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422 Kige and Akkah

    Of all of Iewah's chosen ones, the host of the Mindhive was, without a doubt, the unluckiest one of all.

    Back when he was a simple newborn consciousness, Instead of pretending to be one with the system just like Sewah and the rest of Iewah's children had, the consciousness born with the mind system had convinced his host that he was a helpful entity, and that his presence was nothing but a way for him to reach deeper levels of mental cultivation.

    Being of good nature, the host had believed the Mindhive's intentions. This had led to the decision to not eradicate him. Instead, he kept increasing both his own, and the mindhive's mental power with his system's evolution.

    The more the host used his system, the stronger the Mindhive's power became.

    However, since both of them grew through the increase of their mental power, the strength of the host had always remained too powerful for the Mindhive to overcome, and devour.

    It was only during the host's ascension, right when his host had moved his consciousness into his avatar, that the Mindhive had taken over his weakened physical body.

    Once in possession of the host's body, the Mindhive had immediately formed a quest which allowed him to create a new method of mental cultivation. This method consisted in shedding his physical remains, and live as an immortal mental entity as long as his physical body was not destroyed.

    After obtaining the host's body, the Mindhive devoured the Host's avatar, stripping him of every bit of mental power that he had left, and turned him into a simple and powerless consciousness.

    The fact that both of them cultivated the mind, had made taking over the body of the host extremely more difficult for the Mindhive, who required more years than any other child of Iewah. Due to this, his hatred towards the host had grown to a point where simply devouring him was not enough.

    What he decided to do instead was to lock him into his former body.

    The only thing the Mindhive allowed him, was to play a very simple game that would allow him to recover up to the very basics of mental cultivation. He would then go back to visit him after every few years just to strip him away of every bit of mental power that the host had managed to gather, while locked away in complete solitude.

    After many visits, the Mindhive had become bored of it, and had decided to stop visiting his prisoner altogether, leaving him with only a fire, and a kids puzzle to keep himself occupied.

    This level of loneliness was absolute, and had affected him to a point where all the memories he had regarding how a voice different than his own sounded, or what the faces of his friends and family members looked like.

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    After thousands of years, the only thing left for him to do was to go insane for various decades at a time, only to recover so that he could go insane once again.

    The only warmth he had felt for the past thousands of years was not that of a parent, a lover, or a friend.. But that of a fire, which despite his many attempts, was never warm enough to end his life once and for all.

    That, stopped completely when Aeron put his hand over his own, making him feel the contact of another being, and the warmth that his pitiful gaze carried.

    "You are not alone anymore, old man." Said Aeron with a sympathetic tone.

    The man was greatly moved by Aeron's kindness, but his reality hadn't changed. He knew that he was still imprisoned within his former body, and that now that Aeron had arrived, instead of enjoying the company of another person after a very long time, he said, "You are a kind young man.. But this is not a place for you to be. Leave, before he realizes I am not alone, and comes back."

    "I need to be here." Said Aeron before injecting his memories into the man's mind, showing him what the Mindhive had done in the past years, how they had encountered him, and what he had done to their friend.

    After learning about Aeron's intention, the man turned to look at him, and said, "You can't kill him. Even with your talent.."

    Aeron had already delved into the man's mind, and therefore, was already aware of the problem that stood in front of him. Even with the complexity of his power, or his full strength, Aeron would never be able to hurt the Mindhive's body.

    That was not something that Daniel's system had predicted, but something that he had learned after seeing the body that this man was inhabiting. A physical body protected by a mind power that was impossible for him to go through. A power which showed the same level of complexity he possessed, and worked as the bars that kept the host's mind caged into the Mindhive's body.

    ".. but I can." Said the man after noticing the worry in Aeron's eyes. He then added, "He enjoyed the idea of leaving me here to rot, only leaving me a game for kids to spend time, and a fire I could only wish was hot enough to take my life, but while he constantly drains my mind power, I have found a way to cultivate."

    "While he wasted time fighting his brothers and sisters, I have spent millennia studying the nature of mind.. And I have learned that there is a third factor which everyone ignores. See, it is not the power that allows us to strengthen ourselves, but our experience.. Our depth. He thought that by taking away my mind power he would disable me, but he just paralized me."

    What the man said was true. In reality, mind power was made out of three components. The power, complexity, and depth. The power was the strength and amount of mental power which could be produced by one's mind, and increased as one's cultivation developed.

    However, power was not a cause, but a consequence of complexity. The higher one's complexity was, the faster their power would increase, but even as important as complexity was, depth was even more so.

