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310 The Gift of High Immortality

    Cultivating with the use of essence gems before reaching a certain level of power, was only possible for somebody like Daniel, who thanks to his increased speed in the refinement and healing of his body, was able to prevent the excessive power from turning him into a meat paste that decorated the cavern's walls.

    While he cultivated, the seemingly endless amount of essence condensed into the gem would wash into his body tirelessly, wrecking it beyond recognition, and fighting the healing essence that was desperately trying to keep everything together.

    In the past three months, Daniel had been forced to stop this process more than once, as he did not want to risk going insane from the excruciating pain.. Unfortunately, the only way he had to take a rest, was to dig the dissolving gem out of his stomach with his own hands.

    Even after these three months, Daniel had been unable to notice any change in the gem he had swallowed, and it appeared that his increase to the late tenth stage of immortal cultivation had been nothing for the full capacity of the gem.

    After all that time spent with one of these gems in his stomach, he became sure of one thing.. Each of these gems, would they not disintegrate a human's body in a matter of instants after being consumed, contained enough essence to help a weak human reach the highest stages of immortality.

    More than once in the past three months Daniel had hoped that there was an easier way to cultivate, but his time was limited, and did not wait for him to find a method he was content with.

    Time went on slowly, and after what was only six months worth of cultivation, that thanks to the time sphere he had installed could be comparable to five years worth of absorption, the pain suddenly stopped.

    Just moments before that happened, Daniel had reached the peak of the tenth stage of immortal cultivation.. However, the blockade that was supposed to keep him at that level, and be the cultivation limit for immortal cultivation, held on like a wall of paper.

    This blockade, which was supposed to represent the last vestige of his humanity, was nothing for the immense amount of immortal essence that Daniel's body produced, paired with the remnants of the gem's power.

    As soon as this barrier broke and the pain stopped, a pleasant feeling began to make its way through Daniel's skin, flesh, and veins. Instead of crashing violently against every bit of his body, the waves of essence brushed over it like a violent river that slowly eroded the riverbed in the course of thousands of years of constant flowing.

    After reaching high immortality, Daniel felt the immense amount of power that came from the essence gem be quickly absorbed, causing his body to strengthen at an impressive degree.

    This feeling forced Daniel to relax, and to enter a state of ecstasy. He could suddenly understand why Xargy had been so eager to consume the two gems the very moment he had seen them. Wave after wave of pleasant prickly feeling almost brought him to groan in pleasure for what felt like hours.. After which, the feeling disappeared.

    Daniel opened his eyes and quickly inspected his body, finding no wound underneath the set of clothes he was wearing.. clothes which now did almost nothing to cover his body. The cuts that had ripped his clothes apart had been caused by the condensed metal essence of which the gem was made of.. However, the metal essence was not the cause of the appearance on the wounds which had opened as Daniel cultivated.

    Before transcending immortality, a human's body would be too weak to withstand being refined by that magnitude of power, and would fall apart before the essence emanated by the gem would even turn into the element of which it was made of. That was comparable to a person dying due to the shock wave before the fire of an explosion could even reach him.

    Now that Daniel's body was resistant enough to withstand the gem's power, he had been able to feel the coldness and hardness of metal through every bit of his body, almost as if his body was turning into a puppet made out of flexible steel.

    From what he had heard from Xargy, the sign of becoming a high immortal would be a special power granted to the cultivator. Some people would receive a boost to one or more of their senses, to their sheer power, or even speed.. Some others would gain affinity to specific essences, and some could even obtain particular abilities. The large variety of powers discovered in the history of the government, made it extremely difficult for someone to find out what the change within their bodies were without running some tests.

    In the universal government, reaching the high immortality stage was a sign of faith in the immortal path. This type of loyalty was the core of the government's existence, and was valued to a point where numerous studies had been conducted on the potential that an immortal cultivator could reach.

    Millions of years of these tests had created an entire catalog of powers, inside which these powers were ranked, and would often accompany a person into their true career.

    An example of this, were the judges.

    Amongst the strongest powers that a high immortals could receive, was the one that each and every judge possessed. This power had been called Collective Judgement, and allowed each Judge to borrow a portion of power from the other judges, and momentarily add it to his own. The portion obtained was but a small fraction, but when taken from all of the judges in existence, it turned them into beings of a frightening power to which everybody else had to obey.

    Whenever someone with the Collective Judgement appeared, the Tribunal would take them, and test them. They would then be be trained, and become judges themselves.

    In the many studies conducted on that particular power, the Universal Government had discovered that the ones with the highest chance of obtaining it, were those with an indomitable sense of justice and incorruptible love for the powers they served, and who wish nothing but for their compatriots to follow the rules, and to be a peace with each other.

