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359 True Loyalty Part 2 of 2

    Dominion of the War God.

    In an unnamed planet that floated in the territory of the ki faction, was a wooden sword stuck on the ground. Its surface was completely smooth, and if anyone looked at it, they would believe it to be a new training equipment that had been planted on the barren ground by its owner.

    Nevertheless, there were two details that prevented any of its observers to believe that to be the case. The first one, was the fact that this sword had been there for the past million years.. While the second, was the fact that this sword was so big, that when compared to the size of the planet, anyone would believe the latter to only be a large rock in which this sword happened to be stuck in.

    At the base of this massive sword, stood an enormous city of stone made buildings, and massive tents. To anyone that saw it, this city would look like a military camp that had developed into a rudimentary town that surrounded the base of the massive wooden sword. The inhabitants of this city, which was the only city on the planet, were all elite members of the ki faction, and numbered in the millions.

    In the outskirts of this city were the training grounds where, every now and then, a few immortal cultivators that had just passed the trial of passage, would go through their ascension before being allowed in.

    In the training ground, at the moment, were more than two hundred immortal cultivators. Each of them had been selected as champions by their generals, and after winning their last war, they had been tested by the protectors of the grounds which they had decided to fight on.

    Amongst these immortal cultivators, was Alesia. She was sitting in the lotus position, and just like the others, she had been trying to ascend to high immortality for the past few hours.

    Spectating to this event, were a portion of the elite members which had participated in the testing of these warriors. One of these individuals, was the woman that had tested Der and the rest of his group. She was standing by herself, while observing Alesia's progress.

    Next to her, was Gai'ha.

    As a different kind of human beings, the ki faction had been unable to find out what her Aura was truly able to do, or even if it was possible for her to ascend. All the faction knew about her, was that her battle prowess matched that of a tenth stage immortal cultivator.

    For as interesting Gai'ha's situation was, the woman knew that there was no hope that she could find anything about her powers without conducting large tests, so she focused on observing Alesia instead.

    While the woman kept an eye on Alesia, however, Gai'ha was looking elsewhere. For some reason, she couldn't help but keep her own eyes on the massive sword that pierced the skies, and whose handle was lost in the darkness of space.

    "So those two are the girls you have picked up from Sand and Blood." Said a rough looking ki cultivator with two deep scars on his face, and covered with pelts large enough to cover his private parts. On his shoulder, lay a small stone club.

    It took a single word from this man, for the woman to show the deep disgust she felt towards him. She had known him for hundreds of years, and in him, she could only see the brute who would kidnap all of the beautiful women that were lucky enough to pass the trial, and turn them into soulless shells after months and months of abuse.

    In his eyes, she could see his interest in both Alesia, and the exotic looking Gai'ha.

    "Piss off." Said the woman while slowly grabbing the hilt of her sword.. The twin sword which his father had gifted to her, and which she had recovered as soon as the trial of passage of Der's group had ended.

    The ki warrior ignored the threatening tone of the woman, and instead resumed staring at Alesia, which stood out from the rest of the ascending cultivators like a flower in a grass field.

    Similarly, all of the ascending cultivators that were surrounding Alesia, were having difficulties with entering the ascension stage. They instead kept taking peeks at her direction, hoping that, at least once, they would find her looking back, and their eyes would meet.

    These constant looks had made things difficult for Alesia too, who, too distracted by the invasive looks of this large number of cultivators, was also unable to enter the state of ascension.

    Gai'ha, on the other hand, was experiencing something completely different. Her eyes were still pointed at the massive sword, and while unaware of it, she had stepped in its direction. These few steps were nothing against the thousands of kilometers of distance amongst her and the object.. And yet, after every step, she felt significantly closer to something that was extremely important to her.

    "Where are you going?" Asked the woman, suspicious of Gai'ha's behaviour.

    Gai'ha did not respond, and instead, kept walking in the direction of the sword.. Which according to what she was hearing, was emitting a faint sound that became more and more enticing after each step she took.

    Gai'ha's odd behaviour was enough to catch the attention of the warrior that, until now, had quietly observed Alesia.. Then, before the woman could react, he appeared next to her, and while trying to grab her arm, said, "Hey! She is talk-"

    His words, however, were interrupted by a loud humming sound which only he could hear. This sound came from the sword in the distance, which he knew was an old relic left there by the first of their faction's leaders.. The founder of the ki faction, and the first to ever receive the title of War God.

    At first, this humming sound reached the warrior's ears as a harmless, yet deafening tone.. But the more he listened to it, the more he felt his whole being fall apart. The sheer sight of the sword was burning his very essence, and before he could say a single word, he fell on the ground dead.

    This odd event attracted the attention of each and every one of the ascending cultivators and ki warriors, which felt the very roots of this warrior's dormant spirit, being eradicated from within his body.

    "What the hell happened to him?" Asked one of the warriors that was sitting close to the observing elite members of the Dominion of the War God. "Did she do something to him?"

    "Hey, you! What did you do to him?" Asked another of the elite warriors after approaching Gai'ha. However, before he could touch her, the woman that had tested her, shouted, "DO NOT TOUCH HER!"

    Right at that moment, Gai'ha moved her arm in the direction of the massive sword, which was still far in the distance.

    As soon as her open hand was pointed at the sword, the ground began to tremble. The sword had moved by only a few millimeters, but since it was so deeply rooted into the planet, a few millimeters were enough to cause an earthquake of disastrous proportions.

    The earthquake lasted for only a few seconds, and ended the moment the sword shrunk to the size of a normal sword, and dashed in the direction of Gai'ha's hand. It appeared that this sword had a mind of its own, and since Gai'ha had arrived, it had wanted to be with her.

