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198 Let the Dance Begin

    A full day had passed since the fight between the two ancient beasts, and out of that battle, Daniel had understood one thing. He needed to increase his individual power. During the past few years he had challenged, taunted, threatened and fought people with a stronger power than his, but that had to stop. The more his group grew, the more people started to depend on his person to survive, the more he needed to become as strong of a pillar as he could. That was why, he needed to cultivate.

    Unfortunately, he had a certain difficulty in that field, namely, his karma. It had been a long time since he had managed to cultivate freely, as the karma needed for him to cultivate was consumed at a rate as fast is his own cultivation. In order to fix that problem, he had only two options. The first one, was to use the citizens of the immense capital as a farm for accumulating karma points, but now that his consumption had reached that high of a level, that would require a very long time. The second option, was to obtain karma points in large amounts.

    This thoughts weren't strangers in Daniel's mind, as he would often try to think of ways to obtain enormous amounts of positive karma, and ever since his company had been attacked by the collective, he had finally found a way to.. The various parts of his plan had been put to motion during the past few days, and now it was time to start.

    Daniel was currently standing in front of an alchemy shop in the northern part of the capital. Next to him, was a person who Daniel had purposely taken out of the pocket dimension. This person, was Zack.

    Ever since Daniel had taken Zack with him to the capital, he had had problems socializing with his peers. He had been sent to join the groups and schools within the city in the pocket dimension, so that he could learn different skills and go back to have a happier life, but despite his spirit being whole once again, and the fact that nobody knew him for the false reputation that had been attributed to him, he still presented a particular problem which lead him to emarginate himself from the others. This problem, was the fact that he was unable to trust anyone.

    The only people that Zack trusted blindly, were Daniel, and Daniel's closest friends.

    After noticing that Zack was becoming an emarginate in this new place, Daniel decided to make him become more active in the group's activities, as he couldn't bear to only halfway fix a person. This was also a matter which Daniel found himself thinking about daily. His path brought him to saving people, but if he had to radically change the destiny of a person, he couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible for what would happen to them.

    He had always found it a strange concept.. Helping someone get back up on their feet, and after they started to take the first steps after recovering from the fall, a benefactor would hardly bear to watch them stumble again, and would feel obligated to help set them straight. Of course, Daniel was perfectly aware that he did not have any obligation towards these people, but he also happened to know that they were all fundamentally good people, and he did not mind giving a helping hand to good people.

    Daniel and Zack were currently standing in front of the alchemy shop which belonged to the young looking broker, and was currently closed, as Daniel had warned that he would come and visit that day.

    "Master Hiel!" Said the broker the moment he saw Daniel walk towards the entrance of his humble shop. This was the first time since the broker had seen Daniel after the games of the collective, and now that his company had won against all expectations, his impression of Daniel had changed greatly. While previously he hated the idea of working for a cunning youth, now, the idea of secretly working for a prodigy with a promising future did not seem that bad to him. "Come on inside, I have everything you've asked for." He then said with a wide smile on his childish face.

    Daniel and Zack followed the broker into the alchemy shop, who after they entered, looked around a couple of times before closing the door behind them, and putting the sign 'closed' on the door. He then turned to look at Daniel, and after taking a few steps towards him, he opened his hand and made a small scroll appear on it, which he then handed over to Daniel.

    "These are all of the attacks that have been commissioned to you after you've entered my employment?" Asked Daniel while rapidly scrolling through the various names, dates, and requests written on it. There were at least two dozens, and all of them were assassinations of relatively important character, or at the very least, terrorist attacks towards a competition which the sender wanted to free themselves of. "Where is the other thing that I've asked you to do?" He then asked plainly.

    A sheepish smile appeared on the childish looking broker, who made a second object appear in his hands. This object, was a bundled stack of letters. Each letter was anonymous, and on the envelope, only the name of the receiver was written. The content of these letters, was the exact same details which were written on the scroll that the broker had handed over to Daniel, but each letter contained only a part of it.. Specifically, a warning that someone had commissioned a hit towards them, and that if they wished to know more, they would have to meet Daniel.

    The reason for these meetings was simple. For as vicious an assassination job was, some, even though rare, were directed towards actual evil people and had been commissioned by good people. That's why Daniel wanted to meet with these 'victims'. He wanted to make sure that the side he would be helping, was the right side.

    After Daniel confirmed that the letters were ready to be sent, he turned to look at the young-looking broker, and simply said "Send them." To which the broker responded with a smile, and a faint nod.

