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362 How Is That for a Joke

    "Hello there." Said Daniel politely, while catching the wolf cub's paw and pulling it back on his shoulder, after it inadvertently lost its grip on it, and began to float away in space.

    The reaction that the two leaders had to Daniel's arrival, was completely different. While the leader of the One With Nature had no interest in his arrival, and was still on edge about the whole incoming fight, the leader of the Life Takers had lost any form of interest in the resources of Naturae, and had turned his attention to Daniel's planet.

    In his eyes, this planet was clearly a mystical object which Daniel had encountered out of luck. Everything in his mind screamed 'I must obtain it'.. And his desire for it was so great, that his greed could be clearly seen in his eyes. A greed which he did not bother to hide it in the least.

    "If you are passing by, you have chosen a bad day, brat." Said the old leader of the One With Nature, slightly taken aback from Xargy's presence. At the same time, he could also feel some kind of power in the surroundings which he was unable to fully understand, and that clearly did not belong to any of these newly arrived warriors.

    "I am exactly where I intended to be." Said Daniel while showing a bright and polite smile to this old man, which was clearly confused by it. He then turned to look at an individual within the army of the One With Nature, which nodded at him before taking a bite of the oddly colored and plumb fruit he was holding in his hand, causing it to release a large number of small beads of juice that floated in space.

    For a moment, as the two looked at each other, it appeared that they were having an internal conversation with one another.. Which ended the moment Daniel turned to look at the old man, and said, "Do you require assistance?"

    What Daniel had asked Lucious, was whether this group of researchers deserved to be helped. If not, he would not lend a hand.. After all, he wouldn't put himself in danger for anyone. As long as these people had treated Lucious decently, and they weren't bad people, he would help them out.

    The reason why he needed to verify this with Lucious, was because they lived extremely self centered lives, and while they weren't harmful to anybody else, had also prevented them from accumulating any particularly high amount of positive karma, leaving them with a generally neutral one.

    After confirming that this group of researchers was not a bad bunch, he offered his help.

    "I don't see how your help would make any difference, kid. You better move along." Said the old man with a slightly gentler tone. Even if he did not let it appear, he had appreciated the offer, which had come at a time of crisis for him and his people.

    Daniel had no intention of leaving, but before he could say something, the muscular leader of the enemy faction, said, "You are not going anywhere. Your reckless charge almost killed me and my men. I'll take that little ball of yours as compensation."

    After slowly turning to look back at him, Daniel responded by saying, "I am an outcast. You don't need some bull** excuse to try and rob me." He then took a small pause before adding, "However, I would think twice about it, if I were you.. You might not come out of this robbing wearing your skin."

    After listening to Daniel's words, the group of warriors that was still disembarking the ship burst out in loud laughs. This army was composed of tens, if not a hundred thousand warriors, and while most of them were cultivators at the level of a late or peak immortal, at least two thousands had already evolved past that level of a first phase immortal cultivator thanks to the power of their gifts, which from what Daniel could see, had something to do with emitting a powerful bloodlust that affected the opponent's mind.

    This had forced the members  of the One With Nature faction to lose a big portion of their courage, and be on edge from the very moment they had seen their opponents.

    While the members of the Life Takers had a good laugh, Aeron had slowly floated next to Daniel, and said directly into his mind, "There is something wrong with these people.. Try not to kill those who aren't laughing."

    "What is it?" Asked Daniel back with curiosity. He had already noticed that a few of these bandits were not laughing, but at first, he had believed them to simply be too nervous about the incombing fight to laugh. However, now that Aeron turned his attention towards them, he quickly noticed that not only were not laughing, but were keeping their eyes closed, and showing pain, or no expression at all.

    "I don't know yet.." Responded Aeron out loud.

    "You are funny, kid.. I might keep your skull with me, in case I'll be in need of some more jokes." Said the leader of the Life Takers while slowly putting on two spiked gloves.

    Daniel looked back at this muscular man, and with a cunning smile, he raised his hands above his shoulders, "Hold on, hold on.. You said you wanted this." He said while lowering one of his hands, and making the miniaturized planet appear above his right palm. He then added, "I will give it to you."

    As soon as he finished speaking, he threw the small planet in the direction of the muscular man, which grabbed it in mid air.

    "Try it, it's a cool object." Said Daniel while nodding, and pointing at the planet with his finger.

    The leader of the bandit faction looked at the planet suspiciously, but he was immediately able to verify that this rock was actually the one he had seen before. He then tried to inject his own ki into it, which was welcomed in without a problem, in an attempt to control it.. And just as he thought about it assuming the size of the massive planet he had seen a minute ago, the sphere started to grow in size.

    "You can also change its shape, and modify the planet as you wish." Added Daniel while enjoying the show.

    Naturally, the only one capable of utilizing his planet was Daniel, and the only reason why the planet was obeying the words of this man, was because when a cultivator injected an item with his power, this power would always contain a small portion of their consciousness. This consciousness was not protected by the cultivator's impenetrable flesh, and therefore, Daniel was able to read the thoughts this wisp of consciousness delivered regardless of the power of its owner.

