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309 Once a Snake, Always a Snake

    The reason why Daniel did not want to start any new mission, was because he knew that once they would be completed, there was a chance that Sewah go under another evolution. If that were to happen, he would have to fight not only against the enemies in front of him, but with those inside him as well.

    If there was any other choice, he would have gladly avoided doing it.

    "Look who finally decided to show up." muttered Sewah after months spent in complete silence. The state he was in was nothing but a shadow of what he was in the past, and he was forced to spend all of his time as a wisp of consciousness, under the constant threat of being devoured by Daniel's mind power.

    "Nice hearing from you, dear friend.. Why don't you make yourself useful and give me my choices?" responded Daniel while entering a dark cave which he had found in the oddly colored forest.

    "Fuck you. Ask for them yourself." Responded Sewah in anger, still annoyed by his situation.

    Daniel let out a faint laugh before focusing on the appearance of his choices, and causing for two windows to appear in his mind.

    ____________________________

    Open approach

    Difficulty: Extreme

    -Force your way into The Cathedral.

    -Kill Akazin, the Demon of the Golden Thread.

    -Kill the Demon Lord Dar'gon, leader of the Church of Damnation.

    -Free Aeron from the prison.

    -Free Xargy from enslavement.

    Time limit:

    1 year, 9 months, 22 days to Aeron's death.

    99 years, 11 months, 29 days, 22 hours to the transfer of Xargy's custody to the Tamer.

    (Requirements: High Immortal stage, hundredth phase.)

    Reward ???

    ____________________________

    Military approach

    Difficulty: Extreme

    -Find allies in Hell. (3 factions minimum.)

    -Use the allied forces to declare war on the Church of Damnation and their allies.

    -Kill the Demon Lord Dar'gon, leader of the Church of Damnation.

    -Free Aeron from the prison.

    -Free Xargy from enslavement.

    Time Limit:

    1 year, 9 months, 22 days to Aeron's death.

    99 years, 11 months, 29 days, 22 hours to the transfer of Xargy's custody to the Tamer.

    (Requirements: High Immortal stage, fifth phase.)

    Reward ???

    ____________________________

    Daniel looked at the two only choices given by the system with confusion. None of them were viable for him, so he muttered in dissatisfaction "Are these the only options I have? No stealthy approach? No negotiation?"

    "When you got control over your body back, the universe lost a warlord and gained an idiot.." muttered Sewah with a low voice, before adding "You are in the home of numerous beings who are considered threats that near my father's level. Did you really expect you could sneak your way in, or buy the other idiots back?"

    "FUCK!" Shouted Daniel at the peak of his voice, while also being careful that no sound could reach further than he could sense. He then looked back at the cave's entrance with a hint of doubt.

    In the twelve years that Daniel had spent with the Karmic System, the system had never lied to him.. If it gave him only two choices, and those two choices both required him to reach a certain level of cultivation, that meant that those two choices were the only available for him.

    Whenever he requested for his options to be given by the system, he would also receive other information which, at times, he did not even knew he needed.

    Taking the situation he was currently in as an example, thanks to the system Daniel had been able to learn what the name of the base of the Church of Damnation was, how long it would take before Aeron and Xargy were killed or sold off by their captors, and obtained a broader view about the political situation inside Hell.

    He had been given the choice to find allies, and that meant that there were demons inside Hell who despised the Church of Damnation enough to chose to fight alongside a human against them.

    Unfortunately, that also meant that he needed to gain power by transcending into high immortality, or for one reason or another, he would not be able to help his friends.

    "Damn in.." he muttered after finding himself helpless once again. He had been the center of attention of multiple factions, and yet, he was always forced to play on a league limited to his power.. Whenever he and his friends were forced to part due to an event outside of his control, he would feel a deep unwillingness, that if let to its course, would soon turn into anger, and consequently into a rash decision.

    No matter from which angle he looked at it.. He needed power more than anything else. Be it to destroy the Church of Damnation and save his friends, or to manage his way back to his family and loved ones.

