing this to know each other better.. Why don't you tell me about you?"

    With a nervous tone, Talia responded by saying "My mother owns a chain of antique stores.." She then clarified by adding "We deal in historical relics and such.. How about you?"

    "We are the heirs of a newly founded company. We deal in almost everything, but our main business comes from the production of essence spheres of high level." Responded Alesia with a calm and unperturbed tone.

    Despite being humbled by the many recent changes in her life, Alesia was still a proud person. She had been raised to be the leader of her family after her parents would pass away, and luckily, they hadn't forgotten to teach her some good values that most of the people present lacked.

    Serf was ignoring the voices that came from all around them, and yet, the moment he heard the words 'essence spheres' his eyes opened slightly in curiosity.

    The change on his face was hard to see, and yet it didn't escape Daniel's eyes.

    "You deal in high-level essence spheres!?" Asked Talia in shock. "What essence?"

    Her voice was high enough to make the people in the surroundings to quieten, and look at Alesia and Daniel with deep surprise.

    It is important to understand how valuable being able to produce high level spheres was considered in the majority of the universe. Producing an essence sphere did not require any sort of cost except for the price of the essence treasure itself. Therefore, companies that dealt in producing essence spheres would earn a lot of money.

    In fact, they earned so much, that most companies were formed despite only having a bunch of cultivators with a mid level of comprehension.

    Just to make a comparison, the various companies and families to which the copper-badged students belonged, could be compared to companies that dealt in spheres from low to mid level. A company that dealt in a single type of high level essence spheres would already be close to being worthy of the golden badge.

    Unfortunately, despite how much that sort of knowledge was worth, their size and reach was even more important. After all, a gem would be worth more if more people could look at it.

    "Water, wind, lightning, earth, wood, metal, space, and a few others at the mid level.." Responded Alesia plainly, before stabbing a piece of vegetable with her fork.

    "I meant which type of high level spheres does your company produce.." Said Talia with faint embarrassment.

    Alesia turned to look at her, and with a plain tone, she responded by saying "I know what you meant.. All of them."

    Each and every student in a reach of twenty meters turned to look at their table in shock.

    "That's rich!.." Said one of the young man which had insulted Serf the moment they had entered the mess hall. He then got up from his chair, and while walking towards them, he added "But of course, it makes sense. No one with a sane mind would hang around Serf."

    This young man wore a purple robe, on which a golden badge and a copper crest were appointed. His behaviour was just like that of someone which could set the rules in the school, which was sort of true.

    The school only bothered with preventing people from getting physical, but they didn't bother with other matters at all. They were training sharks after all, not turtles.

    The division in the value of their backing had created a sort of natural hierarchy, in which people that owned a platinum badge were considered kings, and their say in how things went, went down based on the reach of their backing powers.

    "A failure, a couple of liars, and an antique shopkeeper.. That's funny." He said as he reached their table.

    What he wasn't aware of, was that what he saw, wasn't what the others were seeing.

    In the eyes of the spectating students, he had gotten up from his chair, and walked all the way to the bathroom door. Then, he had stopped right in front of it, and had started to insult it, and give his speech.

    The sight was quite hilarious.. It looked like the bathroom door was this young man's greatest enemy. The majority of the gold-badged people laughed hysterically, while the silver and copper-badged students didn't dare to, and simply chuckled quietly.

    The only ones that didn't laugh, were the few platinum-badged students, that contrary to the uninterest that they showed until now, they looked at them with faint interest.

    One thing was clear to them. If someone could trick the young man into falling into an illusion for such a long time, then it was very likely that what Alesia had said was the truth, after all, such a level of illusion required comprehension of numerous essences, and not a marginal one.

    Daniel and the others tried to talk to each other, but the loud buzz of laughter kept reaching their ears, making it extremely difficult for them to communicate. The more the young man got worked up against the bathroom door, the noisier the hall became.

