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269 Edge of the Known Space - Expedition

    "I can do that?" Daniel asked to Xargy with eyes open wide in surprise. He had always thought that he would need to rely on his system, or on his own power.. but now that the dragon had revealed that there could be a third option for him, he couldn't help but be interested in it.

    After listening to the words of the dragon, Aeron, which was quietly sitting next to Daniel, finally interrupted his silence by saying "Don't put too much weight on his words.. That's a common theory, but I know for a fact that in the past, one of Iewah's children has been captured by one of the leaders of the factions, which tried to force his own gifts into his body. The result was a painful death.. Word is that nothing remained of the body."

    Even without being reminded of it, Daniel had not taken Xargy's words too seriously, as there was no actual proof that what he had said could happen. After all, the dragon was talking in theory.

    Daniel was about to say something, but Xargy beat him to it. He turned to look at Aeron with confusion, and asked "Why do you call them Children of Iewah?" The fact that the children of Iewah were actually Iewah's offspring, was a secret within most of the universe. That was why the elite members of the other factions simply referred to them as 'Chosen of Iewah'.

    Instead of answering, Aeron turned to look at Daniel, which shrugged his shoulders and waved his hand carelessly, implying that if he wished to, he could share the information he had about Daniel's former faction, with whoever he wanted to.

    After receiving Daniel's permission, Aeron explained everything he knew about Iewah's gifts to Xargy, which the more he heard, the more surprised became. As Aeron reached the point where Daniel had taken back control over his body, the dragon looked at the mental warrior like a kid that was listening to a storyteller.

    It was just a case that Aeron had managed to find out about Sewah's presence inside Daniel's mind. Most of the hosts would be devoured way before they would end up encountering their first mental warrior.. Just like The Tamer, which had evolved her own system while trying to take control over the dragon kin, and when she met her first elite warrior from the Psionic Dimension or any other mental power-based faction, had long died.

    "So it is possible!!" exclaimed the dragon with enthusiasm. "A gift is part of you.. And if what you are saying is true, Iewah's gifts are self-sufficient since the moment they reach a certain level.. Of course it didn't work before! It's because they are the gift!!"

    The dragon became pensive for a few moments, then, he added with excitement "Gifts are like weapons permanently attached to your body.. Just like swords which have been fused with it. Iewah's gift happens to be a gift with a mind, but it doesn't matter if a sword has consciousness or not, you can't give a sword to another sword to use! On the other hand, you are human, and by using the system's personality, you have been borrowing his sword.. If that is correct, there should be no reason why you shouldn't be able to obtain a second one!"

    After he finished speaking, the dragon went back into his pensive state. He was trying to pry into his memories in hope to find useful information, but the result of this search, was a disappointed look. "If only there was a way to make sure of that, that wouldn't kill you on the spot."

    Daniel was about to mention the fact that that might not be a problem for him, but after a moment of consideration, he decided to stay quiet. He didn't know the dragon well enough, and even if he did, and he decided to share his secret abilities with him, there was no guarantee that he would not share them with others if he was captured. Also, there were no leaders of faction ready in line to test the dragon's theories.

    -----

    One day earlier, Sector B182

    This particular part of space was completely quiet and uneventful, just like most of the space which was not traveled, however, this was not any random patch of space in between galaxies.. This was the border of the domain of the universal government, better known as the edges of the known space.

    Usually nothing would happen in this area, but that particular day, in a particular point in space, a few portals had appeared. From them, various scouts and warriors stepped out quietly. These individuals, were explorers of the universal government.. And had come, along with a few elite members of the army, to conduct some research about the report which indicated a first contact of the sixth level in the area.

    Amongst this large group of incredibly powerful warriors, was the middle aged explorer which Daniel and Aeron had encountered, and next to him, was the terrified necromancer.

    Just like Aeron, Tirah was an entity which had lived in the universe for more than two centuries, and therefore, she was more than aware of what the words 'Xeno Protocol' meant. When the explorer had asked her what kind of power she had, she had already guessed what he would have done with her.

    Just as she had expected, the explorer had taken her into custody so that she could help him and the other officers of the universal government, with understanding the unknown power better.

    "Who is that?" Asked a woman clad in plate armor, and with a large bow strapped behind her back. She was being followed by a few more heavy armored warriors with similarly large weapons, who she appeared to be leading.

    The explorer turned towards the woman with an indifferent look, and while picking a piece of rock from his large beard, he said "She is none of your business, that's who she is." His tone was not irritated nor hostile, it seemed like these forms of exchanges amongst different parties were as common as cloud in the sky.

