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287 Unrequited Love

    Of the thousands of factions, there was a small portion which was not ruled by an entity which was able to gifts to its strongest followers. A few of those factions, for example, were the draconic dynasty.. as well as the mercenary faction, and the merchant faction.

    While these three factions did not have any elites, their numbers made up for the generally lower power of its members. In fact, many of the powerful warriors which were denied a gift in the other factions, would end up being employed by the mercenary, merchant, and other factions formed by power and money, and focused on the the pursuit of power and money.

    These factions were usually not allowed to join the competition for unexplored territories, so whenever there was a planet left drifting through space all by itself, these second class factions would fight for it.. As the other factions had no use to them. One example of this, was the city in the asteroid which Daniel, Aeron, and Xargy had been to a month earlier.

    These planets were moving constantly, and that caused them to be extremely difficult to reach through teleportation. Generally speaking, in the grand scheme of things, these planets were mostly unknown.. While at the same time being stations of extreme importance to all of the solar systems close to it.

    Part of the territory of the merchant faction, was a planet called Golden Nugget.. A world made for commerce, and governed by numerous powerful houses of merchants.. That was the reason for the name 'The House of Merchants'.

    -----

    "Tell me again why I can't come?" Asked Xargy with an annoyed tone. He had been asked to stay behind while Daniel and Aeron exchanged some item for enough perfect crystals to cultivate, and in case Daniel did not receive the notification about the destruction of the Garden of Death, initiate their plan B right away.

    "Again.. You told me. There is probably people powerful enough to recognize you as a royal of the dragons. I don't know about you, but I'm not eager to meet the Tamer anytime soon." Responded Daniel with a fair bit of annoyance. Xargy had pestered him with the same question for the past fifty thousand kilometers, and it appeared that there was no end in sight.

    Almost as if cursing at himself, Xargy gave up, and muttered "Fine.. But take the brat with you.. If he asks me to play another game.. I'll roast him alive."

    "Sure.." said Daniel with an amused smile. He knew that Xargy had been impressed by the kid's intelligence way more than he and Aeron had been.. After all, as a scholar himself, he could not ignore a true genius.

    The reason why Xargy had requested that they took the kid, was because he wanted him to see more of the universe. He would not be able to find his drive to cultivate, if all he saw around him was a trio of friendly cultivators which had no intention of doing any harm to him.

    He had felt the pain.. What he needed, was the experience.

    The kid, whose name the three learned to be Virgil, was of course happy to finally visit a new planet. For him the concept of space travel was not new, as he had lived in a moving asteroid for all of his life.. Therefore, exploring the deep ends of the universe along with his brother, and learn about the technological advancement of each civilization, had always been a dream of his.

    Now that he had finally managed to fulfill his dream, while saddened by the fact that his brother was not with him, he decided to reinforce his determination by promising to himself that he would enjoy the experience for both himself and his brother.

    After hearing these thoughts take from in the mind of this young kid, Daniel and Aeron could not help but smile in satisfaction. Growing up fast was never a bad thing in a universe where cultivation was all that mattered. The less time one passed as a harmless child, the better it was.

    Once the three finished with their preparation, Daniel created a bubble of air in which Virgil could breath, and turned his planet into a small ball which he then put into his spatial ring. At the same time, Xargy floated towards one of the massive meteors which followed the trail of the fast moving planet, and sat down in wait.

    While now a cultivator, Virgil was still not powerful enough to survive the hostile outer space, so he needed the support of Daniel or Aeron to survive until they managed to enter the atmosphere of the House of Merchants.

    Daniel, Aeron and Xargy were able to enter the planet fairly easily, as the defences set in place by the merchant's faction were more on the line of "powerful cultivators that resided within the territory" than the more common "keeper of key that guarded the entrance".

    After a quick control, they were let in without a problem.

    The reason for this visit, was to acquire enough perfect crystals for the four of them to cultivate, so their first objective was to find a where they could sell their items. That task was assigned to Aeron, which could delve into the memories and thoughts of a person in order to make sure that they were not dishonest traders that would sell them the moment they offered their items.

    At the same time, Daniel and Virgil were in charge of walk around to buy a few essentials for the kid to survive.

    In the past month, Virgil had used a small portion of a perfect crystal in order to reach the third rank of spiritual, and martial cultivation. His talent was not the worst, and he could understand the theory behind cultivation faster than anybody Daniel had met before.. But unfortunately, he was not that kind of genius.

    His level of genius, while different, was comparable to Jerigh's talent in cultivation, and Roley's affinity to elemental essences.

    At the moment, the two were looking to buy clothes, training weapons, martial skill tomes, spell tomes, and low level essence spheres which Virgil could use in his cultivation.

    "What is it, never been on an open market?" Daniel asked while strolling next to the kid, which seemed to be looking at the items placed on the numerous booths with eyes opened wide in surprise.

    The city where Virgil had spent the first nine years of his life did not have much but technologically advanced objects, and therefore, he had never seen a city so clean, and even flowers were rare. Most of the city in the asteroid was made of metal and stone, and the view became quickly boring to most of its inhabitants.

