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    The very moment the Mindhive's incorporeal eyes landed on Daniel, his anxiousness deepened beyond measure.

    While he had been able to see the appearance of Daniel more than once in the past, be it in Heimart's mind, or in the memories of the mental warrior that he had killed, those ways had not allowed him a complete understanding of him. What was lost in translation, was the feeling of the chosen of Iewah. The feeling of the presence of another system.

    To him, the presence of another system changed everything. For all he knew, Daniel could have used his system to create a path that led directly to his body, and while Daniel was significantly weaker than himself, he was more than aware of a system's unpredictability.

    Just like the Mindhive noticed him as soon as he entered the third layer, Daniel noticed him as well.

    After entering the third layer, due to the nearly unbearable mental pressure, Daniel had used Aeron's knowledge to create a mental artifact. This protective artifact was meant to protect his friend as he went ahead and into the core of the Dream Domain. Daniel's job, on the other hand, was to wait for their pursuer.

    For how much Daniel hoped to wrap things up with these mental warriors before the arrival of the Mindhive which his system had predicted, the power of each of these mental warriors was slightly beyond his own. If not for his semi immortality and better type of power, he would have simply been killed over and over again.

    Unfortunately, the Mindhive was extremely punctual, and had appeared right as the option's countdown within Daniel's mind had ended.

    The fact that Daniel was busy was the only thing that had allowed the MIndhive to keep his calm. However, while his instincts told him to fight it off with Daniel, he was aware that his survival was at stake.

    Instead of joining the group of green flashes in their effort against Daniel, the Mindhive turned into a semi invisible presence, and tried to sneak past them and towards the third threshold, which as soon as he reached a certain distance from it, just like it had done for Aeron, welcomed him in by splitting open.

    "NOT A CHANCE!" Shouted Daniel as his true essence wrapped the ghastly form of the Mindhive, and shifted the entire space around him, with the space many kilometers away from the threshold.

    The mental warriors that were engaging in combat with Daniel made use of this moment of distraction, and one of them was able to use his mentally constructed sword to slash past Daniel's defences, and to cut his left arm clean off. Immediately after, two spears pierced his back, creating two fist sized holes that went from side to side.

    As the Mindhive witnessed Daniel's death, an idea came to his mind.

    What he had learned about humanity, was that contrary to the body, which could be killed with raw power, a person's consciousness would go into a dream state, and slowly fade away in a matter of seconds. During those few seconds, the body would become a stringless puppet.

    For people like the Mindhive and Aeron, to take possession of that body was not impossible, and was in fact similar to how Sewah had possessed the body of the Oni leader.

    To eat one's dormant mind, absorb it, and take control over their body. That was the idea that had appeared in the Mindhive's mind, fed by questions like, "Can I obtain two systems?", "Who will be able to oppose me?" This was his chance to find an answer to these questions.

    Blinded by greed, instead of dashing past the warring parties and into the fourth layer, the Mindhive moved in Daniel's direction while ignoring the expressions of the mental warriors which, if noticed, would have immediately told him that something was wrong.

    As the ghastly figure of the Mindhive reached for Daniel's head with his arm, his eyes suddenly opened, and a smile formed on his lips.

    Suddenly, the space around the Mindhive solidified, and a small shadow emerged from the dark spots underneath Daniel's clothes. This shadow rapidly traveled behind the protection of Daniel's essence, and reached the spatial bubble right after.

    Like a waterfall of black ink into a bowl of water the shadow expanded through the entire bubble, and in a matter of instants merged with it, and turned the bubble into a black hole.

    Contrary to elementals, which had an innate comprehension over the type of essence from which they were born, the race of the elemental demonic wolves excelled in their control. As soon as they would devour an essence sphere, their bodies would gain each concept the sphere contained, and would turn them into living essence treasures.

    That meant that when the wolf cub emerged from hiding, and used Daniel's spatial power to turn into a black hole, the black hole that was created was perfect, and identical to one present in deep space. However, while similar in appearance, this black hole was special.

    Instead of possessing an immense gravity which attracted objects, sound, and light, this black hole contained the concept of absolute absorption. A concept which made something physical of the idea that, as long as something was covered in darkness and could not be seen, that thing would not exist.

    Trapped inside this bubble of darkness, the ghastly surface of the Mindhive was slowly absorbed, and turned into nothingness.

    While the Mindhive was drained of his power, he immediately noticed that there was a physical nature in the power that Daniel was using. Almost as if along with mind power, he had brought an immortal body into the Dream Domain.

    This worried him greatly, as differently from immortal essence, mental teleportation was not physical, and therefore, did not allow one to find a physical attachment from one dimension to the other.

    In a matter of minutes, his consciousness and mind power were slowly absorbed, until finally, no form of life remained within the confines of the small black hole.

    As the Mindhive disappeared in the darkness, the first thing Daniel did was to check the amount of karmic points above he had, which if his opponent had truly died, should have been in the trillions. However, no change had taken place, showing that whatever was the mind system's method to keep the mindhive alive, it had been put in place.

