370 For Catos Sake

    Months after taking in a large number of students from within the powerful families of Cato, Hiel city had been built, and thanks to the help of the first family that had agreed on sending their two children to Daniel's academy, and old man Golden Cauldron's unique comprehension of time essence, a special time formation had been created.

    The control of this formation was given to each and every important member of Daniel's group who, even if they were to meet with an enemy stronger than they were, as long as their power was not above that of the creator of the formation, they would be able to lock them in place, and thrown them out of the city.

    This type of formation, naturally, was not difficult to see. After all, while extremely rare, there were many capable cultivators who tried to comprehend time and space in the universal government. However, what made this formation different, was the ability to turn time backwards, which while paired with the power that fed the formation, allowed for every crime to be stopped before it could happen.

    In the following months, thanks to the steadily increasing fame of the academy, the Golden Karma company had been able to score a few deals which had granted it a foothold to stand next to the other companies within the planet.

    What helped the growth of the academy's fame more than anything else, however, were the praises of the parents, which after seeing their children go back home only a month or two after being accepted, would find significant changes in their character. At first these changes were marginal, and were as small as staying quiet when their parents were talking, or actually paying attention to what they were saying.

    Others changes were in the ways they would act towards people of a lower standing or cultivation. Where before there was contempt and dislike, now was a harmless indifference, which while still negative in some way, at least prevented them from creating enemies for themselves.

    The older students of Daniel's academy were all of a lower standing when compared to the newly accepted ones, and while their good morale and passion for cultivation appeared to be a bad thing for these proud and lazy children of powerful families, with time, constantly being around peers who decided not to waste their own potential, started to rub off on them. It did not take long for them to understand that, in the end, in the world of cultivation money and secondhand power meant nothing. On an identical standing, they were prey, and the others were the predators.

    These changes were a great source of relief for the leaders of these powerful families who, now that their children's upbringing was in good hands, had been able to focus on their cultivation, as well as developing their companies.

    The increased performances of these families had not gone unnoticed, and as these families' competitors attempted to find out what had caused this, all of their investigations came to the same conclusion. The increase in performance of these companies and families was a secondhand effect of the academy of Hiel city.

    The influence of the academy was still at the bottom of the barrell, but that did not stop the larger companies from seeing that a new star was being born. An academy who would build competent company leaders, and powerful family heads. Its potential was too big, and therefore, it had to either be destroyed, or become part of one of the more powerful companies.

    The first time the families of Cato had learned about the uniqueness of Hiel city's barrier, was when one of the low ranking families which belonged to a larger conglomerate, had tried to cause trouble, staging an assassination within their territory. At that time, the president of the company had come to conduct business in Hiel city, but to his unbeknownst, an assassin had been hired to kill him when within the territory of Hiel city. He had been set out to be a pawn for the company that owned his, to give to his bosses a chance of obtaining control over this young influence machine.

    Luckily for this ignorant president, the newly appointed captain of the guard, as well as the father of one of the academy's students, had been close enough to use the formation's power, and stop the assassination from ever taking place.

    Numerous other plans had been devised in an attempt to ruin the Golden Karma company, but whenever the plan entered into a stage that required just that bit of luck to succeed, something would go horribly wrong.

    Left with no other choices, these powerful companies began to send their own children in the hope that, from within the academy, they could cause some problems. However, whenever they went back home, most of them would shock their parents with the simple desire of allowing them to attend the academy, and stop asking them to sabotage it in any way they could.

    Nevertheless, not every company had children to send to the academy, nor were they happy with simply being part of the change instead of being responsible for it. So, their methods started to become more direct, and sometimes, violent.

    Any member of the Golden Karma company that ventured outside of the formation would inevitably be attacked by groups and groups of anonymous masked bandits, and whenever the Golden Karma company was in the process of signing a contract with some other group, a bigger company would pop out of nowhere, and offer a shockingly advantageous deal to the latter that would send theirs up in flames.

    Unfortunately for Daniel's friends, there wasn't a government which could solve their problem. The universal government's forces only cared about keeping the factions in check, and had absolutely no interest in how these companies conducted their business. For all they cared, the group within their territory could destroy each other, and they would do nothing to stop them.

    This disinterest had caused for a few samples of government to be created, and picked by each planet depending on the planet's situation. Sometimes a king was chosen, or a republic was formed. In cato, a planet inhabited by mercenaries and merchants, there was a house of merchants.