    After a few minutes, a friend of the young man got up from his chair, and embarrassedly walked close to him. He put a hand on his shoulder, and when the young man turned around, Daniel let go of the illusion.

    The young man found himself in front of the bathroom door, with his peers looking at him and laughing hysterically. It didn't take long for him to understand what had happened, and feel humiliated enough to just rush out of the mess hall.

    The moment the young man left, Daniel looked at Serf, and said "Want to tell us what all that was about?"

    "It's nothing important.." Responded Serf in a low voice.

    Daniel didn't want to push him, so he stopped asking, and went back into eating his food.

    Next to the two of them, Alesia chatted with a much less nervous Talia.

    After they finished eating, Daniel and Serf split from the two girls, and went back to their room. Once inside, Serf immediately entered his room, and Daniel didn't saw him again for the rest of the day.

    -----

    It was early in the morning, and the lectures were about to start. Daniel was already sitting in one of the chairs within the lecture rooms.

    He really had no interest for alchemy, as he could solve most of his problems thanks to his own increased speed of progression. Yet, he needed to prove his worth if he wanted to leave a good impression on The Poisonous Rose and earn an invitation.

    It was the first day after the arrival of the freshmen, so the lecture that Daniel had to listen to, was about the basics of alchemy.

    Alchemy was the discipline that comprised the study and production of drugs, potions, and concoctions, through the use of, often times, singularly treated ingredients.

    The lecturer went on for two full hours in talking about the history, and ancient methods of alchemy, like the production of pills through cauldrons, and the times when medicine was merged into alchemy.

    Despite the lack of interest, Daniel still took notes, and memorized the entire lecture after reading it only twice.

    He had decided to learn alchemy just so that he could add this world's knowledge of it to the library of his castle, and allow the alchemists that would soon work for his company, to expand their knowledge.

    The lecture had ended with the explanation of how to create a pill with specific characteristics, and the assignment of creating one.

    This pill had no name, and creating it was a generally hard process to learn. It also had absolutely no use, except for the experience gained from making it.

    The reason why freshmen were required to create one after only a day of practice, was to test their talent in comprehension, and in alchemy. Very similar to how the talent of a cultivator would be valued based on the speed of cultivation.

    Is someone were to look at the procedure of the creation of this pill, they would think that this was closer to cooking than alchemy. The reason for that, was because the whole procedure was about boiling a certain plant, extracting its syrup, and using it for the creation of a pill.

    It was basically the creation of a pill of sugar, but the difficulty was in keeping the temperature of the flame at a stable level, not extracting the bitterness along with the syrup, and the formation of an even round pill.

    The entire process didn't take more than a few minutes for Daniel to master, which in that span of time, had gained the experience of thousands of attempts.

    He would be required to produce one during the lecture that would take place in a couple of days.

    After finishing his practice, he went into his room, took out a few mid crystals, and started to cultivate.

    -----

    The next day, within the company building.

    A few cultivators in purple robes had just entered the pocket dimension which housed Daniel's company building, from one of the entrances left in the teleporting platforms around the capital.

    In the past couple of days, Edmund, Der, and a few other members of the group had opened a few shops around the city, and had started to promote their items.

    The items they offered were already of high quality, yet, the variety they offered was what really distinguished them from other companies.

    Usually cultivators would have to look for a very specific shop in order to find the spheres they needed, and then another for more types.. but Daniel's company was different. They could make a large variety of spheres, and sold them at a price slightly lower than the rest.

    Whenever a client would purchase something from their shop, they would hand out business cards with the instructions on how to enter the company building, and join the auctions, or even purchase a space to open a shop themselves.

    Thanks to this, there had been an increasingly large flux of people that had started to visit Daniel's company building.

    This specific group of purple-robed cultivators, were not customers. They calmly walked to the floors were the administrative offices were placed.

    "Good morning, how may I help you?" Asked the receptionist with a polite tone.

    The one that looked like the leader of the purple-robed cultivators took a step forward, and said "We would like to speak with the head of the company."
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