    One of the warriors that followed the heavy armored woman moved two steps towards the explorer, and shouted in anger "How dare you talk to the captain like that! You dirty explorer! APOLOGISE IMMEDIATELY!" at the same time, he had grabbed the massive sword that was hanging from his waist.

    The explorer ignored the enraged man completely, and that caused him to become even more infuriated. He took another step in his direction while unsheathing his sword, but just as the explorer entered the range of his sword, four more individuals appeared in between the two.

    This group of four individuals was composed of three men, and a woman. One of the men was a classical mage. He was old in age, had a long white beard, and just as long hair. He was wearing a baggy dark blue robe, and in his hand, he was holding a three meters long staff on which at least seven spheres were encrusted.

    Each of these spheres was of a different color and gave a very specific vibe, and yet, no essence was emanated from them unless the mage allowed them to. These seven spheres were perfect spheres of wind, water, fire, metal, wood, earth, and lightning.

    Next to him, was what looked like a human, but with something inhuman about him. He was a massive man with overly developed muscels showed by his lack of shirt. His pants seemed to be threatening to rip apart, and the uncovered part of his body, was covered in long black hair, through which the skin could be seen.

    The woman was dressed in black skin-tight clothes, on which dozens of knives were put in various straps that went around her waist and thighs. On her lower back, two shortshortsword were sheathed one above the other within hand reach. Her long voluminous hair and bangs did not allow others to see her face, except for her bright red lips.

    The fourth and last individual was wearing a light brown dust double-breasted coat, underneath which was a thin layer of leather armor. His neck, hands, and head, were completely wrapped in white bandages, except for his eye, on which he wore a pair of thick goggles. In his left hand, and resting on his shoulder, was a long weapon made out of wood and metal, which looked like a musket.

    These four individuals were all explorers, and of course, were on the side of the bearded middle aged man.

    After the four arrived, the soldier stopped with his enraged behaviour, and floated back in position behind his captain. He could not stand any rude behavior in front of his leader, but that did not mean that he would start a battle amongst groups, for an offense that his captain herself hadn't taken to heart.

    Once the warrior walked back, the four approached the bearded man, and as they regrouped, the mage said with a husky voice "You are always making enemies.. It's fifty thousand years that I've known you, and you've never found a soldier you could treat decently."

    "You are way older than I am.. You know well that spies and soldiers do not mix." muttered the bearded man while scratching his neck, and checking a map he had taken from within his spatial ring the moment the four had arrived.

    "For one, I like his methods.. And his rude behaviour.." Said the woman assassin while approaching the bearded man, and putting one of her elbows on his shoulder.

    The bearded man ignored the woman's actions, which caused her to stop, and float back with an faint smile on her face. She had tried to tease the bearded man many times since the day the two of them had met, but not once had he responded, or was he hooked by her flirty behaviour.

    At first, she had been furious about it, but after a few hundred failed attempts in tens of thousands of years, it had become a tradition for her to try her luck whenever the two met. It was a way to cope for the centuries which they would have to spend all by themselves during their individual missions.

    The enormous hairy man looked around with indifference, while the sniper, after noticing the young girl next to the bearded man, asked "So, who is the brat?"

    "A kid of the tree." Responded the bearded man without turning away from the map. He was creating a path with his finger in order to use the surrounding stars to avoid losing themselves in the unknown sector of space.

    The last time he had been here, warriors as powerful as him had attacked him in a large group, and he had only managed to escape thanks to the apparition of the rift. The same could not happen again.. If they ended up being in trouble, they needed a direction in which to attempt a retreat.. After all, he couldn't count on the fact that another rift would open whenever he was in danger.

    "A kid of the tree? You mean the damn tree?!" Asked the mage with surprise.

    "Yeah, I've found her right after the encounter with the warriors of the alien group. She will be of use." Responded the bearded man while finishing to trace a path on the map. Once he was done, he turned to look at the captain, and said "I will lead this party. Follow us, and obey my orders."

    An odd expression appeared on the captain's face, which said "I am of a higher rank. Should I not lead the expedition?" Her tone was calm, and yet there was a threatening vibe which weighted behind her words.

    The bearded man, which until now was indifferent about the behaviour of the soldiers, turned towards the woman with clear irritation, and said "This is an espionage mission, not a battlefield. You know nothing of the Xeno Protocol, and a sixth level threat is not something on which the pompous daughter of a general can make practice. Now, shut up and follow."
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