420 Giving Chase

    In the Dream Domain, only the thresholds between layers would require a high complexity of one's mind, while what would change between layers, was the amount of power used to pressure the mental warriors who inhabited it.

    That was the reason why Daniel, while not being able to walk past the threshold himself, was easily able to withstand the pressure of the second layer, which weighed on his mind at more than five times the power of the first one. If not for his cultivation, he would have already fallen to feelings of anxiousness, despair, and fear.

    Aeron, on the other hand, was feeling the pressure differently. While not as complex as his own, the sheer power of the second layer was beyond his own level of cultivation, and in order to resist its pressure, he needed to put in a constant effort into defending himself.

    This was not a waste of time for Aeron, who could use this pressure to nurture his own mind for as long as they stayed.

    The second layer was not as hospitable as the first one. Inhabited by more powerful, and significantly lower in number cultivators, its hub of activity was in the form of a massive camp filled with mentally constructed tents.

    A clear division in power was present in each layer of the Dream Domain.

    In the first layer, the amount of pressure put on the mental warriors was at the twenty-fifth phase of the mental warrior stage, and after each layer, the amount of pressure would increase by twenty five more phases. So when Daniel and Aeron entered the second phase, they level of pressure they felt was comparable to the power of an immortal at the fiftieth phase of high immortality.

    This amount of pressure was not a joke, and was an effective training ground even for those who had long went past the fiftieth phase, only stopping once one would reach the hundredth. The only way weaker mental warriors had to survive in the second layer, was by using artifact that could deaden the pressure.

    After reaching the upper limit of cultivation, one could either leave, or if in possession of enough power to go through the second threshold, start cultivating in the third layer.


    Once in the second layer of the Dream Domain, Daniel and Aeron were immediately welcomed by an old man dressed in dark green clothes, who greeted them with enthusiasm.

    This old man's power was in the upper limits of the second layer, but due to the fact that he had yet to go through the second threshold, or leave the dream domain altogether, it was clear to Daniel and Aeron that he was in a sort of retirement, and that his task was to welcome every cultivator which showed enough promise to pass the first threshold, and was not part of another mental faction.

    "Talented young men!" said the old man with surprise, as the threshold ripped open in front of him just to allow the two inside.

    It only took a look at the two of them for the old man to realize which one was the true talent. After all, Daniel's complexity was only comparable to that of the inhabitants of the first layer, meaning that the threshold would have never behaved abornally for someone like him.

    However, unsure about the relationship between the young man he did not care about, and the rarer-than-once in a lifetime talent that was Aeron, he decided to show the same amount of respect to both of them.

    The chance to invite rogue mental warriors was exclusive to the Proponents of Deep Sleep, who had granted permission to most mental factions to enter the artifact, but at the same time, had retained the right to invite those who were not part of any faction for themselves.

    The only factions not allowed in, were those who had failed to respect this rule, and after encountering rare rogue talents, had tried to steal them away from the Proponents of Deep Sleep, causing their entire faction to be banned from the artifact.

    "Young man, your powers are a complete match for my great faction. The owners of this place. How about you join us?" The old man asked a masked Aeron, with interest.

    As the old man finished speaking, Aeron turned to look at Daniel in silence, who cleared his throat in response, and said, "We are not interested in joining a faction. We are just passing through."

    Slightly annoyed, the old man turned to look at Daniel with a more serious expression, and said, "Young man, I do not mean to be rude, but your talent alone would not allow you to be where you are standing. If not for your friend, the threshold would be impossible to cross. I suggest you train in the first layer. You can't count on your friends forever."

    "Where I go and what I do with my friends is my business. Are people obligated to join the Proponents of Deep Sleep, or will you step aside?" Asked Daniel while showing a polite, yet disrespectful smile.

    Daniel's confidence was a source of great annoyance to the old man, who said with irritation, "What if I say you are? This place belongs to my faction. It is out of the kindness of our hearts that we allow mental warriors like you in. If we want you out, I don't see why I can't kick you out."

    The old man's claim was received by a simple smile.

    "This place does not belong to the Proponents of Deep Sleep. This place was created by the Mindhive, and if not for your superiority in numbers in each of its layers, you would be unable to keep it. Now move, or I will force my way through." Said Daniel while slowly increasing his power, and only stopping once it matched that of the old man himself.

    The constant increase of Daniel's power came to a great shock to the old man, who immediately became alerted. The only thing as he witnessed Daniel's power increase, was to call for reinforcements, who came out in the form of numerous poles of green light from within the many tents on sight.

    "Who are you?" Asked the old man as a few of his peers appeared next to him.

