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285 They Walk Into a Bar..

    While the kid could not talk, just from being able to hear his thoughts, Daniel was able to learn that he possessed an intelligence off the charts. His thought process was unlike that of any other kid his age, and he was able to understand, assess, and react almost instantly to most situations.

    The idea that had lead to his parent's invention, and that ultimately was the cause of their death, had been inspired by a question that the kid himself had gestured to his mother, when the two were unsure of how to proceed with their project.

    That lead Daniel to believe that if he was forced to use the ki flag for help, he must have been truly desperate, and out of options.

    Originally, when the kid had just woken up, he had believed Daniel to be the friend of his family which should have come to the siblings' aid if he used the ki flag entrusted by his parents, but it didn't take long for such an intelligent kid to understand that that was not the case.

    His parents had been betrayed twice.. One time when they had sent the invention to their contact which should have "kept it safe", and once when the siblings had used the ki flag..

    The ki flag was supposed to call for help in case something happened to the two inventors, but instead, it did nothing signal their position to the individual that had betrayed them.. Which sent a group of goons to kill the two kids, and retrieve any odd objects in their possession.

    Daniel could remember perfectly well the day when his family had received the news that his father had perished in war, as well as the day when he had come back home to a deceased mother, and crying sister.. But even though he had gone through the pain of loss himself, he knew that his experience and that of the kid were completely different.

    What made the two situations different was that Daniel had someone who, when he had started to blame himself for the death of each of his parents, had reminded him that it wasn't his fault.

    Unfortunately, that was not the same for the kid.

    Naturally, being reassured by somebody whose opinion had no value, was not the same as being consoled by a member of your family, so Daniel was not direct in his attempt to console the kid. Instead, he quietly cultivated in the small garden next to the city, and listened to the kid's mind go down a spiral of depression and sadness.

    Whenever Daniel felt the need to, he would visit the kid, and try to fix his train of thoughts through some methods.. One of which, was playing chess.

    Chess was a game common in Gai'ha and Lucius's word of origin. It was a strategy game meant to dominate the opponent through the use of different pieces, and the two players needed to complete with their intellect in order to be victorious.

    At first the kid simply looked as Daniel and Aeron played, but after understanding the nature of the game, he decided to play a game with Daniel when he was waiting for Aeron to arrive for their daily games.

    The first game was a test to see if the kid had understood the rules correctly, but to Daniel's surprise, the kid had already learned the rules perfectly by observing the two play, and he knew what each piece was able to do, and how to use each move to chip at the opponent's forces.

    The result of the first game was, to Daniel, a reminder of how brilliant this kid was.. So much so that Daniel had barely win thanks to the kid's inexperience, and misunderstanding of the game's goal.. But the second game, was completely different.

    Daniel could only keep up with the kid's tremendously fast thinking process by reading his mind, which helped him with avoiding one loss after the other.

    At the end of the tenth game, the kid was beginning to feel irritated. Daniel could see that he was losing interest in chess, as according to what he was thinking, he couldn't stand the fact that there was a way that allowed people to cheat, which he was not aware of.

    Daniel had introduced the game of chess to this kid exactly for this reason, and now that the kid had finally gotten to that point, he said out loud "You are not wrong.. I have many ways to cheat at this game.. To be fair, you had no chance of winning to begin with.." He then let the sentence sink in for a few moment, and once he saw that the kid was ready, he added "Sometimes, things are out of our control.. Your last move could not change the fact that the game was rigged all along."

    After he finished speaking, he stood up from the chair, and left the kid alone.

    While Daniel was not as smart as the kid was, he was still very intelligent. He knew that if he tried to console the kid, he would not be able to get through him because they had no attachment to each other.. So he had to find another way. That way was to trigger a moment of realization within the kid's mind, and make it so that the logic of which the kid was so fond of, would force him in the right path.

    The kid was now sitting in silence, and looking at the pieces of chess.. The game which his parents had played their whole lives, was rigged.. They had been cheated.. To call for help was simply the last bad moved of the game. So why did he have to hate himself? If they were going to die anyway.. Why was his fault that his family was dead?

    That small spark of anger and thirst for revenge that had shined within the kid's mind when Aeron delved into it, was now growing exponentially.. And turning into hate.

    When the kid finally made his resolve to avenge his family, he looked back at the table where he and Daniel had just finished playing chess, and there, he found a cultivation manual, and a perfect crystal.

    -----

    Unnamed planet, Iewah's territory.

    "Father! How can I help you in this fine evening?" Said a man which appeared to be in his mid thirties, and was wearing a set of noble's clothes. His wrists, neck, and ears, were covered by jewels, and his own presence seemed to exude an overbearing wealth.

    He was talking to a massive tree which appeared to be as big as the planet itself.

