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298 A Joyful Apocalypse Part 1

    Ever since the auction in Golden Nugget, Daniel had had more than enough crystals to cultivate, and thanks to the massive amount of karma points which he had gained during his last few adventures, he was able to upgrade his system more and more, and therefore, increase his speed in cultivation.

    In the year in which he had taken back control over his body, he had managed to cultivate past the mid eighth stage of immortal cultivation which Sewah had left it to, and was now at the peak of the ninth stage. The amount of karma required to increase his power at the moment was in the billions per month spent cultivating, and the cost in crystals was nothing but impressive.

    An analogy often used by experts to explain to their students how immortal cultivation worked, was that cultivating was like filling a large bowl with droplets of water. The resources of cultivation were droplets of water that, if kept being poured, would ultimately fill the bowl.. If one stopped pouring water, the one contained in the bowl would sooner or later dry out, and the body would go back at the earliest state of the stage of cultivation that they had reached.

    The speed in which the bowl was filled by the droplets of water, was the person's talent.

    What 'Time is Precious' did for Daniel, was to increase the speed to which the droplets of water were poured into his bowl, and therefore, speed his poor natural talent in cultivation. That was the reason why Daniel and his companions possessed the same amount of power which, theoretically speaking, only a person who had cultivated for hundreds of years should have had.

    An example of this, was Aeron, which was hundreds of years old, but only had a cultivation at the late ninth stage of immortal cultivation.

    However, the reason why Aeron's cultivation was that low, was not because of his lack in talent, but because his time was split between increasing his immortal cultivation, and cultivating his mind, which was a power that required much more time in order to be strengthened.

    The biggest progresses that Aeron had made in the cultivation of the mind in the past two hundred years, had been made during the time he had spent with Daniel, hunting for the demons of the Church of Damnation, and killing evil cultivators.

    Originally these demons would be his worst enemies, but now that he was able to receive the boost in power from Daniel's system, he was able to get used to the psychological torture that he had to withstand whenever he met one, in a third of the time. This had allowed him to use the horror of which these demons fed off of, to strengthen his own mind.

    The rankings amongst the elite members of the Psionic Dimension were, just like those of most other factions, split into four levels. Each level was used to differentiate the member's progress in the cultivation of their gifts. These levels were low, mid, high, and perfect.

    The cultivation of a mental warrior of the Psionic Dimension, on the other hand, was split into five levels. The first level of mental cultivation was called Strong Mind, and was the stage which mental warriors who did not possess the gift of the leader of the Psionic Dimension would be at. Other than the members of the Psionic Dimension, those who belonged to other mental centered factions were also at this stags. Daniel, was also at the Strong Mind stage.

    Those at the Strong Mind stage were able to read other people's mind, and to attach their minds to their bodies and spirit.. One of the most notorious effects of this stage, was the ability to keep one's bearings whenever time was being rewinded, and resist low level mental manipulation.

    The second level, better known as the first stage of the Psionic Dimension's gift, was called Mental Embodiment, and allowed the cultivator to see the memories of another human, as well as empathize with his feelings and emotions. The cultivators at this stage were considered low level elites of the Psionic Dimension.

    The second stage of the Psionic Dimension's gift was called Psychic Evolution, and was the stage where mid level elite members were able to force their mind to evolve into avatars, as well as use their mental power to affect the minds of other people. This, was the stage to which Aeron belonged.

    Finally, the following two stages were called Mental Merging, reserved for those cultivators who had managed to fully merge their consciousness to their avatars, and become beings of a mental nature, instead of beings of flesh and bones... and finally, Ascension, which was reserved for those who had fully solidified their avatar into a physical being which acted as their true and superior body.

    Thanks to the help of Daniel's system, Aeron was able to reach the late ninth stage of immortal cultivation, as well as being close to the point where he would be able to merge his consciousness with his avatar.

    Xargy, on the other hand, had only been able to cultivate through the use of the two gems which Daniel had given to him, and while they were extremely powerful cultivation resources, the only effect that two gems had had, was to strengthen Xargy's body by a very small margin, and further strengthen his flames.

    After discovering the practical use of cultivation, Virgil had also focused on it wholeheartedly. His free time was spent playing chess with Daniel, who Virgil had chosen to keep him company, and creating contraptions thanks to his comprehension of the natural essences.

    A month later, the four had finally managed to reach the next planet owned by the Church of Damnation.

    Daniel's entire knowledge about the location and the power of the demons which occupied the planets he visited, were entirely taken by the demons he tortured, as well as from the neighbouring planets. Of course, Xargy was to thank if they were able to survive the encounter with stronger demons, whenever one of the captured demons would lie to him.

