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267 The Xeno Protocol

    In the small area between the massive dragon and the giant corpse, was a crater of thirty meters of diameter. The green flames which engulfed the entire city like a green blanket, were keeping away from the it.. almost as if afraid of the object that had crashed on the ground, and formed it.

    "Now that, was luck.." Said a hoarse and disembodied voice that came from the middle of the crater.

    The dust quickly settled, and at the same time, the flames backed further away from the area around the crater, as if trying to escape a being which could extinguish them in the blink of an eye.

    As the view of the crater became clearer, Daniel, Aeron, the dragon, and the necromancer, were finally able to see the individual that had suddenly come through a rift in space, and landed heavily within their battlefield.

    This person, was a man in his forties. He was dressed in black leather armor covered by extremely thin chainmail, and a steel plaque that covered the part of his chest where his heart was. His head was almost completely shaved, except for the hair on top, which were slicked back, and held in a bun. His face was marked with the wrinkles of middle age, and underneath his closed set eyes, and his wide nose, was a long beard of the same blond color as his hair.

    The moment the dragon was able to see this individual and feel his power, he immediately froze in a terror which, if compared to the fear he had felt when the tamer had enslaved his entire kin, was even more oppressive.

    This human, was the strongest being he had ever seen in his long existence, and a single look from him, would be able to kill him a hundred times over.

    Despite his stern look, the man behaved in an oddly casual manner. He was dusting his clothes, and looking around in an attempt to figure out where he had ended up. He had immediately felt, as well as seen, the four individuals around him.. but to him, they were as threatening as a few weak ants which crawled around his feet.

    "Oh.. two young heroes, and one of the tree's children.. That's interesting." the man said while moving his eyes on Daniel, Aeron, and the necromancer. Then, as he turned to look at the dragon, he added "And one of them huge lizard.. I thought the zoo keeper girl enslaved all of you.. Well, good for you."

    Despite having been called huge lizard, the dragon did not show a single bit of discontent, and instead, looked down in submission.

    Daniel and Aeron also remained quiet. The dragon was extremely powerful and proud, and in order to cause such a reaction in him, the person which they were facing, must have been a monster amongst monsters.

    What made Daniel curious about this individual, was the fact that he possessed a relatively good karma which showed above his head with a green, six digits number.

    Noticing that none of the four were willing to utter a words in his presence, the man shook his head in disappointment, and said ".. Fine, I see I have interrupted something. I'll be on my way in a minute." he then looked up towards a specific point in the sky, and said "Judge."

    The very moment that single word left his mouth, a rift opened in the space in front of him, and from it, a middle aged woman dressed in a judge attire came out in hurry. She then approached the man, and bowed to him politely.

    "Explorer Tire, what brings you in this corner of the universe?" She asked with a tone that suggested that not only was she talking to someone that was not below her in status, but even a little higher. She then added "The records show that you should be exploring the depths of the sector B182.. Is there a reason why you are back now?"

    "That's kind of a pointless question." Said the man while fixing his clothes, and putting the two simple knives he was holding back into the sheaths. He then said with an irritated tone "Do you think I go around calling judges in whereverthehellweareville just to have a chat?"

    Daniel had seen more than once what Judges were capable of, and yet, the woman that was in front of him did not dare to behave rudely or even attack the Explorer. Instead, she said "Of course.. Is there something you wish to report?"

    The expression of the man immediately turned serious, as he said with a deep tone "Xeno Protocol.."

    The woman opened her eyes wide in surprise, and with a worried tone, she asked "What level?"

    "Over the fifth level.. I barely escaped with my life thanks to a random rift that opened in front of me, and took me here." Responded the man while recalling how he had spent the last couple of days.

    The face of the woman drained of blood, and without even saying goodbye to the explorer, she opened a portal, and left at the speed of light.

    The Explorer did not take offence for the woman's apparently rude behaviour, as he more than anybody else, knew how of the importance that the matter which he had just reported, actually had.

    Once the judge left, the Explorer was about to leave as well, but then, he noticed the massive corpse that had been built from the numerous bodies and ghosts of the dead. He could feel the different types of immortal essence which the many bodies emanated, and after entering a pensive state for a few moments, he approached it.

    Now in front of the giant, he slowly moved his hand towards its chest.

    The hand went through the solid skin of the giant like a knife through butter. In fact, saying a knife through water would be even more accurate, as there was absolutely no resistance to the man's immense strength.