    "What are these?" Virgil asked by moving his hands into specific signs.

    While he knew that if he simply thought of the question, Daniel would be able to hear it, he was not used to it.. And before the question could form in his constantly working head, his hands would have already finished.

    "Alchemical instruments. Not the field of technology which you are used seein I guess." Responded Daniel while turning around, and looking for a stall which would sell the items that the two had come to buy.

    His eyes landed on a booth filled with books, behind which was a twenty years old beautiful girl with simple clothes. She was reading a book, while ignoring a cultivator who seemed to have more interest in her than the books she was selling.

    The cultivator was dressed elegantly, and yet he seemed to be losing patience by the second.

    After making sure that Virgil was not creating trouble, and was simply looking through the items without disturbing the owner of the booth, Daniel approached the book seller in silence.

    "Why not? Am I not attractive enough for you?" Said the cultivator with a plaintive tone. He seemed to be actually hurt by the fact that the woman was ignoring him, and that suggested that the two likely knew each other.

    "I've seen you with that girl yesterday.. I am not interested in guys who sleep around." responded the girl while refusing to even take her eyes off of the book, and turning the page.

    The face of the man was confused beyond words, but then, after a sudden moment of realization, he shouted "That was my cousin! Come on! Just listen to reason for once!"

    After hearing the unapologetic words that came from the cultivator, she suddenly closed her book, and slapped it on the table. She then said while turning to look at the approaching Daniel "Enough! Laeve, I have customers."

    Daniel's clothes weren't those of a rich man. He was wearing a piece of leather armor that covered his heart and held by three straps that went around his chest, and normal looking looking black shirt underneath, with black pants, and black boots.

    What he did not have in elegance, he had in valiancy.

    "Hello, I am looking for a few books." Said Daniel after approaching the booth, and walking past the cultivator as if he wasn't there.

    After looking at Daniel from a closer perspective, the girl found herself staring at him in awe. His serious expression and good manners were unexpected, especially from someone that appeared to be the personification of a mercenary in light armor.

    "Hey! Did you not see that I was here before you?" said the cultivator after trying to grab Daniel's arm. Unfortunately, the moment his fingers were about to touch Daniel's body, they slid through the air, and he grabbed the emptiness a few centimeters away. "..what.."

    The cultivator tried a couple more times, but before he could demand for an explanation, the owner of the  booth looked at him with a glare capable of killing, and said "STOP BOTHERING MY CUSTOMERS!"

    For Daniel, this wasn't an odd event. Most sellers would get angry when someone tried to interrupt one of their transactions, but to the cultivator, to be yelled at by this particular girl, was extremely odd. The two had known each other for a very long time, and while he had never had success in courting her, she would reject him coldly, and never angrily.

    He turned to look at the girl with eyes filled with shock, and the moment he saw her smiling at Daniel politely.. Another thing that he had never seen her do before, a few thoughts started to form in his mind.

    "You are too muscular for a magician.. What kind of books are you interested in? I don't have many martial skills, but you are welcome to look through my inventory for as long as you want." said the girl with a little more politeness than what was custom between seller and customer.

    Daniel ignored the girl's behaviour, and said "Actually, I am looking for tomes and spell books regarding time, space, wood, and metal essence."

    While wood and metal were common items, tomes which described spells regarding time and spatial essence were extremely rare. So when he finished listing the items he needed, he noticed that he had left both the owner and the cultivator dumbfounded.

    "Uhm.. I.. of course. I have these five books.. Three which describe the known faces of space and time, and two battle spells. They are my most expensive tomes." Responded the girl after regaining her wits. From the way he was dressed, Daniel seemed to be more comfortable with a sword, or two daggers than fighting by controlling time and space.

    "How much are they?" Daniel asked after picking up a few books about metal and wood essence, and adding them to the pile.

    The girl had never taken an order as big before, so she was unsure of what Daniel's reaction to the price would be.. She really did not want Daniel to be angry at her, as other than being attracted by him, she also had an extremely good impression of his character.

    "As these are my most expensive books, their price combined is twelve hundred perfect crystals."

    Daniel expected a large price, as tomes could only be written by individuals with a deep comprehension of the essence.. But unfortunately, he was not able to afford them. Yet, without the slightest amount of embarrassment, he said "Can you keep them aside, I'll come pick them up later."

    The cultivator could barely hold his laughter. He was looking at Daniel as if he was looking at an idiot, and in his mind, he believed that Daniel was simply trying to court the owner of the booth, and that he had failed miserably.

    The girl was not disappointed, and with a big smile, she said "Of course. I'll close for lunch, but for yo- But I will be opened all evening."

    Once again, Daniel ignored the girl's mumbling, and left after smiling politely.

    As he disappeared in the crowd, the cultivator approached the booth, and said while sucking his teeth ".. That is the oldest play in the book.. Too bad it backfired on him.." He then forgot about Daniel, and after turning towards the girl, he said "We were saying.. Will you come with me to the auction at least??"

    "FINE!!" Shouted the girl, attracting more attention than intended "As long as I don't see you here after lunch!"
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