    The same was for the universal government's army, where the army members would possess one of the most common powers, called Army Man. This power appeared in the citizens that were blindly loyal towards the government and seeked the glory of battle by fighting under a valuable general, or for what they perceived as a good cause.

    The explorers, on the other hand, were solitary individuals.. and that had always caused their powers to evolve towards what their behaviour and methods of fighting suggested. An example of this, was Krit the sniper.. who being an explorer whose main focus was to spot and attack the enemy from afar with his musket, had obtained heightened eyesight and hearing, and a sense of smell that was only second to that of a dragon.

    The unpredictability of an explorer's power was the reason why they were so feared. They were killers whose powers had evolved for the sole purpose of turning them into deadlier existences.

    Unfortunately, while Xargy was extremely knowledgeable in many things, he didn't knew much about those sorts of powers. All he was able to tell Daniel, was that he would change after reaching the high immortality stage.. Leaving him without a lot of information to work with.

    A superficial analysis was not enough for Daniel to find the changes into his body. He was in a pocket dimension that he had created himself, so he was able to reach its edges with his senses even before breaking through high immortality. His power had increased by leaps and bounds, and he felt like he would not have a problem with resisting a few of Xargy's attacks, it still did not seem like his strength had increased beyond reason. His five senses were also limited by his location, so there was no way for him to make sure what the breakthrough had caused unless he left the pocket dimension.

    Unable to notice any change to his body, Daniel decided to put the matter on the back of his mind, and to keep cultivating, so he put on a clean set of clothes and sat back down. He then took another gem from inside his ring, and put it into his mouth.

    This second gem was of the water element, and the moment he swallowed it, he felt like a mouthful of the cleanest water was going down his throat. The cool feeling was so pleasant that it made him swallow twice, despite the fact that there was nothing left in his mouth.

    Once the gem reached his stomach, Daniel felt as if he had fallen into a sea that was made of both clean, and salty water. Cold and warm currents brushed against every bit of his skin, and at the same time, his body relaxed to a point where he could understand how it was to live as a boneless aquatic animal.

    His mind drifted away like a leaf that floated on the surface of a lake without the slightest bit of control.. At the same time, the familiar pleasant feeling appeared once again.

    Where it would take months for a person to absorb a gem fully, it only took Daniel a few hours. His impressive speed of absorption was not only caused by the boosted speed of cultivation, but also by the fact that his body was in the weakest state of high immortality.

    Two gems were more than enough for Daniel's body to go through the first two layers of refinement.. Stages that, according to what the system suggested, were called phases.

    At the first phase of high immortality, a cultivator's lifespan was able to reach the twenty thousand years, and each phase came with a further increase of overall power, an additional thousand years of lifespan, and a strengthening of the person's special power.

    Unfortunately, Daniel was still unaware of which ability he had gained after reaching the high immortality stage.

    Only at the second phase, Daniel was still unable to follow either of the paths he had been given by the system. So he decided to keep cultivating until he either reached the fifth, or the hundredth phase of cultivation.

    With a wave of his hand, he forced the small chest that contained the elemental gems to appear in front of him. Inside of it, were roughly three thousand gems.

    Without thinking too much about it, Daniel took two of them and put them into his mouth. *Gulp*

    -----

    One year later, within Daniel's pocket dimension.

    "I can't do this anymore! It's too difficult! I don't even understand what that sign means" shouted Alex impatiently, to a just as impatient Virgil.. who for the past couple of weeks, had seen him fail time after time in comprehending the simple concepts of alloys of the essence of metal.

    This sudden outburst had distracted the rest of the group that, unable to focus on the things they were doing, turned to look at him with faces filled with displeasure.

    "Will you be quiet!?" asked James in anger, before turning to look at his low level time sphere, and attempting to focus once again.

    George and Hannah were testing their increased senses and strength by sparring with swords, while the two twins, Alex and Felix, enamoured with the idea of learning how to perform the magic which Daniel had displayed, chose to study the essence spheres in Virgil's possession.

    Alex looked at his friends apologetically, then, he turned to look at his young teacher, and whispered "I don't get it.. Just show it to me one more time.. Just one.."

    Virgil, exhausted with Alex's stubbornness, began to form numerous hand signs with his hands. "Enough showing. You just have to focus more! You are too-" he said before being distracted.

    Before Virgil could finish scolding Alex for his lack of focus on the task at hand, he felt an oppressive amount of power burst out from the ground a hundred kilometers away.. A power that brought a pressure strong enough to force him and the rest of the group to kneel on the ground.
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