    After what felt like an hour spent staring at the entrance of the cave, Daniel punched the rocky wall by his side, and caused the entire entrance to fall apart and close completely. He then turned to look at the depths of the cave, and started walking.

    While the cave appeared to be a normal cavern where low level beasts would hide for the night, that was far from the truth. The real depth of the cave was beyond the dozen kilometers, and lead deep underground.

    Unable to use his immortal essence due to the fear of being felt by the demons who were probably looking for him, Daniel could only walk the entire length of this underground path.. Which ended three and a half hours later in a rocky shelter, whose floor and roof were covered in stalagmites and stalactites.

    The only sound that resounded in this underground pocket, was that of the droplets of water that dripped from the roof and onto the mushy ground.. Meaning that the cave was uninhabited.

    Once sure that no one would find him there, Daniel removed one of his rings, and placed it at the top of one of the thinnest stalagmite.

    This ring was not a simple ring, but the one that worked as the connection between the outside universe, and the pocket dimension where Virgil and Hannah's group were currently in.

    After one last look at his surroundings, Daniel entered the ring.

    When he reappeared, he was standing in front of a house larger than the one he had left for Virgil. It was clear that his mute student had used his comprehension of wood essence to expand the house, and make more room for his six guests.

    Aside form the worry he felt for Aeron and Xargy, Daniel was also worried about Virgil. Not worried that something would happen to him while he cultivated, but that he would feel alone if he closed himself into cultivation for months at a time.

    It was only now that he had recalled that Vergil was not alone, that he felt reassured.

    He did not want to waste time explaining to Hannah's group how they had arrived there, so he decided to leave a message to Virgil in the form of sound essence which would travel directly into his ears.. but before he could do that, he heard a voice come from behind him.

    "Daniel?" Asked Hannah in surprise. She and George were carrying numerous branches from the small forest which Daniel had created for Virgil, all the way to the house.

    As soon as the word left her mouth, Virgil dashed out of his small house, and approached Daniel at a speed that only a cultivator at the peak of the first stage of immortal cultivation possessed. He then began to move his hands frantically.

    "Don't worry. Everything will be alright.. You will only have to spend some time with them while I cultivate.. I need you to be kind to them, and if you can, teach them how to cultivate." Responded Daniel while patting his head.

    Virgil made a second series of gestures, which caused Daniel's calm expression to darken. "I won't lie to you. They are in danger, but I will save them both. However, I could use your help.. So don't forget to keep cultivating."

    Whether it was Daniel's words, or Virgil's hand signs, they were both in a language that was foreign to Hannah's group.. So as soon as they notice the two stop talking, Hannah approached them, and asked "Daniel, what is going on? Where are we?"

    Daniel's time was very limited, but since these six people would have to be Virgil's companions for the next months, he could not simply disappear now that they had spotted him.

    Instead of explaining what had lead them into his pocket dimension, Daniel made a desk and a chair appear in front of him. On the desk, were numerous papers and a pen with ink next to it.

    Without wasting a moment, he sat on the chair and began to write something on the sheets of paper.

    What he was writing was a simple cultivation method and explanation on the most basic levels of cultivation, but the language in which he wrote it, was the one that Hannah and her group spoke. After he finished, he handed the few pages to Hannah and George, and after saying "You will understand once you follow that manual." he teleported out of their sight.

    When he reappeared, he was hundreds of kilometers away from Virgil's wooden house.

    He needed quietness and to not be disturbed, so he took a small earth sphere from inside one of his rings, and locked it in the space right above his head. He then removed the limitation on the sphere's power, which once left free to move outwards, turned into an avalanche of stone and dirt.

    This went on for a few minutes, until the area which was previously occupied by Daniel and a single sphere of earth essence, had turned into a small mountain with a pocket of air inside where Daniel resided.

    Finally alone, Daniel took one of the essence gems he had stored in one of his rings, and sat on the ground in the lotus position.

