432 No Fame Without Infamy

    One year later.

    In the last twelve months, the civilization controlled by the universal government went through a deep change.. A change provoked by rumors. Rumors that a new path of cultivation had been born. A path that could not be compared to others, and which eradicated the limits of cultivation that, until now, were considered absolute.

    These rumors originated by the rare sightings of a few specific individuals. People whom had been able to ascend all three paths of humanity without having to give up on any of them. These people were looked at with awe, and they all had one thing in common. Their place of origin.

    This place, was Hiel Academy.

    After the refinement of the Mindhive's artifact, Daniel had introduced the academy's new sacred ground to the members of his group, and along with it, had granted them a new method of cultivation. The path of true immortality.

    This path was originally meant to be kept a secret, but despite the efforts, unless willing to cage the members of the academy to his planet, he could not stop the word from spreading. After all, the students of the academy were thousands, and each of them was part of a world beyond the academy, of which Daniel and his group were not part of. This left them with no other choice but to let the word spread.

    Despite the lack of accomplishments, this discovery had elevated Hiel Academy to being one of the most prestigious academies of the whole universe, as well as the best one amongst the academies which were based outside of the Universal Government, leading to people from all over the universe to want to attend to it.

    This massive number of students, who longed for nothing but the best, presented themselves in front of each branch of the Hiel company like a swarm of angry wasps, hoping to pay or flatter their way into this mythical academy.

    Of this impressive number of young cultivators, none was rejected. What stopped them from attending it, however, were the academy's strict requirements, which were the cause for why only an average of one student out of ten thousand applicants were allowed in.

    The number of spies present amongst these applicants was surprisingly high, and their hope was to learn the new method of cultivation and bring it back to their own families and factions.

    The acceptance ratio of Hiel Academy increased its prestige, as well as the mystery that surrounded its legendary founder. However, along with the fame, came the infamy.

    Fearful of Daniel's power, most factions, companies and groups had decided to avoid opposing his decisions to keep his methods secret directly, and instead, decided to scheme in the darkness of their own homes. Naturally, that did not mean that there weren't any factions who dared to oppose them openly, which in possession of great influence and power within the government's territory, had shown their outrage towards Daniel, whom had holed up in his own planet, while the government faced the greatest threat since its birth.

    This outrage was a clear exaggeration, and its purpose was only to rile up the nearly infinite cultivators within the known universe against Daniel. In their mind, a secret was only worth to be kept as long as it was not kept from them, and if they could not be in on the secret, they might as well fight for it to become public knowledge.

    Nevertheless, this campaign found little success. A demonstration would have been effective, but the impossibility of even coming close to reaching Daniel's planet, made any effort pointless.

    Left with no choice, many coalitions of groups had attempted to barge their way into the branches of Hiel company, but the very moment someone with ill intent tried to set foot into the territory of Daniel's group, the branch would immediately shut down, never to be opened again on that planet.

    While most of these groups were of no concern to Daniel, he was tormented by those who acted in the shadows. Those who backed the outspoken ones, and whose main purpose was to test this renowned method, and judge whether it could compare to their own. The major factions, and the universal government itself.


    Second Layer of testing, former headquarters of Hiel Academy.

    Ever since Daniel had managed to reunite with his friends, the dimension which separated the company from Hiel City had become superfluous. The headquarters of the company, as well as the millions who inhabited Daniel's pocket dimension, had moved to his planet.

    The dimension which was formerly used as a hub for cultivators to deal directly with the company had now become the core of a spatial formation. This formation had two purposes. To connect Hiel company with its branches, as well as work as a trap for those who tried to force their way into Daniel's planet.

    After the official opening of Hiel Academy, this dimension had taken the name of Second Layer of Testing, and had become a place where those applied for Hiel academy, would be evaluated according to Daniel's requirements.

    "Next." said an old woman from the other side of a small wooden desk, with a weak tone.

    This woman was currently looking at a line composed of tens of thousands of people, who looked at her with confusion. This line was contained in a massive white room inside which was nothing but the desk, and the woman herself.

    Nobody was sure of when or who had created this line. After all, there was no cultivator to impose order, and the old woman that was tasked with judging them, was a common mortal.

    As soon as the old woman spoke, a young and beautiful woman with an aloof expression and provoking clothes, approached the desk. It only took a look at her to cause two types of reactions. Awe towards her wealthy upbringing, or attraction towards her stunning appearance. Next to her, was a girl in her early teens. Her behaviour was extremely polite, and she always stood next, and a step back from the young woman, as dictated by the rules of her job as a handmaid.