    -----

    While Daniel prepared to take a step forward in his plans to increase his individual power, the various groups that had decided to take a piece of his company, started to put their plans into motion as well. Naturally, they wouldn't simply show up to Daniel's doorstep and require to be compensated for the damages that Jerigh had caused. They would firstly need to agitate the waters.

    For the following ten days, right outside of various of shops of Daniel's company, many people had started to protest about the bad conduct of the Golden Karma company. Numerous accusation were moved towards them, and while some of them were true but exaggerated to an unbelievable degree, the majority were straight fantasy. These protesters were paid by the groups that wished to profit off of Daniel, and would shout what they were paid to say.

    At the same time, the various shops which operated in the various sectors where Daniel's operated, were collectively lowering their prices right below the rates of his business, causing him to lose a significant number of customers, and an even higher amount of money.

    Normally these colossal companies would not bother with targeting a relatively small company like Daniel's, but unfortunately, now Daniel had earned the reputation of being in possession of an extremely valuable item, which each and every one of these companies had their eyes on. And even if they knew about the fact that Daniel had already exchanged the perfect fire treasure, they would try to extort as much of the valuables he had obtained from the exchange as possible.

    -----

    It was morning, and Daniel was sitting quietly at a table. In his hands was a thick book, which he was reading to pass time. His eyes often moved towards the door of the room he was in, and it was clear that he was waiting for somebody to appear. It was only after five minutes, that the door opened slowly, and from behind it, two old men, and one old woman walked in quietly.

    Each of these old people wore rough robes, and their bodies were extremely muscular. Daniel could feel the smell of smoke on their bodies, just like the odor of metal. The clothes of these three individuals were similar, and only one of the tree seemed slightly more complex than the other two. Something that all of these three people had in common, was the picture of a yellow anvil that was sewn on their backs.

    These three individuals, were the head blacksmith, and the second and third elders of a company called Scorching Anvil. The faces of these three old individuals were alerted, and behind their alertness, Daniel could see grief in the faces of the two elders, and while grief could also be seen on the face of the head blacksmith, it was accompanied by worry.

    Daniel did not know much about these individuals, but he did know why they showed these sorts of expressions.. After all, it hadn't been long since someone had decided to commission an attack on one of their shops in the middle of the day, and had put the blame solely on the head blacksmith. Of course, the aftermath of the attack also played a huge role on the worry showed by the three individuals.

    "Master Hiel, It's a pleasure to meet you. I am the head blacksmith of the Scorching Anvil company." Said the bold and slightly better dressed of the three individuals while approaching the table where Daniel was sitting. The other two elders followed him quietly.

    "Master Jior, The pleasure is mine. Please, sit." Responded Daniel politely while pointing at the free chairs, and walking back towards his seat. After he sat back on his chair, he turned to look at the three old people who were busy with pulling the chairs and sitting, and said "Have you read the letter?"

    After hearing the words that came out of Daniel's mouth, the expression of the three old individual turned stern, and the leader of their party said "We did.." He then turned to look at his two companions, and after receiving a pair of gentle nods, he said "What can you tell us about the attack?"

    "It was commissioned, conducted by an assassin." Responded Daniel plainly.

    The old woman turned to look at Daniel, and said with clear irritation "We already knew that! We want to know who, and where to find the guilty party.." There was a clear reason why this old woman was much more irritated than the rest of the three, and this reason was only known to a few members of their group. She was the second elder of the Scorching Anvil company, and the fourth elder, the man that had created a new alloy and had died in the bombings, was her husband.

    "No information is free.. I am sorry about what happened to you, and I am trying to help, but as you might have noticed in the past few days all around the city, my company could use some friends." Responded Daniel with an apologetic tone.

    "Your problems aren't that serious, Master Hiel.. Just publicly hand over the perfect fire treasure, and the companies that targeted you will quickly lose interest in pestering your employees and obstructing your operations.

    A faint smile appeared on Daniel's face, as he said "How do you think I have come to find out about the details of the homicide of your elder, and the destruction of one of your shops along with the death of ninety-eight people?" His, was a rhetoric question. Not because he did not care for their response, but because presenting this question would make someone in the position of these three old people to come to an understanding.

    "The attack of your company.." muttered the head blacksmith in a low tone. He then turned to look at his companions, and after noticing that they had likely come to the same realization, he turned to look back at Daniel, and said "The culprit?"

    "Died painfully." Responded Daniel with a faint smile.

    "Good.." Said the third elder after breathing out heavily. It was clear that the attack had left this group greatly damaged.

    After Daniel noticed that the three of them did not seem satisfied with simply knowing that the culprit had died, his smile widened, and he said "Let's talk.."
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