    The House of Merchants was the most important building in Cato, and in it, the most prominent and powerful merchants would reunite, and discuss the problems as they appeared.

    While one would believe this to be a parliament, that would be far from the truth. Everything that this group decided was not based on laws that allowed for the people's well-being, but on rules of commerce that allowed for the planet's economy to stay strong, and for their planet to remain the capital of the universal government's commerce right above the Golden Nugget, the core of the merchant faction.

    This group of powerful merchants would reunite casually, once every few years. As a special occasion, the day of their new meeting happened to be this day, leaving every group and family curious about what could possibly be the reason its urgency.

    Inside a large seashell shaped building, seated in the curved and bigger area, were hundreds of people. These people were looking at the narrow part of the building where a large and round table was set with at least fifty chairs around it. Sitting on these chairs, were middle aged, and old cultivators, who appeared to be invested in a conversation that had caught the attention of the spectators.

    ".. I don't like it. Psychopatic tendencies they said, that is why they don't accept my boy." Said a middle aged man with straight eyebrows and salt and pepper hair, with indignation.

    "Can you blame them? Haven't we asked you to stop your son from killing people in the past hundred years?" Said a man with annoyance. He clearly was fed up with reminding this middle aged man about the bad things his son had done, and after all the time that had passed, he had now lost hope of convincing him of doing something about it.

    "I DON'T CARE! I won't have a generation of cultivators growing while looking at my boy as a monster, just because he killed one or two lowly cultivators." Responded the middle aged man in anger before turning to look at the rest of the cultivators, and adding, "I will bury that little city to the ground, and if you report me to the government, I will simply pay them off."

    As shown by the faces of the other cultivators, it was clear that this man was used to solving his problems in an extremely violent and cruel way, reason why his peers did not react with anger, but with exasperation. One in particular, an old man who appeared to have a foot on his grave, slowly raised his head, and said, "My grandchildren are studying there.. I want to see you try."

    This old man was amongst the oldest and most powerful individuals, and his words were kept in high esteem, however, what was most terrifying amongst these people, was the influence that they possessed. Their power went beyond their individual strength, and their conflicts were fought with broken contracts.

    The salt and pepper man turned to look at this old man, and with a tone devoid of respect, said, "Do you think I don't know you? There is no way you are burning bridges with my company for a simple school."

    He was right. While the old man was happy about the results of his grandchildren's training, his dealings with the middle aged man's company were a major part of his earnings. Without it, he would not only lose a lot of influence, but would have to compete with the many companies ready to take his place. So, instead of debating, the old man became quiet.

    It was a voice that came from the larger area, that caught the attention of these powerful individuals. A voice which belonged to a middle aged man whom, had the silver alchemist been present, would have recognized as the father of the first two students native of Cato that they had taken in.

    "May I have a word?" He asked.

    To spectators was allowed to speak, however, since their standing was inferior to that of those who were occupying the round table, the matter had to be important. Luckily, the company possessed by this man was not much smaller than that of any of the others, so he was allowed to speak.

    "You may want to reconsider harming that company." Said the man while showing a carefree smile.

    "OR WHAT? I don't even need to interrupt contacts with your company. I can destroy it tomorrow." Responded the salt and pepper-haired man in anger. His short temper made him overreact, but this time, he should have allowed the other to finish speaking.

    "Don't misunderstand. I have no intention of stopping.. But for Cato's sake, it is better that you change your plans."

    "What do you mean?" Asked the old man with curiosity. He had also met with old man Golden Cauldron and the others, but to him, it was obvious that this man knew more than he did.

    "I am not sure if this is true or not, but my daughter heard a rumor about the person who founded the whole group.. Outcast." Said the man.

    "An outcast? Is that the big problem? Do you even know how many outcasts I have killed? Sit, and stay quiet." Said the salt and pepper-haired man while waving his hand dismissively.

    However, the man did not sit. Instead, he added, "Not 'an outcast'.. But 'The Outcast'.. "

    There were many outcasts that traveled the territories of the universal government and factions, however, amongst them, there was a special one. One of a kind, the first and only outcast of a faction whose elite members were feared at a single mention.

    Due to his dubious powers, and unique circumstances, the title that this person had gained amongst the most powerful cultivators within the universal government, was in fact, "The Outcast." However, for those who knew him, this person's name was Daniel.
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