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380 It Starts Now

    Sitting on the numerous surfaces of Finn's room, were the many senior students of Daniel's academy. Amongst them were Nilo, Finn, Miri, Riri, Yala, Cynna, Fyro, Zack, Mea, and Reila. All of their expressions were stern, as they knew that this mission was of great importance, as well as presented a great danger to those who would take part in it.

    After Nilo's explanation, the room became quiet for what was just a minute, but felt like an hour.

    Reila was looking at her husband, who she knew would participate in this mission, with the deepest form of worry. A worry that for a moment, lead her to take a step forward, and offer to join the others in this quest. However, before she had a chance to, she was stopped by Nilo, who looked at her with affection, and after shaking his head, said, "One of us needs to stay with Than. Plus, your brother would kill me if I let anything happen to you."

    These few words were enough for Reila to remember her commitment as a mother, and step back into Yala's friendly embrace, while in a saddened state.

    "I will come with you. You won't get rid of me that easily, Nilo." Said Finn after taking a step forward with confidence. The two had been close friends for many years now, in fact, almost half of their life. There was nobody whom Nilo would trust his life to more than Finn, to a point where knowing that he would be accompanied by him, immediately made him feel more relaxed.

    Immediately after Finn finished speaking, Miri took a step forward, and said, "Then I-I want to come too."

    "Don't be silly. You have yet to reach the sixth stage of immortality. Even with Daniel's permanent increase, you will only be able to match a cultivator at the perfect tenth stage of immortality. Any prodigy at that level would be able to harm you. It's too dangerous." Responded Finn with a tone that betrayed his protective feelings towards the younger of the two sisters, with whom he had been in a relationship with in the past.

    "I will." Said Fyro, who was currently amongst the highest level cultivators within the senior students of Hiel academy, with a cultivation at the perfect eigth stage of immortal cultivation, and a battle prowess quadrupled by the permanent effects of Daniel's group system.

    "I'll come too." Said Cynna while standing up from her seat, and walking towards the middle of the room.

    As soon as she spoke, Reila, Mea and Yala, with whom she had become very close, turned to look at her with worry. The one to talk was Mea, who tried to say, "Cynna, you have-" but was interrupted.

    "It doesn't matter. He isn't back yet. I will need all the hardships I can take if I want a chance to face him the next time I will see him." Said Cynna with a voice that appeared to be fearless, but that couldn't completely cover the nostalgia she felt. In her mind, was the figure of a blonde warrior covered in scars, of which she could only see the back of.

    "We only have five spots." Said Nilo, unwilling to linger too much on the matter due to the urgency of the situation.

    Many amongst the senior students of the Hiel academy were ready to step forward, but the first one to do so, was Zack, who stood only a few centimiters shorter than Nilo, and said, "I am your fifth."

    "Zack. Your cultivation is not a problem.. But you.." Said Nilo before becoming quiet once again, unable to finish the sentence he had started.

    Zack was not as talented as Cynna, as smart as Nilo, as Cunning as Finn, or even as experienced as Fyro. However, ever since he had been given a true chance of living by Daniel, he had devoted his entire life to cultivation. From the very first moment of the day, to the second before resting, he would cultivate, and practice the sword with diligence.

    In Daniel's academy, nobody could be compared to him in devotion to the cultivation path. A devotion that had allowed him to become one of the most powerful, altough unstable members of the senior students of the Hiel academy.

    What Nilo was worried about, was in fact, Zack's state of mind. His cultivation was more than enough to match up with that of the other four, but the trauma he had gone through had left him broken. He could hardly trust anyone, and simply being touched by a woman was worse for his psyche than receiving a deadly attack.

    "I am not asking for permission, Nilo. I would not have a life if not for Dan, so I will take the risk with mine, to protect one of yours." Said Zack, eradicating any chance for Nilo to refuse.

    Nilo was thinking of reasons why Zack shouldn't participate, but in the end, from his mouth came nothing but a sigh of resignation. "Alright. It is us five, then." He then said.

    "Indeed it is." Responded Finn with a proud tone tainted by an extremely thin layer of excitement. As a cultivator who pursued the highest path of cultivation, he couldn't hope for anything better than the biggest, and highest end event in the history of the universal government.

    "Go prepare yourself, the event starts in four days." Said Nilo, dismissing the senior students, and remaining alone with Reila and their child Than, who was sleeping in the other room.

    -----

    Four days later, Nilo, Finn, Cynna, Fyro, Zack, Sigg, and Ivan were teleported, along with the old man Golden Cauldron and his son, to the headquarters of the Egregious Mercantile Ethics. However, due to the density of cultivators that surrounded the building, their group was teleported a few hundred meters away from the building's entrance.

    All of these groups of people belonged to the companies that were part of the conglomerate, and each group accompanied the geniuses or prodigies that had been granted the honor to participate in the One Above All competition. While in the thousands, the participants present in this area were only the ones that had been invited by the Egregious Mercantile Ethics, and similar scenes were taking place in numerous cities of Cato.