    As the man's arm entered the large body all the way to his shoulder, he immediately pulled the arm back, and with it, he pulled the necromancer as well. He was holding her by her robe, causing her to hang by his hand.

    Tirah looked at the man with sheer terror.. She did not know why this man could have had against her, or why all of this was happening in front of her, but just as she was about to beg for her life, the man said "Did you bring those people back from the dead?" his tone was inquisitive, but not menacing.

    "Yes.." she muttered with a feeble voice.

    "Good. You're coming with me." Said the man before opening a portal, and leaving along with the necromancer. The moment the portal closed, the giant corpse turned into a massive gooey clump of molten flesh.

    Daniel looked at the dragon with confusion. He was hoping to understand what was going on.. But he found a lot more information after turning to look at Aeron, which was standing with eyes opened wide, and a mouth covered by the mask opened even wider.

    "What is going on?" Daniel asked, after getting Aeron's attention with a poke to his shoulder.

    "I think I know what that man was talking about.." Muttered Aeron with horror. He was in a state of shock, and he could barely avoid stuttering.

    Daniel had never seen Aeron in this state. He was always composed, and when he wasn't, was due to the terrible effects caused by his gifts, which forced him to feel the pain, anger, and sufferings of other people.. But even then, he was usually able to control himself. "What did he mean?" Asked Daniel in clear confusion.

    The person gave Daniel a response was not Aeron, but the dragon instead, which after turning back to its humanoid shape, had approached him from the side, and said "It means first contact with a new species.."

    The way the universal government expanded, was by exploring the universe in all directions in hope to find new worlds to exploit.. But sometimes, along with these new galaxies, entire new species would be also found.

    Most of the times, these populations would be underdeveloped, and just like the beasts of Daniel's world of origin, they would not know anything outside of their own little planet.. To those forms of life, the first level of the xeno protocol was given.

    The civilizations which possessed a culture as evolved as that of an isolated planet, was assigned the second level, while to those who had already found out how to explore the space, but stayed within the boundaries of their solar system, was given the third level.

    To the civilizations that were capable of traveling through their galaxy, the fourth level was assigned.. And finally, to those which possessed the ability to travel through the empty space, between multiple galaxies, and were overall as powerful as the factions present within the universal government, were treated as encounters of the fifth level.

    Every single one of the factions present within the universal government, had been discovered by the explorers, and at first, had been evaluated as an encounter of the fifth level. They would then be forced to submit by the superior power of the government.

    There was also another level of the xeno protocol.. One which indicated a situation that had only been seen once before, and which had caused the very universal government to be created.

    That, was the sixth level of the xeno protocol.

    What the sixth level of the xeno protocol indicated, was that a domain as powerful as the universal government itself, had been discovered.. And that, was what had happened.

    The explorer which the three of them had just seen, had been sent to explore a sector of unexplored space called B182. There, he had clashed against beings which did not belong to the universal government. These beings were powerful enough to force him to flee, and since the explorers were amongst the most powerful beings in the entire government, that meant that the group of these warriors were part of, was likely to have even stronger beings.

    That was the reason why the explorer hadn't waited for even a moment before calling the judge, and give his report.

    Of course, the fact that a new civilization had been discovered, did not mean that there would be an all out war right away, but that, at least in the higher spheres of the universal government, the situation would be extremely tense for the following few years.

    "What effects will this cause?" Asked Daniel with curiosity. He had never heard about the xeno protocol, and therefore, he didn't know what the behaviour of a newly found civilization would tend to be.

    "The explorer was attacked.. Probably on sight.. There will be some long and difficult negotiation. In the worst case scenario.. A large scale war." Responded Aeron after calming himself down.

    Daniel was extremely surprised, and yet, he had also hoped that the karmic retribution hadn't started a galactic-scaled war for the sake of punishing the necromancer.

    It was only after listening to the story, that Daniel had understood why the explorer had kidnapped the girl. She had shown the ability to reanimate the dead, and the man had likely decided to take the girl with him so that he could have a way to gather information after killing one of the agents of the newly found civilization.

    These events had broadened Daniel's horizons, which until now, were locked on the fact that the universal government was a superior existence, and that nothing of a similar strength could ever possibly exit.. Now, he knew better.

    More than ever before, Daniel felt the need to become stronger, and find his friends before anything bad would happen.

    After a few minutes spent deep in his thoughts, Daniel was about to say a few words to the dragon before bidding farewell and leaving with Aeron, but before he could speak, the dragon turned to look at him, and said "So, are we going to hunt for the chosen of Iewah or not? Hehe.."
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