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171 Offer to the Champion

    What was in reality just a day that passed by as fast as any other, felt much slower for a few of the companies heads present within the floor which had been reserved for them within the stadium.

    After wind and water, four other essences were tested before the organizers concluded the first day of the event.

    The people that had bet with Daniel showed dispirited faces, as they slowly came to peace with the fact that there was a fifty percent chance that they would end up losing a lot of money.

    The reason for that, was the fact that neither Roley or Jerigh had left the stadium during either of the tests, and not only were they always capable of producing a temporary essence sphere, but they were also capable of resisting the first master's attacks, and successfully break the second master's defense.

    What had shocked everyone in particular, were three of these events, in which both Jerigh and Roley not only were able of defending and attacking successfully, but were also able to produce perfect essence spheres for metal, wood, and earth essences.

    The ones that had noticed this first, were the company heads which dealt with products and spheres of those three specific essences, along with the masters that tested their comprehension.. While the jaws of the rest of the spectators and companies, ignorant to the matter, dropped after seeing the ranking of all three of those essences.

    In the wood essence ranking, Roley had conquered the thirteenth place, while Jerigh had earned the twelfth.

    In the metal essence ranking, Jerigh had ranked nineteenth with Roley followed right behind at the twentieth position.

    The earth essence comprehension ranking wasn't any different, and Roley and Jerigh had respectively ended up in the twenty-sixth and twenty-fifth position.

    Despite not being first and second, they had still received a full hundred points, as the spheres that they had formed showed a perfect level of comprehension.

    They had also showed spectacular results during the control stage of the testing. Especially Jerigh with metal essence, and Roley with earth essence.

    The reason why they weren't higher on the ranking, was because each of those that were above them, not only had a perfect comprehension of those essences that matched theirs, but also possessed a higher cultivation which had helped them with forming the sphere faster.

    There was still a full day of testing, in which the comprehension of some of the most difficult essences would be tested, but for now, Jerigh and Roley went back to join Daniel and the rest into the reserved floor.

    There, along with the many other cultivators, they were welcomed by the companies to which they belonged with extremely mixed feelings.

    The favourites were still a few of the oldest cultivators, which had managed to, just like Jerigh and Roley, to obtain significant results in various trials. Also, nobody really knew what the true points appointed for the test of control were, as they would only be announced at the end of the entire event.

    Within the reserved floor, Daniel and the rest were standing by themselves, enjoying the refreshments, and chatting amongst each other.

    Alesia was currently standing by herself, slowly eating a cracker with a type of undefined paste spread on it. She seemed to be enjoying it quite a bit.

    Daniel was busy in a conversation with two of the various company heads, which had come to pay their debt in advance, or had approached Daniel to compliment him for the good seeds within his company.

    Despite the chance to tie a few strings with powerful companies, Daniel couldn't help but glance at Alesia every now and then, as she stood quietly by herself.

    She had tried to approach numerous young girls during the past couple of hours, and attempted to start a conversation with them. Unfortunately, the young inheritors of these companies would usually respond politely before leaving, or ignore her in the first place.

    She had always been part of a prestigious family within the empire she had come from, and people used to seek her attention as soon as they would see her. But here, it was different. She was one of the inheritors of the last company that had joined the collective, and did not even possess an administrative position herself.

    She was, without a doubt, the individual with the lowest standing within the thousands of people present, and that was something she wasn't used to.

    That had lead her to stand by herself, and simply try the various refreshments in silence, as she hadn't had much success in starting a conversation to people that weren't her parents.

    After a few minutes, Daniel managed to cut himself loose from the various company heads, and approached Alesia from the side. The only thing he could think about while approaching her, was how nicely her dress fitted her, and how dumb were other young masters for not making a move on her.

    "Why are you standing there on your own?" Asked Daniel with visible confusion.

    Alesia turned to look at Daniel, and when she saw him, a faint smile re appeared on her face. She then noticed that he was holding an entire tray of the appetizers she seemed to fancy the most, causing her smile to grow wider.

    "It appears that I am not as good at making new friends as I thought I was.." She responded with a matter-of-fact tone. She didn't seem dispirited by it.. It was just a matter of fact.

    "They clearly don't like fun people." Said Daniel right away, before taking a small pause, and adding "Why else would they rather talk to me, than to you."

    Once again, Alesia smiled sweetly in return to Daniel's words "Thanks..". She then looked at the tray of appetizers "How did you know these were my favourite ones? Were you looking at me?" she asked while moving her pale hand towards him.

    Daniel quickly moved the trail back, and said with fake shock in his eyes "Huh, excuse me.. These are for me.." He then picked one and put it in his mouth.