    Anything that the warrior wished for, the planet became.. And the more time passed, the more he appeared to be entranced by it. His eyes couldn't move away from it, and at the same time, he wanted the sphere to be closer to his body.

    Time passed slowly, and the members of the warrior's faction began to worry. Ten long minutes had passed, and his eyes had never moved from the planet. His expression was an emotionless one, and even the planet had stopped changing shape. It was then that Daniel began to float in his direction.

    In a matter of seconds he came to a few meters of distance from him. He then waved a hand in front of his face, but received no response.

    At this point, the warriors of the Life Takers became restless, and the few strongest individuals understood that something was wrong. They Dashed Desperately towards their leader in an attempt of freeing him from whatever witchcraft had taken over him, but after only moving of a few hundred meters, they found themselves in front of a transparent wall of spatial essence that was surrounding their entire army, and their ship.

    "You know, if you pierce your heart with it, something amazing will happen." Whispered Daniel to his ear. As the warrior processed what Daniel said, the rock magically turned into a sharp and beautifully detailed sword.

    Without thinking too much about it, the warrior injected as much ki as he could into the sword, then pointed it at his own chest, and with a burst of power, forced the sword to go through from one side of his chest to the other.

    What Daniel had done was simple. Ever since the sphere had touched the warrior's hand, he had used the power emanated by it, which was his own, to absorb his consciousness the very moment he would use it to make the planet do his bidding. This method was not enough to kill him, as only a portion of one's consciousness would be required to manipulate an enchanted object.. However, it was enough for him to lose a massive portion of his cognitive ability.

    This had forced him to only perform simple actions, and be unable to distinguish between a good, or a bad idea.

    The pain was enough for the warrior to be shocked awake, and find himself holding a sword that had just pierced one of his most important organs. His life essence was already slipping out of his wound, which unable to keep the death essence at bay, started to spread through his whole body.

    The eyes of the warrior closed to the sight of Daniel playing with the small rock, which at some point had magically appeared back in his hand, and to his faint words, who said, ".. how is that for a joke.."

    Within the massive barrier of spatial essence, the warriors began to panic, but before they could even think of a way of escaping, Daniel turned towards it, and with a wave of his hand, he turned the space around the tens of thousands of warriors into shattered space which instantly split their bodies into hundreds of pieces.

    This was a great shock to the old man, who had seen the very faction that had terrorized his for the past hundred years, destroyed in no longer than a minute. For a moment, a variety of different kinds of reactions came to his mind, but just as he settled for thanking Daniel for his help, he noticed that the latter's attention was directed elsewhere.

    The only members of the Life Takers that Daniel had left alive, were a few hundred warriors that, contrary to the rest, did not appear to be mentally present. Daniel looked at them one by one with confusion and interest.. And only then he saw something that made his blood freeze from the shock.

    Amongst these warriors, was Heimart.

    "Oh no!" He said before immediately teleporting in front of him, and grabbing his shoulders. "Hei, it's me.. It's Dan. Can you hear me?" He asked with anxiousness. Heimart was one of his first and closest friends, and if there were a few people whom Daniel would risk his life saving, Heimart was definitely amongst them.

    Edmund and Aeron immediately teleported next to Daniel, and Lucious, who was still within the group of peaceful researchers, started to float in his direction as well, causing the old man to fall into panic. He didn't want any of his people to meddle with this monster, especially not before he managed to build a good relationship with him.

    Before he could stop him, however, Lucious disappeared, and reappeared next to Daniel. Aeron had teleported him, and had done so by using a power completely different from spatial essence. No traces of power, nor spatial essence had been left behind from this teleportation, leaving the spectating researchers confused beyond words.

    "What is going on with him? I can't read his mind." Said Daniel to Aeron while in clear panic. The sheer thought that, without Aeron's warning he might have killed one of his friends, had forced a shiver down his back, and his hands to tremble. Daniel couldn't help but once again thank his system. Who knows if either of them would have noticed him without it.

    Aeron approached Heimart, and in an attempt to read his mind, he placed a hand on his head. However, just like Daniel, he quickly found out that his mind was completely devoid of any sort of thought.

    Nevertheless, he could feel Heimart's weak mind power be active. "Something is going on here.. He feels.. Trapped somewhere."

    Once again, Daniel fell into panic, and tried to grab Heimart's shoulder to shake him awake.. But he was stopped by Aeron, which grabbed his arm, and said, "Stop it, it's pointless.. Whatever it is that made him like this, is in the depths of his mind.. Unless we-"

    As soon as the thought formulated in Aeron's head, Daniel's and his mind went blank.. for a moment they couldn't see anything. When this ended, they found themselves at the edge of a wooden area, where a small house was.

    In front of this house, were Heimart, Alis, their two children, and a man who Daniel couldn't recognize but that appeared extremely familiar with Heimart's family.
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