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395 Surrender or Death

    The moment the remaining participants were teleported away, numerous portals appeared within the various illusions. Each one led to the location where the final test would take place, which instead of being only projected in the form of an illusion by a large formation, was in fact a real place.

    When this portals appeared, Daniel threw a small pebble that he was holding in between his fingers with the flick of his thumb, then walked through the portal along with the old man Golden Cauldron, the Silver Alchemist, Ivan, and Sigg.

    "What is this place?" Asked the Silver Alchemist with curiosity, after finding himself into a suspended booth created out of spatial essence. In it, were numerous chairs, and a table full of refreshments. From the number of seats placed in the booth, it was clear that it had been prepared for the leader of the Egregious Mercantile Ethics, and his large following.

    Attached to all sides of this small place were other booths, inside which other cultivators could be seen looking as confused as they were. Warlords, Bandits, Elite members of prominent factions, Leader of mercenary groups, rich merchants, military representatives, and even solitary cultivators. Every kind of individual was present, and their interest lay in the same thing. To see their children and disciples make their own name in the universe.

    Ever since they had arrived, Daniel had immediately noticed the Teacher, who was sitting next to his students, and was sharing his attention between him, and a few other cultivators. His appearance had also caused for numerous sensing abilities to focus on him.

    Underneath all of these booths was a massive stage, around which the numerous participants had already been teleported into orderly rows.

    It did not take long for Daniel to recognize his friends, who were unable to see them, and were instead focused on observing the other participants. Their attention was immediately attracted by a few of these participants. Something was different in them, and just like they were doing, these cultivators were noticing each other.

    Of all of these participants, the only oblivious ones were the members of Nilo's group, who were unaware that, just like how their leaders did, the followers of Iewah's children could not help but recognize, and notice one another.

    Amongst these participants, was a group of twenty young men and women dressed in dark coats identical to those worn by the Teacher's students, five noble looking young individuals that appeared to be looking down on everybody else, a dozen of humanoid beasts, and at least a hundred young men who had eyes for nothing but the face that kept appearing in their minds.

    The presence of a stage was enough to give them a hint on what would be tested in the last test of the One Above All. The other tests had removed the weakest minded, and less powerful individuals, and now that only a bunch of the original eight million participants, it was time to find who the one above all else was.

    Just as the participants and observers started to wonder for how long they would need to wait, an old man appeared in the middle of the massive stage without making a sound, or creating any ripple in the surrounding space.

    With a long white beard, and a staff encrusted with perfect essence spheres, most people recognized him as one of the most notorious explorers of the universal government. A legend who had explored more space than most people would ever see in their whole lives.

    "First of all, I would like to thank you all for taking part with this event. Members of the universal government, future promises of the many factions, beloved sons, students, and disciples." Said the old man before taking a faint, yet respectful bow directed not at the observers, but participants.

    "Now that you have come this far, it is time for you to know why this event was created." he then added with a grave tone, after straightening his back. "For many ages, our community of cultivators has grown, and expanded towards each direction like a drop of life into a vast, and quiet sea. Along the way, we have found as many enemies as we found new friends, but that never stopped us."

    "We now live as a beacon within the darkness. A darkness inside which we walk unaware of our surroundings, or next encounter. I should know, as I have spent the last seventy thousand years pushing that line to make a little contribution to the community I serve.. Unfortunately, we have stumbled upon an enemy that cannot be turned into a friend. An enemy that lurks in the everlasting darkness of space."

    "Ladies and gentlemen, we have made contact with a group whose power rivals ours. A group against which we cannot conduct a war without catastrophic results." He said to the shock of many observers.

    The universal government had grown from being a group the size of any of the other factions. Through conquest and partnership with the groups they encountered in the space they explored, they had become a giant, against which no other faction could compete, be it small, or big at the moment it was found.

    Technically, just because they were the only power around, that did not mean that there couldn't be another group of similar size, and even if there was another one, they would have to live far away in order to not have spotted. After all, thanks to the help of the explorers, the universal government had already mapped a territory outside its borders, that was much bigger than its own size.

    All of these circumstances had given the citizens of the universal government the impression that no other group similar to the universal government existed. Hence the surprise they felt when the old explorer revealed what the true objective of the One Above All truly was.

    "I know, I know." He said, interrupting the murmuring of both participants and observers. "We have encountered this new civilization only due to extremely odd events.. A wormhole. A massive portal hidden by a black hole, which connects the borders of our territory to theirs."