    As if on cue, a small wisp of unreactive consciousness formed within the place where the Mindhive had disappeared, and once it reached the size of a man's fist, it quickly retook the shape which the Mindhive previously had, and regained his consciousness.

    Naturally Daniel knew that to kill one of Iewah's children would not be that easy. After all, the system had led him into the dream domain for a simple reason. As long as the body was alive, the Mindhive's consciousness would be immortal.

    "Vermin. Just wait here, I will get rid of you after I kill your friend." Barked the Mindhive viciously before expanding his mind power through the entire layer. He then turned to look at the third threshold, and floated in its direction at an impressive speed.

    Once again, in an attempt to gain time for Aeron to kill the original body of the Mindhive, Daniel tried to trap his body into a sphere of spatial essence. Unfortunately, his opponent was prepared.

    The reason why the Mindhive had expanded his consciousness through the entire third layer, was because he could freely teleport wherever his consciousness was present. The moment Daniel's power had started to form around him, instead of letting himself be caught, he disappeared, and reappeared elsewhere.

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    Now dangerously close to the entrance to the fourth layer, Daniel gave up attacking, and teleport right behind him.

    The door immediately reacted to the presence of the Mindhive, and just like the other thresholds, it split into two, allowing the artifact's former owner in.

    Daniel knew that he would not be able to stop the Mindhive. The only thing he could do was hinder him for as long as he could, so instead of trying to free the area of the mind warriors, he followed his enemy into the threshold.

    Many of the mind warriors that were fighting Daniel had been stuck in the third layer for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The only thing that had kept them from leaving, was the hope that, with training, they would one day manage to be recognized worthy to enter the fourth layer. That was the reason why, as soon as the door opened, they saw hope, and tried to make use of the situation.

    Unfortunately, they were not as fast as Daniel, and the threshold closed right in front of them.. Taking away the hope which had just been created in their hearts.

    -----

    Fifth layer, Core's edge.

    When Aeron had reached the core of the Dream Domain, he had found himself in front of a simple house.

    From the way this house appeared from the outside, it was clear that no one had been living in it for hundreds, if not thousands of years. If not for the solid stone walls that stood strong, he would have thought that this ancient building was minutes away from collapsing.

    The door was even simpler. Made of old wooden planks, and with a rotten edge from which a gentle flickering light could be seen shine through, the door was held by the seemingly weak, and rusty hinges.

    It only took Aeron a simple look to know that this house was not a mental construct. The walls, the door, the light inside, they were all formed by mana, and had been taken in, and stored within a mental spell. What this spell contained, was a place where the Mindhive did not expect anyone to be able to come. A house that only existed in his memories, and that had been named by Daniel's system as 'Dream Core'

    Aeron knew that whatever it was that he was looking for, was definitely inside this house, so without waiting too long, he reached for the door's rusty handle, and opened the door.

    Before the door could even move, Aeron was teleported inside the only room of this simple house. A study room with empty bookshelves, a large ruined armchair placed above an old rug, and a lit fireplace that was the source of the light that shone through the rotten edges of the door.

    The rest of the room was completely empty, with an exception made for a little table that was placed right next to the armchair. On this table, were pieces of a small solid, which when reunited together, would create a cube. A simple game to train the mind which would be given to aspiring mental warriors at a young age, in most mental factions.

    After taking a step towards the armchair, which was currently facing the fireplace, an old and tired voice suddenly said, "Seven thousand, four hundred and twenty-two years I have played this game. Not a book to read, not a voice to listen to.. please.. just kill me."

    The moment Aeron heard this voice, his legs gave out, and he fell on his knees. The feelings of sadness, hatred, terror, unwillingness.. All of the worst feelings he had ever felt in his life while cultivating, were present in this single voice, but accentuated to a point which Aeron had never imagined possible in a single human being.

    The sheer emotions of this old man were so extreme, that even Aeron could not help but feel hurt by them.

    It was only after a few minutes, that he managed to stand back up on his feet, and wobble towards the armchair, where he found an old man with an extremely long beard, and eyes that begged to whomever looked at them, to end his sufferings.

    "I see.. You have come here to look at me suffer. Time hasn't changed you." Said the old man with disappointment, before turning to look back at the fire he had been staring at for the past thousands of years.

    This extremely sorrowful expression was broken when, contrary to all of the old man's expectations, Aeron placed his hand above his, and looked at him with pitiful eyes.

    "Who are you?" Asked the man with a broken voice, seemingly on the verge of crying for finally managing to see someone different from his vicious captor. A man who could feel for him.

    The desolation which Aeron was empathizing with was so deep, that he found himself unable to speak. However, he had already seen in the old man's mind who this person was. Someone who should have been dead long ago.. A chosen warrior of Iewah, and previous owner of the Mindhive's body.. The host of the mind system.
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