    From a single look, the old man Golden Cauldron, as well as his son and the seven students, had felt the power of the young cultivators to be extremely close to the final stages of immortality. Nevertheless, their powers were not as impressive as those of their families, which ranged within the large spectrum of phases of high immortality. Some of them were cultivators at the initial phases, while others were so powerful, that even Mister Mir could not compete.

    Luckily, power was not everything. None of these powerful cultivators would try anything against the major conglomerates, after all, many groups of immensely powerful mercenaries above the hundredth phase of high immortaliy, and that were under the conglomerate's payroll, were constantly patrolling the system, and would interveene whenever someone that wasn't part of the major conglomerate, would try to act against one of them.

    Nevertheless, that did not stop them from acting arrogantly.

    An example of this, was the way they had looked at the members of Daniel's group the moment they had arrived. Lead by two seniors who weren't even at the high immortality stage, that accompanied a group of kids in their twenties and thirties to a challenge against the majority of the universal government's talents.

    A second reason why their group appeared odd to the other cultivators, was the fact that while the other small groups had come with numerous escorts and only one or two participants, that was not the case for their group, in which were seven participants, and only two escorts.

    "Are they here to spectate?" Asked a middle aged cultivator to his peers. All of them were the leaders of their own companies, who had decided to make small talk while the rest of the participants arrived.

    A woman who appeared in her late thirties, but that also emanated the power of a high immortal above the eightieth phase of high immortality, looked back at their group, and said, "They must be. None of those kids are at the perfect tenth stage of immortality. They can't be participants. They do not qualify."

    The old man Golden Cauldron and the rest of his group were not here to meet people, so they ignored the voices that were purposedly high enough to reach their ears, and minded their own business.

    "Ivan, Sigg, go find your families. They will probably want to say good luck to you." Said the Silver Alchemist to the two childhood friends, who immediately after, bowed politely at him and his father, and ran in the direction of their own family members, who had been waiting for them since before they had arrived.

    The moment Ivan and Sigg left, numerous barriers made out of sound and spatial essence formed around the remaining members of the group.

    Numerous powerful cultivators hidden within the crowd immediately sent their senses into the barriers that had been erected, but when their senses pierced through the thin layers of space and sound blockade, all they were about to hear, were the distorted sounds of slowed down voices, which resembled a lament from the underworld more than an actual conversation.

    What they couldn't hear, were the words that the old man Golden Cauldron had reserved for the five students, which were, "Watch each other's back, and if you can, try to separate yourself from the members of the Egregious Mercantile Ethics."

    The barriers disappeared just in time for the students to nod, and say in unison, "Yes master."

    On an unperceptible level of sound essence, numerous messages were being exchaned between the hidden experts of the conglomerate.

    "Did you hear anything? I could only hear a slowed down voice. I couldn't understand anything." Asked a cultivator with a husky voice.

    A second, and more melodious voice responded to the first one by saying, "What I have heard was nothing but a screeching noise. It only lasted a moment, and after that, the barriers broke."

    "What a brilliant use of time essence.." Said a third and more hoarse voice, which clearly belonged to an old man.

    These three cultivators were only a few of those who had been put in charge of keeping an eye on the members of Hiel academy. Unfortunately, they had encountered an obstacle that they hadn't expected, and failed in their task. Before another chance could present itself, the ttime for the event to start, had finally arrived.

    At the gates of the conglomerate's headquarters appeared numerous powerful guards which surrounded two individuals. Mister Mir, and the leader of the conglomerate, Gen Stein. The two were welcomed by the rest of the company leaders with a deep and polite bow, and the words, "We welcome leader Stein."

    The only few who did not act accordingly were the members of Hiel academy, and a few others, who by being new to the conglomerate, were not aware of the appropriate customs.

    After the welcoming words, the area became dead silent. A silence that was broken by the leader of the conglomerate, that after slowly floating a few meters above ground in order to make himself visible to everybody else, said, "Today is an important day. The One Above All has the potential to be the greatest competition that has ever been presented to the citizes of the universal government, as well as shape the heart and soul of the next generation of cultivators. The next judges, generals, and explorers might be amongst you young ones, and to you, I say good luck. Do your best, follow your hearts, and come back to your families with pride. We will be waiting."Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click  for visiting.

    After he finished speaking, he slowly raised his right hand up to the sky. Caged in between his index finger and thumb, was a nail sized bead which shone with the power of a distant star. Unfortunately, its beauty was destroyed right after, as with little to no strain, he shattered it in between his fingers.

    The brilliance of the bead exploded into a wave of light that encompassed every cultivator around, and left it's own shadow of light on the ground in the form of a teleporting platform.

    "Once again, good luck." Said Gen Stein right before the platform starte to shine, and every cultivator in possession of a participation token disappeared from the side of their family members.
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