    Seeing how most of the observers began to worry, the old explorer quickly added, "Do not panic. We have already met with them, and discussed with their ambassadors on how we will handle the encounter between the two civilizations."

    As he finished speaking, he waited to make sure that each and every individual was paying attention to him, then said, "A competition. Our methods of cultivation against theirs. A battle amongst the most powerful and most talented. A competition that we cannot afford to lose. The One above All, just like the name implies, is the competition that we have created to find that one individual that will compete for the face, and the sake of our government."

    "Compete for your homeland, win for us, and become the type of hero in the history books that no amount of time will ever be able to erase." He said before taking a suspensful pause. He then added, "Now, anyone who is not up for it.. I suggest you leave right now. Do not throw your life away for a chance at this title, as this competition was not made for you."

    This revelation was beyond shocking for most participants. One of the most well kept secrets of the past few years had been revealed to them. A secret which easily destroyed the sense of security that these powerful individuals felt, while under the protective umbrella of the universal government.

    The observers, on the other hand, as powerful cultivators, were used to the idea of never being safe, so when this secret was revealed to them, the idea that their students and disciples could become heroes, was able to match any form of worry that they could have felt.

    Unfortunately, not all of them had this mentality. Some knew that their kids had no hope at winning this event, so they began to hope that they would be smart, and not give up their lives just to boost someone else's glory.

    To many people's disappointment and relief, a good portion of the participants decided to give up. Most of which had spectated to some absurd performances during the past few tests, or felt that they would not be able to defeat the majority of the opponents that stood in front of them.

    When only four hundred people remained, the old man spoke once again, saying, "Do not regret this decision. The previous tests were not easy. Your ability to pick your battles is a merit, not a fault."

    "For the ones who did not leave. We have tested your mind, your cultivation, your ability to fight in groups, and take advantage of an opportunity. What is left, is to test your battle prowess."

    As soon as he finished speaking, a number of tokens that matched the number of participants appeared on the stage. Before anyone could wonder what the use of these tokens was, the wind sphere encrusted in the old man's staff began to tremble, and emit enough power to cover the entire staff, and turn it into a stable tornado.

    The winds began to change, picking up each of the tokens, and sending them flying towards each of the participants. On each of these tokens, were carved the numbers who went from one to four hundred, meaning that each participant, would have to compete against the cultivator whose number corresponded to their own. For example, the cultivator with the number one token, would have to face the four hundredth, the second would have to face the three hundred and ninety-ninth, and so on.

    "The rules are simple. Surrender, or death." Said the old explorer before turning to look at the participants, and adding, "Number one, number four hundred, come on stage."

    From within the crowd that surrounded the stage, a young man in leather armor and long platinum blonde hair, and a young woman with delicate appearance, light red dress, and sharp eyes, teleported on stage. They then stood one in front of the other,waiting for the fight to begin.Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com  for visiting.

    Both of these two young cultivators were prodigies, to a point where the fame they had obtained, had allowed them to be relatively known amongst their peers. Stars of the universal government's most prominent academies, with a competitive spirit that burned through their bodies.

    "You will not receive any sort of help here, so if you don't plan on winning, I suggest you do not pass out." Said the old explorer menacingly, while looking at the two young warriors. He then added, "You may begin."

    As soon as the last three words left the old man's mouth, the two of them disappeared, reappearing in the middle of the stage, as the stone platform submitted to the power of their clashing weapons with a spider web pattern crack.

    Such power would have probably not been able to destroy a planet, but if the objective was a mountain, nothing would remain of it. The shockwave was powerful enough to strip the ground off of its softer surface, had they been on a more natural ground.

    Luckily, a spatial barrier was present to protect the other participants from the remnants of their attacks, which otherwise, would have gone past their opponent, and traveled for thousands of miles.

    As the two fought, amongst the rows of participants, the disciples, students, and subjects of Iewah's children were looking up with confusion. Despite the immensely powerful barrier that kept their leaders hidden, they could feel a faint familiar presence.

    Nilo, and the others, who were the only ones of their group that had chosen to stay after the old man's warning, were not used to this feeling, as they had not spent enough time with Daniel.

    "Did you guys feel anything strange up there?" Asked Nilo with narrowed eyes. His only answer, however, was the silence of his companions, who were just as confused as he was.

    The only one amongst them who had felt familiar with this feeling, was Zack, as he was the one who had managed to spend a longer time with Daniel during their travel back to his home planet.
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