    It was disgusting.

    Daniel's eyes opened wide, as he looked at Alesia with shock. The small bite of cracker and meat paste moved over his tongue like a drifting boat in the middle of the sea.. The flavor was too bad to even consider swallowing it.

    What made things worse, was Alesia's melodious, yet derisory laugh, which resounded in his area, causing many people to turn around.

    Daniel's upper body lowered as his tense arms pressed against his knees. He was trying his best not to spit that out.

    "Are you sure they were for you?" Asked Alesia inbetween hysteric laughs.

    Daniel straightened his body once again, mustered all of his courage, and finally, he swallowed the half chewed piece of cracker.

    After taking a deep breath, he looked at Alesia, lifted his thumb, and said "Mhh.. so.. So good.."

    "Fine, just pass it here.. They are too good to be wasted on you!" She said while approaching him, and taking the trail off of his hands. She then placed it on large table on which the rest of the refreshments were placed orderly.

    Before Alesia could turn to look back at Daniel, she heard a voice come from behind her.

    "Mister Hiel, the gathering is about to begin. Follow me if you wish to participate."

    Daniel had of course heard about the gathering. It was an even that usually took place in the night between the two days of the event.

    The company owners which possessed the most promising participants would be invited to participate.

    During this gathering, the various companies were able to select a list of objects they were looking for, and the items they were willing to trade these objects with.

    The main reason why this secondary event had been created, was to allow people to make their proposition to the future winner of the entire event. Each of those offers, were included in the category of offers called 'The Offers to the Champion'.

    After many of these events had taken place, the practice had expanded to items that were not part of the event, which people wished to exchange for others that fitted their companies better.

    Basically, it was this world's biggest exchange point for essence treasures.

    Alesia did not turn around, and instead listened as the words "Of course." came out of Daniel's mouth. For some reason that she wasn't able to explain, she felt indescribably sad for a moment.

    She wanted to turn around and look at Daniel walk away, but before she could, she felt two fingers grab her hand gently, and drag her away from the table of refreshments.

    When she turned around a big smile appeared once again on her face, as she saw that Daniel was taking her with him, instead of leaving her alone once again.

    -----

    Daniel and Alesia followed the young man all the way into a separated hall, crossing half of the entire stadium, and walking through thousands of people in the crowd.

    For a long time now, people had started to look at Daniel with confused eyes. They saw him as a young man in his early twenties, but if a poll was taken, between all of the people present, ninety-nine percent of them would say that Daniel was at least sixty-five years of age, while the remaining one percent, were those who had actually interacted with him for more than a couple of minutes.

    His recent behaviour had made people question his character, as he seemed to be flirting with a girl undoubtedly younger than people assumed him to be.

    Many of them had even thought that, since Daniel had taken with him Edmund, Emelnie, and Alesia to the games, his company was actually a family business, and that he probably was the patriarch, and father of either side of the middle aged couple.

    When the two of them entered the hall, they saw hundreds of old men and women gathered around, and exchanging a few words amongst themselves.

    Daniel recognized these old people as the heads of the majority of the most prestigious and powerful companies within the entire collective.

    The sheer fact that he had been invited to this gathering, was the demonstration that his sudden appearance within the collective had not gone unnoticed.

    The hall was elegant and impressive. There were no chairs around, as most of these people walked from one person to the other, and initiated animated conversations.

    Daniel and Alesia walked all the way up to the large table at the side of the hall.

    On this table, were two different types of sheets of paper. Both of them had straight black lines, and the only difference, was that there were two different writings on the top of them.

    The writing in the first sheet of paper said "Buy / Trade / Sell", while the writing at the top of the second sheet of paper, said 'Offer to the Champion'.

    Daniel simply picked the sheet with 'Offer to the Champion' written on it, and with the best calligraphy that he could muster, he wrote

    ____________________________

    Items I am willing to exchange the perfect fire treasure for:

    -One perfect essence treasure of a different element, plus one day of private tutoring from a cultivator with perfect fire comprehension.

    -A hundred and twenty thousand perfect crystals.

    -Free offer.

    Leader of the Gold Karma, Dan Hiel.

    ____________________________

    After he finished writing these few words, Daniel gave the sheet of paper back to the clerk behind the table, which took it, and folded it carefully before putting it into an envelope.

    He then tried to leave from the way he and Alesia came, but before they could, a voice reached him from behind.

    "Mr Hiel, please wait a moment." Said this oddly familiar voice.

    Daniel slowly turned around, and in front of him, he saw the nine-fingered man standing while smiling politely.
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