    He was perfectly aware of the fact that cultivating with one of these gems would usually kill somebody at his level of cultivation, but he was also sure that he would never be able to reach the high immortality stage by cultivating with crystals.. So after activating 'Time is Precious', and placing a time sphere that would increase the speed of time by ten times in the space in front of him.. Daniel put the gem in his mouth, and swallowed it whole.

    Moments after the gem went down Daniel's throat, his stomach began to gurgle. It didn't take long before some sort of power began to force its way into Daniel's veins, arteries, flesh, and skin.

    About a minute after the assumption of the gem, Daniel had already reached his limit. The essence contained in the gems was so pure that it traveled through every centimeter of his body like a deadly electric current.. Causing his skin to crawl, and for a lancinating pain to cover every bit of his body.

    It wasn't long before his skin began to give up, and the pores on the surface joined into numerous cracks.. The cracks then grew in size and turned into large bloody wounds.

    The same was happening on the inside.. Where his muscles twitched endlessly, and his organs threatened to stop working at any given moment. The only thing that was keeping them functioning, or that would make them start working once again, was the endless stream of healing essence which Daniel was forming with his own immortal essence.

    Unfortunately, the increased amount of immortal essence that he produced thanks to the time sphere and 'Time is Precious', was only barely able to keep his body from falling apart. The entire process was so painful, that had he not cultivated his mind power at the level it currently was, he would have passed out only moments after starting it.

    "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHHHH-AAAAAHH!"

    The wounds on his body grew in depth as well as in length, and to a point where his bones could be seen from multiple angles.

    However, while this pure torture went on, and Daniel was struggling to keep his focus on preventing his body from being destroyed by the sheer power that the gem poured into him.. A second and yet completely different pain came from the depths of his mind.

    As soon as Daniel felt this familiar pain, he did not think twice before moving one of his left hand near his belly.

    His fingers then pierced into the largest of the wounds on his body, and reached for his stomach.

    Once he touched his stomach's slick surface, his fingernails turned into sharp razors which easily cut all of its external layers.

    From the outside, Daniel appeared to be looking for something inside his own body, while at the same time, experiencing the most painful migraine he had ever felt. He gritted his teeth in agony for a few moments, until finally, his fingers reached what he was looking for.

    He immediately moved his hand out of his stomach, and threw the essence gem that he had failed to absorb against one of the cave's walls, then focused on healing his body from any injury.

    It only took seconds for all of the wounds to close, but on Daniel face, no trace of happiness could be seen.

    "Once a snake.." muttered Daniel before placing two fingers on his temple, and with a pulling motion, dragging Sewah's sorry figure out of his mind.

    Sewah had just tried to once again take control over Daniel's body by devouring his mental power, which had been fully focused on preventing him from passing out and dying due to the devastating effects of the essence gem.. But thanks to Daniel's decisiveness, he had been able to react in time, and get rid of the essence gem before Sewah could successfully take control of his body.

    Daniel observed the enraged finger-sized Sewah that was pinched in between his fingers. He was looking at him with hate while spouting insults, but no sound came out of his mouth due to the incredibly weakened state he was in.

    A few ideas on how he could hurt Sewah appeared in Daniel's mind, but ultimately, he knew that there was no way for him to kill him unless he was willing to risk losing the Karmic System.. So he looked at him quietly instead.

    Unfortunately, no matter how much he thought about it, there was truly nothing he could do but to injure Sewah's mind into a dormant state.. However, right as he was about to put him back into his mind and follow that plan, a fist-sized rock fell from the roof of the cave.

    A faint smile appeared on Daniel's face as he grabbed this rock, and infused it with his immortal essence.

    This immortal essence did not dissipate, and instead turned into the most basic formation in existence.. A formation which Daniel had learned to create the very day he had decided that the world of formations was not for him.

    Right before the formation was completed, Daniel put Sewah into the small stone. Then, before he could leave, he injected the formation with his mental power.. turning it into a prison of mental power that Sewah, in that state, would never be able to leave.

    Satisfied by this idea, Daniel threw the rock aside, and picked the essence gem back up.. He then looked at it with a fair amount of fear, before finally putting it back into his mouth, and swallowing it once again.
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