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379 Left Without a Choice

    Egregious Mercantile Ethics headquarters, Mister Mir's office.

    "How would this event work, exactly?" Asked Emelnie, who along with the old man Golden Cauldron, his son Silver Alchemist, and Master Kye, were sitting on the other side of a wide desk. On the other side of this desk, Mister Mir was sitting on his oddly large chair with a dignified and proud expression.

    His behaviour towards the Emelnie and the others was not out of arrogance, but an act. After all, he was one of the most important people within the conglomerate, and by norm, he would not act politely towards anyone of their status. If status was not enough, the fact that he was a high immortal at the ninetieth phase was enough to give his behaviour credibility.

    Emelnie and the rest had expected this behaviour, so they paid no mind to it. They were here to obtain information, and nothing else.

    "We are unsure. This is a first in the territory of the universal government. We have only been granted enough time to prepare, and select our share of candidates. You lead a small company with an affiliated small scale academy, what makes you think your students are deserving of this honor?" responded Mister Mir with indifference.

    The Silver Alchemist seemed to be the first one to want to give an answer to this question, but he was interrupted by the old man Golden Cauldron, who said, "We don't. We simply believe our students have the same chance as any other."

    This was the first time the old man Golden Cauldron had ever spoken publicly. He was widely known as the only individual to have a grasp to the rewinding concept of time, and secretly, was kept under everyone's eyes.

    The words the old man Golden Cauldron had spoken were just what Mister Mir was hoping for, after all, he had been given the job to make it hard for them to obtain some slots for the event, but ultimately accept their request to participate.

    "The number of legendary cultivators who have begged for their children to be allowed to participate in this event, can't be contained in this room. How do you claim that to be a valid reason?" Asked Master Mir confidently. What happened next, however, turned the fat man's state of mind from a calm and confident one, into one of pure anxiousness.

    The already nearly closed eyes of the old man Golden Cauldron narrowed even tighter, expanding the wrinkles on his face. He then stood up, and after a faint bow, he said, "Apologies, we aimed to high this time. Take no offence."

    Slightly confused, Master Kye, the Silver Alchemist, and Emelnie stood up, bowed politely, and followed the example of the old man. They then turned towards the entrance, and followed him out.

    Mister Mir appeared calm, but underneath his baggy clothes, large drops of cold sweat were forming over his greasy skin as he quietly watched the group excuse themselves, and walk out of his office.

    A few steps down the corridor, Emelnie approached the old man Golden Cauldron, but right as she was about to say something, the old man beat her to it, and said, "Wait for it.."

    Almost as if on schedule, Mister Mir walked out of his office, and said, "Hold on a moment." He then walked in their direction, and with a slightly more polite tone than before, he said, "I like the initiative, and since your academy is taking care of a couple of our kids, I'll keep Hiel academy into consideration."

    "That is more than we could have hoped for, Mister Mir." Responded Emelnie before bowing one more time with politeness. After that, the four of them bid farewell, and left the headquarters of the Egregious Mercantile Ethics conglomerate.

    Mister Mir was currently observing from his office as the group walked away from the building, when suddenly, the leader of the conglomerate appeared next to him. "You have almost lost them." He said with a matter-of-fact tone.

    "Almost is the key word here, Sir." Responded Miser Mir with a smile that could not completely hide his worry. "How will we handle them?"

    The leader of the conglomerate let go of the matter, as in the end Mister Mir had done a decent job. He then said, "We will see in the first test if those students can be so powerful when in the absence of their teachers. If they are, find a way to separate them, and kill one of them to investigate his possessions."

    "It will be done." Responded Mister Mir as he turned to look back at the small figures of Emelnie and the others, who were now having their own conversation who started the very moment they stepped out of the conglomerate's headquarters.

    -----

    "For a moment I thought we had lost it." said the Silver Alchemist while breathing out in relief. He had had enough time to think about it, and now that they had a real chance to enter this contest, he was reasonably excited for his students to have the chance to shine.

    The rest of the group were, on the other hand, remained quiet.

    "Father, is there something wrong?" Asked the Silver Alchemist with confusion. He had seen his father in that state of mind many times before, and it would hardly ever mean that everything was going well, so he couldn't help but ask.

    The old man Golden Cauldron did not respond to his son, and instead turned to look at Emelnie, and said, "Have Nilo get closer to the two kids, and let us know whenever they mention something about the powers of the senior students, the founder of the academy, or anything that is secretive for us." His tone was extremely stern.

    Emelnie and the Silver Alchemist were confused by the words of the old man, but it became all clear after what Master Kye said next.

    "I will ask the other students if the two ever mentioned about something like that." Said Master Kye, clearly on the same page with what the old man Golden Cauldron was thinking.

    While the old man Golden Cauldron would have preferred not to participate in this event, the opinion of the group was against his, so he could do nothing but go along. However, after meeting with Mister Mir, it did not take long for him to become suspicious. They were truly too low profile for a massive conglomerate that owned multiple solar systems to even grant audience to them, so how was it possible that they were allowed to meet with such a high level individual like Mister Mir in a day's notice?