    Daniel shrunk the planet on which the four were traveling on, and put it, along with Virgil, inside one of the pocket dimensions he had created. He then approached the planet with a human-shaped Xargy, and Aeron.

    Just like any other planet which belonged to the Church of Damnation, this planet did not have a keeper of key. Each keeper of key was supposed to keep people outside of the planet, but since two demons could not effectively share the sufferings of a planet without hindering each other's cultivation, the role had disappeared in their faction. This allowed people to come and go as they pleased.

    Naturally, if an intruder was found by the demon that was stationed in the planet, it would be the demon's right to kill him without any form of repercussion.

    This planet was highly advanced, and remind Daniel of Ton Bes, the base of the Poisonous Rose. The buildings were made of cement, and the ground had been paved with a solid black mixture which Daniel had never seen before. However, Daniel could not feel any particularly powerful herbal smell, nor see any indication that this could be a planet focused on alchemy and poison making.

    While the cities were advanced, they were also empty, and an eerie feeling would creep down the back of whomever would be courageous enough to walk around them alone at night.

    The vegetation that had grown by the sides of the streets, and the rusty metallic poles that were standing eight meters tall, made it clear to the three of them that the city was abandoned, and that it was unlikely that anybody lived in it anymore.

    "They know how to choose them.." Muttered Aeron while turning to look at the impressive constructions who stood hundreds of meters tall, as well as the metallic contraptions which stood in line in the middle of the street.

    "I have seen this sort of development before.." Said Daniel while suddenly remembering the abandoned cities of the corrupted wasteland. The only difference was that this planet did not seem to be corrupted, and that it appeared to be extremely well suited for human life.

    The three walked through the large streets towards the center of the city for a few hours, until finally, Xargy smelled the approaching of a human a few kilometers away.

    Left with no choice but to find out what had caused this state of desolation, the three walked into the grid of massive buildings, and towards the source of the smell that Xargy had felt.

    -----

    Ten minutes earlier.

    Hidden in the dark corner of a hall in the fourteenth floor of one of the tallest building on the city, were five young men, and two young women. All of them were dressed in dirty shirts, tank tops, and utility pants, on their backs were large backpacks, and in their hands, were different types of guns.

    "How many do you have left?" Asked one of the two young women who also appeared to be at the lead of the group. She was tying her long hair into a ponytail while holding a two handed gun in between her thighs.

    After hearing the girl's question, the rest of her group checked their own weapons.

    "One mag left.." Said the oldest of the young men.. a man with dark brown hair, and thick glasses.

    The second men in mimetic attire took his backpack off of his shoulders, and put the firearm into it. He then took a machete out of it, and said "I'm out. I'll go for melee from now on."

    The second girl nervously checked her own weapon while desperately trying to keep her bleeding right arm hidden from the rest of her group. Moments later, she said with a trembling voice "H-half a m-magazine.."

    "I'm out too.."

    "I'm out too.."

    Responded two short young men dressed in identical clothes after checking their own weapons. These two young men were twins, and if not for the distinctive dirt that was plastered on their clothes, they would be indistinguishable.

    The last of the young men was dark skinned, and seemed to be past the two meters in height. He was holding a black sports bag, which from how tense the strings were, one could assume that it was the heaviest of their baggages. "Ok." He said with a deep voice after checking the container of his machine gun's munitions.

    While this group of seven made an inventory of what they had to work with, numerous loud banging sounds could be heard coming from a large metallic double door, along with a constant moaning.

    "We are stuck here.. This is the fourteenth floor.." Said the man in glasses while looking out of a wall made of glass.

    "We don't have enough bullets to push our way through where we came from.." responded the man in mimetic attire. He was worryingly looking at the door, which was trembling due to the pressure caused by the banging.

    The girl with the ponytail, which had finally been able to check the bullets left in her own weapon, looked around the hall with focused eyes, which only stopped after landing on a red panel placed on the side of one of the hall's pillar.

    "How long was a fire hose reel again?" She asked while turning to look at the man in military attire.

    "Around thirty-five meters." Responded the man while moving a desk in front of the door, in an attempt to slow whatever was banging at the door from bursting through.

    "Still not long enough. Vanessa, do you still have that rope I gave you earlier?" She then asked while turning to look at the nervous young girl, which after hearing her words, quickly nodded, and took a thin climbing rope out of her backpack.

    "Oh please God.. no. You are not thinking what I am thinking, right?" Asked the man in glasses as the girl with the ponytail grabbed the rope from the other girl's hands, and walked towards the red panel.
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