    "..I am not alone.." Muttered a dark figure which creeped out of a large rock's shadow, and turned into a thin and tall individual.

    This man was covered in darkness, and no feature of his could be seen except for how tall he was, and his body type. From afar, he looked exactly like a moving shadow.

    The moment the eyes of both of these individuals found each other, they immediately began to shine of a faint golden color.. They did not know each other, and yet, they had never felt more desire to battle than they had now..

    The nobleman looked at the shadow, which was standing quietly in place, and said "Your cultivation is amazing.. Much more powerful than mine.. Let me buy it." He then took a small gold coin out of his pocket, and threw it at the dark silhouette.

    Once the coin landed next to the feet of the moving dark silhouette, the latter felt compelled to fall on his knees and grab the coin. He then stared at the coin in his hands with an expression that, if it could have been seen, would have caused anybody to feel uncomfortable. Happiness was not quite enough to describe it.. Not as much as obsession.

    "Nobody can resist my offers.. Hehe.. What a cheap bargain." Said the nobleman while approaching the kneeling shadow.. Once he reached him, he took a small scale out of one of his pockets, and said while showing his golden teeth with a bright smile "Here, I'll tell you exactly how much your life was worth.."

    The shadow disappeared from where it was, and reappeared in a miniaturized version on one of the two sides of the scale. The nobleman was looking at the small shadow with amusement, and after a moment, he began to put golden weights on the other side of the scale.

    For each weight added to the opposite side of the scale, the gravity on the side where the miniaturized shadow was standing, was increased by tenfold.. And after more than fifty weights, the shadow was unable to handle the pressure anymore, and was flattened into a regular looking shadow with no human attached to it.

    Once the shadow man died, the nobleman's cultivation went back to normal, and he resumed looking at the massive tree, and waiting for a response. Just moments passed before a hundred of small shadowy hands moved out of the nobleman's own shadow, and grabbed his legs firmly.

    The nobleman immediately tried to separate himself from this tiny arms, but the more he moved, the more he felt these hands pull his body inside his own shadow.

    As the nobleman was knees deep in, more hands emerged and grabbed his waist, his back.. His shoulders.. He was being completely swallowed by his own shadow, and no matter how much he struggled, he could not free himself.

    Just as he was about to be fully immersed, a coin appeared in his hand..

    Unable to use his arms, he used the strength of his finger to toss the coin next to the shadow, and once the coin landed on the ground, the body of the nobleman began to move in reverse.. along with the tiny hands which let him go, and disappeared back into his shadow.

    The nobleman immediately flew in the air, and muttered "That was a close one.. Hadn't I paid for my freedom.. What the hell was that place?" His voice contained a fair bit of shock, and he was now much more on guard than before.

    "It's not many people that get to see the beauty of the shadow realm.. You should feel honored" Said a disembodied voice that came in unison from all of the shadows present in the area.

    The nobleman turned to look at the many sources of the voice in search of the original body of his opponent, but not matter how much he looked, he could not find it. "Not that beautiful.. Here, let me show you what true beauty means." He said while taking two coins out of his pockets.

    ".. You will come to appreciate it.. You will spend the rest of your life there.. Leaving only your shadow behind." Said the disembodied voice as uncountable hands emerged from just as many shadows on the ground.

    The two were about to engage in battle once again, but before they could could act, a sudden voice reached them from afar. It said "Now now.. Behave brothers. It is not often that we are summoned by father." Said a young man in shiny golden armor which appeared in the airspace just a few kilometers away from the two.

    The shadow and the nobleman became wary of this third individual, and prepared for a larger fight than before..

    Unlike the others, this armored young man did not seem to want to fight at all costs, and instead, as soon as he floated closer to the two of them and noticed that they were ready to start a fight at any given moment, he said "I said behave.. It's an order."

    These few simple words were not spoken loudly, and yet, the moment they reached the ears of the black silhouette and the nobleman, their wary and combative state was dissipated, and they became calmer than they had ever been in their entire life.

    These three individuals were all children of Iewah, and their titles were the Shadow.. Whose system worked around the shadow realm, the Rich Man.. Which could buy anything, including a person's power, or his own life, and the Ruler.. whose orders had to be followed.

    Despite their calm state, the two were fully aware that they were under the effect of one of the Ruler's powers.. But their state of mind prevented them from starting a battle.

    Unfortunately, that did not mean that they were not allowed to calmly perform an action to get rid of this overbearing control.. So, the Rich Man calmly let go one of his coins he was holding in his hand, while the Shadow slowly dived into the shadow realm..

    As soon as the coin landed on the ground, and the body of the shadow was immersed completely, two different effects were activated, and they were freed from the orders of the Ruler.

    Once again the two felt their fighting spirit rise, and prepared to fight.. But before they could start.. The massive tree disappeared, and in its place, appeared an old man.
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