    The way Mister Mir acted had calmed down his suspicious by a little bit, as his behaviour was exactly what one would expect someone with such a high level of power to have. But in the back of his mind, he couldn't help but think that there was something wrong.

    When it felt like the fat merchant would refuse to even have a discussion about it, the old man laid his bait. He stood up, and dismissed his own group apologetically, almost as if they were admitting of trying to bite more than they could chew.Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click  for visiting.

    Had Mister Mir never walked out of the door to stop them, he would have set his suspicions aside, but now that someone of his caliber had personally tried to solve things, he had realized that something was really wrong. The same was true for Master Kye, who had remained quiet ever since the discussion had begun.

    "Father.. Are they-" began to ask the Silver Alchemist after finally coming to a realization.

    He, however, was stopped by the words of the old man Golden Cauldron, who said, "When we get back home."

    -----

    Three days after Emelnie and the rest went to meet with Mister Mir, an envelope arrived at the headquarters of the Golden Karma company in Hiel City. The letter was sealed with the stamp of the Egregious Mercantile Ethics, and from the outside, it could be felt the presence of numerous solid items within.

    This envelope was currently on laying on Emelnie's desk, which was surrounded by every leading member of Daniel's group, and Nilo.

    "Master, what do we do if this is what we think it is?" Asked Nilo to Master Kye, while looking at the envelope with suspicion.

    "We could make a run for it. Retreat into the pocket dimension, and evaquate into another system." Said the Silver Alchemist with a well hidden hint of worry. They had reached stability for the first time in years, and now, everything was threatened by the possibility of another crisis.

    "If they have people watching us, they will attack before we can have everyone move out of Hiel city. The barrier won't hold on againt people of Mister Mir's caliber. Especially if they wear time talismans that will stop the effects of the time formation." Responded Master Kye with a grim tone.

    This conversation had gone on for a few minutes, and only stopped the moment the old man Golden Cauldron grabbed the envelope, ripped the seal open, and emptied its content on the desk. In it were a letter, and seven participation tokens for the One Above All competition.

    On the letter was written:

    ____________________________

    Under the reccomandation of Ivan and Sigg, your students have been selected to participate in the 'One Above All' as guests of the Egregious Mercantile Ethics. This envelope contains seven tokens, two of which are reserved for Sigg and Ivan, and five for the leaders of Hiel Academy to give out.

    The contest will begin four days from now, and all students invited by the Egregious Mercantile Ethics will be required to regroup in the conglomerate's headquarters before heading out to where the first round of the competition will take place.

    Kind regards, Leader of the Egregious Mercantile Ethics, Gen Stein.

    ____________________________

    Most of the letter appeared to be pre-written, and only the named individuals, the company's name, and number of tokens had been written by hand, showing that the letter was a standard one that had been sent to all of the invited groups.

    While the content of the letter was an extremely positive one, not one member of Daniel's group appeared pleased about it. In the past three days, all the events had lead them to believe that they were being targeted by one of Cato's biggest conglomerates, and for their request to be accepted despite being at the bottom of the barrell of Cato's merchant groups, had only confirmed their suspicions.

    "Nilo, what did you learn?" Asked the old man Golden Cauldron to Nilo, who was looking at the tokens with an uneasy expression.

    "Master, Ivan has been sticking to the territories where most of us spend our time training. He has engaged in conversation with us more than once, and has often asked about us. However, his methods were always extremely careful and vague, so they went completely over my head." Responded Nilo with an apologetic tone, before bowing his head, and adding, "My apologies for not realizing sooner."

    The old man Golden Cauldron remained quiet for a few moments, then turned to look at his son, and asked, "What are the limitations of this event?"

    "Under fifty years of age, and to not have reached high humanity stage." Responded the Silver Alchemist immediately after.

    "Then we have no other choice. We have to participate, and do well enough for others to notice our academy. If the eyes of every group of the universe will be pointed at us, it will be harder for others to scheme against us." Said the old man Golden Cauldron.

    The rest of the people present remained quiet. They had gone through something similar before, and they had been separated from a few of their most precious friends and family members. Now, all they wanted to do was sneak away, but the more they thought about it, the more it sounded an impossible feat. In the end, none of them had been able to utter a word.

    "Nilo, you have a wife and a kid here. You don't need to go." Said the old man Golden Cauldron after thinking of Reila, and her and Nilo's son Than.

    However, his words were met with a frown of Nilo's brows, and the words, "Master, I wish to go. I cannot let anybody do anything I would not do myself." His tone was grave, and his will appeared to be immovable.

    After a faint sigh, the old man Golden Cauldron muttered, "Very well. Take the tokens, and pick for others to go with you. But be careful.. There is no point in any of this if we lose any of you."

    "I will, master." muttered Nilo before grabbing the seven tokens, and walking out of the door.
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