    "Let's avoid the pointless conversation. If you can't stop me here, just move aside. We didn't come here for you lot." Said Daniel before stepping towards the group of mental warriors, who stood right in the middle.

    The Proponents of Deep Sleep had been in charge of the Door to Dream State for many years, and the sheer thought that someone would dare to challenge them in their turf, while also being outnumbered, was unheard of. They had a reputation to protect with the other factions, and if they stepped back in front of a single cultivator, there was no saying how many groups belonging to stronger factions would find the courage to try to snatch this blessed sanctuary away from them.

    Daniel's unreasonable behaviour was a threat to what they had, and a threat to their business, so he had to be eliminated.

    Unfortunately, Daniel's power was beyond what he was showing, and when two of the old man's companions tried to apprehend him with the full extent of their power at the ninetieth phase, they were erased from existence with two simple slashes of Daniel's sword.

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    Shocked by Daniel's power, the old man took a step back, and said, "Kid, even if you kill us, you won't be able to take the artifact unless you kill everybody within the third layer, and you won't be able to defeat the warriors that are in there. You are only causing unnecessary trouble." In his voice, was now a hint of fear.

    Unfortunately, while a cultivator of the third layer could come down to the second, there was no way for a warrior of the second layer to enter the third, and sound the alarm. The strongest defense that a layer possessed, were the cultivators which belonged to that layer. Hence why this old man had given up aggressiveness the moment he had learned that he was no match for Daniel, and had started to use threats.

    At the same time, he was cursing himself for not simply letting him through right away, and let the cultivators within the third layer deal with him. Now, he had attacked someone stronger than he was, and the conflict had evolved to a point where blood had been shed. So now, fighting was the only choice.


    Ever since the Mindhive had heard about what had happened on the first layer, he had felt a deep feeling of uneasiness.

    Contrary to Daniel, his lack of control over the artifact which is system had created, had left the nature of the object shrouded in mystery, to a point where even he had thought that only the owner of the mental system could move undisturbed within the layers of the Dream Domain, and that nobody else would ever be able to reach the core, no matter who tried. That was why he had stored his real body in it. The body which contained his system, as well as the core of consciousness that kept him alive.

    Now, however, he had learned that the talented cultivator whom he only thought would, at best, be able to reach the fourth or fifth layer, was in fact recognized by the artifact the same way he was.

    To the mindhive, this was like learning that somebody else was in possession of the key that opened the chest in which he had left his most precious treasure, and that person, was hours ahead of him in retrieving it.

    Not in the mood to play anymore, after the report given to him by the first layer's point of contact with the Proponents of Deep Sleep, he immediately moved deeper into the second layer. However, while he was hoping to find these two invaders, what he saw after reaching the second layer, was nothing.

    The very camp that had been created by the mental warriors had disappeared completely, and the area had become empty just like it was when he had gifted the artifact to the Proponents of Deep Sleep. The only trace left, were the dying wisps of consciousness of around two hundred mental warriors, which had been destroyed.

    "What happened here?! Where are the masked man and the other kid?" Asked the Mindhive with anger, after getting a hold of a consciousness in particular.

    The consciousnesses had already been drifting within the space for a few hours, and had been absorbed by the artifact to a point where speaking was impossible, making the Mindhive's efforts vain.

    No one was more aware of the decomposition of a consciousness when within the artifact, than the Mindhive. After all, when he had received it, the object was not different from a multi-layered pocket dimension, and had been nurtured by the MIndhive himself, who had kidnapped and forced millions of people into it in order to strengthen the artifact's power.

    Hours had passed since the fight had taken place, and that meant that the people he was following, had long gone. The lack of cultivators was also a sign that the power shown by the two was enough to convince the mental warriors to abandon the artifact, or die along with the ones who tried to fight them.

    The Dream domain was made of only five layers and a hidden core. However, the Mindhive was very aware that no one but him possessed a mental complexity capable of entering the fourth layer. So, the only thing that separated Aeron from reaching the core, were the people within the third layer, and the feeble defenses he had left around the core.

    Time was running out, so he did not waste any more of it, and immediately went through the second threshold.

    Once through, he found himself in a chaotic ground that completely opposed the scenery of the second layer.

    Many flashes of different shades of green were appearing and disappearing from the sky, and clashing with an oddly bright and white-colored one which appeared to be capable to face all of the green ones at the same time.

    The many green colored lights were emitted by the few dozens of mental warriors who cultivated in the third layer, while the white colored flash was, of course, Daniel.

    Of Aeron, was not trace whatsoever.
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