    "I am Nia, princess of-"

    "You don't pass." Said the old lady before the young woman could finish presenting herself.

    "WHAT?!" Shouted the princess with shock. She and her parents had rehearsed an entire presentation based on showcasing the political power of their family, which in theory, should have assured a spot in the academy, but before she could even mention of which nation she was a princess, she had been rejected. "I won't allow this! Call whoever is in charge! RIGHT NOW!" She added with dissatisfaction. While not at all influential when compared to places like Hiel Academy, this princess was still a cultivator, and as such, she could not stand to be rejected by a mortal.

    "I am in charge of this test, Princess. This is my task." Said the old lady before turning to look at the person behind the pair, and adding, "Next."

    The anger the princess was feeling was uncontrollable. For months her doting father, who before had never bothered her with a task, had tormented her to make sure that she would be accepted into Hiel Academy. That was the first time her adoring father had given her a responsibility, and she had failed miserably. Too much for her to bear, she stood up with anger, and started to pressure the old lady with the power of her cultivation. "Then take out someone worthy of judging me." She then added with a threatening tone.

    Suddenly, before the old woman could even show a response to the princess's actions, the extremely tall roof of the white room was completely torn apart by two massive sets of teeth, which uncovered the immense body of a dragon.

    The head of the dragon alone was as big as a mountain, and with each breath he released down onto this group of cultivators, he was able to fill the massive room with the smell of sulfur. "Is there a problem?" Asked Xargy as his crystal green eyes slowly lit ablaze with the intensity of two small stars.

    The princess looked up with horror.

    The shock of seeing a fully developed dragon had forced her to digress mentally, to a point where she could only spew the most common phrase she would use when feeling threatened. "I-I-I am a P-P-Princess.. Y-You-" The intent of this phrase was usually to intimidate, but the way it had been said, made it sound more like a plea.

    "AH AH AH!! This is beyond ridiculous. Do you always threaten a dragon with the title of a princess? I have no tower, nor mountain top to chain you to! Move along." Responded Xargy after letting out a hearty laugh. A laugh so powerful, that most of the applicants could not help but fall on their knees from the pressure. Their instincts were screaming to run away as fast as possible.

    The ridicule the princess felt was enough to wake her up from the shocked state which seeing Xargy had caused her to fall in. She had been embarrassed by him, and she wished nothing but to go back to her castle.. A safe place where nobody would dare to laugh at her, or ignore her words.

    "L-Let's go!" Said the princess to her handmaid before turning around, and walking down the long line of people who were either focused on laughing at her, or looking at the immense dragon who they knew could destroy most of their home planets by himself.

    The handmaid strengthened her back, and with disappointment, prepared to follow her master. Before she could move, however, she noticed the old woman, who suddenly dry coughed on her wide sleeve.

    Aware that this old lady could not have gone through all of these events without any form of consequence, the girl approached her, and rubbed the back of the old lady the same way she used to when her grandmother was still alive. She then took a clean tissue from one of her sleeves, and handed it over to her.

    Once the old lady regained her bearings, the girl bowed politely towards her. Prepared to leave in pursuit of her mistress, she was stopped by the old lady's raspy voice, which said, "You pass."


    Mindhive's artifact, first layer.

    "Stop complaining, you brat. Do you even know how many people in the universe would want to be in your place?"

    "Uncle, you always say that if I cultivate here, I will become the strongest being in the universe.. If you don't let me take a break and play with shade, as soon as I will become stronger than you, I'll beat you up!"

    "AHAHAH! You will never beat me. I survived fourteen years of eating your mother's cooking. I am basically invincible."

    This chat between Daniel and a bored Than was interrupted the moment Fyro walked through the entrance of the artifact, and with an expression more serious than his already naturally serious one, he said, "It happened again."

    Daniel exhaled with annoyance. He then turned to look at his nephew, and said, "You can play with him until I come back. After that, I don't want to hear any more excuses. Alright?"

    As Daniel finished speaking, Than showed a wide smile, and nodded energetically.

    "Good." Said Daniel right before a portion of his shadow detached itself from the rest, and dashed in Than's direction, turning into a demonic wolf cub right before reaching him.

    For a moment, Daniel watched as Than happily started to play with his wolf cub. He then turned towards Fyro, and asked, "Who is it?"

    "Giova, twenty-two years old. Her disappearance was reported ten minutes ago. I didn't notice anything." Responded Fyro with an apologetic tone.

    Noticing the guilty expression of Fyro's face, Daniel gave him a friendly pat on his shoulder, and said, "Do not worry. I will find her by the end of today."

    The two then disappeared without leaving any trace.
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