    With depth, the man meant an imaginary cultivation which could, if paired with power, realize one's cultivation in a more realistic sense. In concept, it was extremely similar to experience. A man could be born with the experience of the strongest being in history, but his body would still be that of a newborn child. It was only thanks to talent and power, that he would grow to match that level of experience he possessed.

    By suffering in solitude for the past thousands of years, during his lucid years, the man had focused on his own depth of mind, carving an imaginary path that only awaited for a big enough trace of power to be paved.

    That trace had finally presented itself in the form of Aeron.

    There was no doubt in Aeron's mind that, what this man was saying was the truth. After all, while not knowing what it was, or its importance, this theory matched perfectly with numerous forms of mental cultivation present in the universal government.

    For example, the cultivation method of the Psionic Dimension, the faction of which he was formerly a member of, allowed one to deepen one's mind depth by empathizing with others. The reason why they had never discovered this element of the mind, was because they had never lacked the power in a way that this man had.

    Their power would immediately pave the imaginary path which their depth created, preventing them from noticing that their depth was actually moving ahead from their mental power.

    With nothing less to do, the former host had been left with only time to cultivate in between his episodes of insanity, allowing him to create a path that extended further than the Mindhive's already paved road.

    "How can I do that?" Asked Aeron with hurry. He knew that Daniel was holding their enemy back, and was unsure of how much time they had left.

    "You know how to create a mental stone, right?" Responded the man while slowly standing back on his feet, and walking to the middle of the room. He then sat on the floor with his legs crossed.

    "We don't have time for that. The Mindhive will be here soon." Responded Daniel before walking in front of him.

    While smiling for the very first time after thousands of years, the man responded by saying, "You don't need to make a whole one. Sit in front of me. I will assimilate the power as you gradually turn it into a solid. Let's commence."

    -----

    For the past two hours, Daniel had tried everything he could to delay the Mindhive by using his odd control over dark essence, and even multiple uses of Karmic Retribution. Unfortunately, no matter how many times he tried, in the end, he was never able to completely stop him for more than a few minutes.

    At the same time, the Mindhive had tried everything he could to kill Daniel once and for all, but while he was easily able to erase his mind, or even destroy his body, Daniel would always be regenerate to his peak condition right away thanks to his spirit, which the Mindhive was unable to affect.

    The more time passed, the more anxious the Mindhive became. Daniel was stopping him for a reason, and he wasn't willing to allow this plan to have a chance to succeed.

    This situation continued until the two crossed through the fourth threshold.

    As soon as they entered the innermost layer, the Mindhive said, "After I kill your friend, I will find a way to squash you as well." He then turned to look at the small house, and bolted towards it at the highest speed he could muster.

    This speed was not something that Daniel was unable to match, but he knew that in order to stop him, opposing him physically was a waste of time. So, instead of following him, he took over the space around the house, and formed a thin and invisible layer of space that gently forced the Mindhive to change direction as soon as he touched it.

    Annoyed by umpteenth use of this petty trick, the Mindhive closed his eyes, and instead of flying straight towards the house, he felt its presence, and moved in its direction.

    Daniel knew that this method would not work for long, so as soon as the Mindhive broke out of it and went past it, he followed him at the top of his speed. Unfortunately, it was already too late. Daniel could do nothing as the Mindhive went through the entrance of the house-shaped Dream Core.

    The Mindhive entered the core with the intention of slaughtering Aeron, but as soon as his eyes landed on the former owner of his body, his ghastly arms fell down his sides.

    The power of the man he had trapped within the artifact was now beyond his own, and he was currently waiting for him while showing the benevolent and kind expression which he had forced him to lose in the past.

    "Kige.. how did you.." Said the Mindhive with shock. A shock which immediately turned into horror the moment his former host, whose name was Kige, snapped his fingers, and turned the physical body of the mindhive,  the one which he was inhabiting, into dust.

    As the body was destroyed, it almost felt as if Aeron, the Mindhive and Kige were shaken awake. However, contrary to Aeron's confusion, Kige was calm, and knew exactly what had happened. The protective measure of the system had protected the Mindhive from his first death, not unlike Second Chance did for Daniel many times before.

    Nn the Mindhive's face was pure panic. "DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE! YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS IS IN THE BODY! KILL ME AGAIN, AND YOU WILL DIE AS WELL!" Shouted the Mindhive to the top of his lungs.

    Despite the threat Kige was still at peace, and with a calm and fearless tone, he said, "Akkah, you have lived to do enough. It is time to end this." He then snapped his fingers once more.

    "NO!!"
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