    The moment this sword landed on Gai'ha's hand, she tightened her grip around the handle, and felt its power coursed through her body.. A power too strong to control. Unbearable winds lifted the dirt from the ground, and formed a sandstorm which hindered the eyesight of the observing cultivators.

    Inside Gai'ha's mind, a million years worth of memories went by like a series of indistinguishable pictures, and while she wasn't able to see everything clearly, she was able to see a few major events.

    In her mind, appeared the memories of a woman.. A cultivator who, unwilling to allow her spirit to limit the potential of her body, had separated herself from it, and left it into a sword. While her objective was to simply create a method to cultivate through ki alone, she had inadvertently invented a method to create spiritual weapons.. A method which only she had ever known, and kept a secret until the time of her death.

    What this woman had discovered at the moment of her death, was that she had never been able to create a method to cultivate the ki.. Not like her successors had. She had split her spirit into two, and left the majority of it into the sword, however, the remaining portion of her spirit had merged with her ki. The merging of these two unbalanced powers, had created an innate essence that was never seen before.. A power that, her descendents, would end up calling Aura.

    Alesia, worried about her friend, gave up on her ascension, and teleported next to her. Gai'ha appeared to be in some sort of trance, and from her expression, Alesia could see that whatever was contained within the sword, was having a devastating effect on her psyche. So, in a desperate attempt to help her regain her senses, she put her hands on Gai'ha's shoulders, and shouted, "WAKE UP!"

    The moment Alesia touched Gai'ha's shoulders, she felt the spirit of the sword invade her body, and consume and consume her spirit. However, right as she was sure she would die soon.. She felt a sudden and yet familiar surge in power which increased her production of immortal essence, and help fight back the invasive spirit.

    Despite the devastating effects on her body, Alesia's state of mind was able to stabilize. Her thoughts were clear and composed, and she was aware of everything that was happening in her body. The sheer idea that Daniel could have been close to her gave her an indescribable feeling of calmness, which paired with everything else, forced her into entering the second stage of her ascension.

    These events were covered by the sandstorm which kept devastating the surroundings only to stop an hour later.

    When the sand dissipated, it uncovered the two figures of Gai'ha and Alesia.

    Gai'ha was looking at the sword, which now contained a portion of her own soul which she had involuntarily exchanged for a portion of the knowledge of the first leader of the Dominion of the War God. A knowledge to which she would be able to access, after becoming stronger. The spiritual sword allowed itself to be wielded by Gai'ha, and appeared to be ready to eradicate the spirit of anyone that dared to lay a finger on her.

    Alesia's situation was nowhere less unique. A single look at her was enough to know that her anatomy had changed drastically. The reason for that, was because her body kept changing. At some point, her hair would become as white as snow, and her body would become as ethereal as a ghost which emanated thick, and pure spiritual essence.. Then, right after, her body would go back to its physical state, and her hair would turn bright red.. Emanating pure ki.

    When she had touched Gai'ha, the sword had seen that action as a threat to her, and as a result, had tried to eradicate her spirit. However, right at that moment, the new shared effects of Daniel's group system had kicked in. Instead of being eradicated, her ki and spirit had been separated, and as a result of her ascension, she had gained full control of both of them. The presence of spiritual essence or ki in her body was now entirely up to her, and if she wished to, she could be more of a ki warrior than any elite member of the Dominion of the War God, or more of a spiritual warrior than any member of the Spiritual faction.

    As she familiarized with the changes in her body, she quickly realized that, if she wanted, she could have merged her spirit and body back, or control the proportion of each power to become an aura cultivator, just like Gai'ha.

    -----

    Unknown planet, Patriot Academy's ascension test.

    Each of the attacks sent by the top hundred cultivators of the Patriot Academy had landed successfully right where Jerigh had been sitting, causing a massive cloud of dust to be raised in the air.

    On the faces of the ninety-nine cultivators, nothing but happiness could be seen. Their attacks were not deadly, and yet, theoretically, they should have been more than enough in forcing Jerigh to leave his concentrated state, and make him fail his ascension.. However, these looks of happiness disappeared after the dust settled, and they saw him stand with his eyes closed.

    "OKAY! RETREAT NOW!" Shouted the red headed woman, reminding the others that they stood no chance in a direct fight against the monster at the first spot in the ranking.

    Nevertheless, before anyone could leave, the eyes of the blond cultivator narrowed, and instead of leaving, he took a step forward. He had noticed that Jerigh was keeping his eyes closed, and did not appear to be aware of what was happening around him. "HE IS STILL ASCENDING!" He shouted after finally understanding.. then added, "Keep attacking!"

    This time, the attacks were disorganized, and instead of coming all at the same time, they came in waves.

    The first wave was formed of three attacks. A spear charged with immortal essence, an invisible spike made out of water and spatial essence, and a miniature sun made out of light and fire essence, which burned with the intensity of a planet's core.

    At first, Jerigh did not react to these attacks, and instead, kept his eyes closed.. But then, just as the attacks entered a certain radius from him, he unconsciously felt the nature and direction of these attacks. With a wave of his hand he formed an identical ball of flame and light, and sent it to meet with the approaching one. With the same wave of his hand, he formed a mirror spike of ice and spatial essence, whose tip crashed against the tip of the incoming one. The two mirrored attacks were perfectly balanced with their counterparts, and dissipated the attacks as soon as they met.

    At the same time, as the spear arrived, he raised his hand, and grabbed it millimeters before it could pierce his heart.

    The ninety-nine warriors gasped in shock. Jerigh was clearly ascending, and yet, the precision which he had employed in protecting himself, defied any logic.

    The blond warrior unconsciously took a step back, and muttered, "What the hell is he.."
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