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449 Unworthy Risk

    Black Castle.

    "What the hell is this?" Xargy asked right before moving his human-like head closer to the grey orb of matter, which was now exposed in the middle of the large table, locked in a transparent box of spatial essence, and surrounded by Daniel's companions. He then took a long sniff at it, and said with shock, "It doesn't have any smell!!"

    The very moment Daniel had gone back to his planet, he had immediately started to study the grey orb that he had stolen from the alien ship. However, no matter how much, or for how long he looked at it, he could not feel any form of power or essence being emanated, making it look like something which did not belong to their universe.

    According to the kidnapped scientist, this extremely dense liquid was called grey matter. It had been found in extremely small quantities within the remnants of an asteroid that had crashed into the original planet of the Kruga's race, bringing them close to extinction. It was only after a few years, that the Kruga race had been able to restore their civilization, and were able to discover the grey matter in the crash site.

    Finally, after a hundred years, the most prominent Kruga scientists of their time were finally able to find a way to use it.

    Found out to be an extremely powerful fuel, this matter was the core around which revolved the technology that allowed them to bend space. These discoveries had brought the Kruga race through a series of technological revolutions, which ultimately lead them to space travel, and the conquest of a large number of galaxies.

    A few thousand years later, the Kruga race had elevated itself as the core of an intergalactic alliance, formed by them at the head of many alien races that were at a level of advancement similar to the one they possessed before the asteroid fell. This intergalactic alliance had a single objective, and that was to explore the depths of the universe, and discover anything that was left to discover, including the origin of the grey matter.

    It was because of this constant search for more grey matter that the Kruga race had reached the gates of the world of cultivation, by stumbling upon a sentient being that was too powerful to submit to their hegemony.. A human explorer.

    Unfortunately, this first encounter between the human race and the intergalactic alliance was not any less disastrous than the more recent expedition, the xeno protocol.

    The territories to which the two parties belonged were extremely far away, and while it would take years for the explorer to return, the Kruga ship could cover that distance in a much smaller amount of time, so instead of going back to report the discovery of another sentient and advanced race, the explorer had decided to accept the invitation to visit the intergalactic alliance, which promised him that they would escort him back to his territory after a few days.

    But, alas, a few days was all it took for the alien scientists to develop their suits, which fueled by nanoscopic amounts of grey matter, were able to compete with the mystical power of the cultivators.

    The Kruga were not originally keen on starting a war, but the more they learned about the world of cultivation, the more they started to covet its secrets. After all, the idea of living tens of thousands of years, and destroying stars with a single slash of a sword, was even more inviting than being glorified scavengers of grey matter.

    However, along with the good part of the world of cultivation, came the bad, in the form of an autoritary group of cultivators to which every new faction was forced to swear loyalty to. Unwilling to suffer the same fate of the other factions, the aliens killed the explorer, stopping him from ever going back to report what he had found.

    For the universal government, the following five hundred years were nothing worth remembering, as the loss of an explorer was a common thing, but for the intergalactic alliance, it was a race against time.

    Focused completely on their military advancement, numerous techniques that were particularly effective against cultivators were created, and soon enough, once ready to strike, they opened a wormhole that could bring the full might of their technologically advanced army into the human's territory.

    All of this had happened because of an asteroid. A minor planet that, after bringing the Kruga civilization close to extinction, had granted them a fistful of grey matter that changed everything.

    "So, this is it? I can't feel anything from it." Said Nova, just as confused as the rest of Daniel's friends. However, for how confused as the group was, that was not the same for Daniel, who felt some sort of familiarity towards the grey clump.

    Daniel did not know more than they did, so after throwing out a few guesses, the crowd dispersed, and Daniel went back into his room, where he started to examine the two artifacts he had obtained from the Viewfinder, and Unmovable.

    The two windows that had appeared in his head were identical to the one he had seen after refining the Door to the Dream State, which gave him the chance to destroy them in exchange for karmic points, merge them with his own artifact with a risk of mutual destruction, or assimilate it, obtaining two random effects of the system that had created them.

    Both of the two artifacts had been created by two minor systems, and as such, had a limited use. Tailor-made for the defensive system's owner, the belt that absorbed the force of impact was useless to Daniel, as his body was not as indestructible as the Unmovable's, and could not make use of the absorbed power when mortally wounded. At the same time, the mirror's main use was directly related to the Viewfinder's ability, which thanks to her system, was able to focus the premonitions to events on a narrower, and more useful range.

    While still be of some use to him, the mirror could only be merged within his planet, a massive object which he could not easily carry around or bring up whenever needed.

    That made both of these systems relatively useless to him. None of their power was anything he would bother with risking the destruction of his artifact for, so instead of trying to fuse them with his own, he decided to use them in another way.

    What worried him the most at the moment was his negative karma, a problem that he decided to solve by sacrificing the belt of the Unmovable in exchange for karmic points. Unfortunately, the trade only granted him a few billion points, which when compared to the trillion promised in exchange for the Door to the Dream State, was a meagre amount.

    The moment he made up his mind and accepted the system's conditions, the object he was holding disappeared from existence, causing its former owner, which felt the destruction of his artifact from afar, to scream in rage.

    Going back to a positive karma was not the end goal of destroying the Unmovable's artifact. The real goal was to make use of the luck granted with that amount of karmic points, in order to obtain the best effects he could from the precision system.

    Once Daniel made up his mind, he accepted the third option, causing the small mirror to turn into an invisible form of power, and see into his hand. Moments later, a window appeared within his mind.

    ____________________________

    The two following abilities have been added to the Karmic System:

    Pathfinder = Activate this ability to highlight the success scope of an action.

    Optimal State = Activate this ability to reach your optimal state of being.

    ____________________________

    Daniel read the description of these two abilities over and over again, until finally, he formed an opinion on them. Based on their description, their use did not appear to be that useful, so the only way he had to evaluate them, was to test them directly.

    The moment he activated Pathfinder, his karmic points started to gradually decrease at around the same speed of consumption of Time is Precious, but nothing else happened. According to the description the ability's effect required him to perform an action, so he constructed a small knife, and pointed it at the wall on the far end of his room.

    The moment he moved his arm back, a series of images appeared in Daniel's mind. Depicted on them were the movements, aiming position, and power needed to throw the knife at the point Daniel had aimed for, and do the exact amount of damage which he intended on doing. This showed to him the usefulness of this ability, which in short, was an aim assist for any form of action, which helped the owner to perform whatever he was hoping to achieve in the most optimal way possible.

    Satisfied by the usefulness of the first ability Daniel moved on to the second, that not unlike many of Daniel's powers, was an ability that would consume a predetermined amount of karmic points when activated. In exchange, this ability would reshape Daniel's being into the peak of his condition. Unfortunately, this ability could not be used consecutively, and could only be used once a week.

    After testing his new abilities, Daniel walked out of his room. "What time is it?" he asked after stopping a mortal human that was busy cleaning the corridor.

    The young woman sprung up on her feet, and with a nervous voice she said, "It is almost noon, sir.." her hands were trembling even more than her words.

    Daniel was taken aback by the woman's reaction, but he also knew that nothing he could say would make working around people who could snap her out of existence any less stressful, so he simply nodded in appreciation, and disappeared.

    When he reappeared, he was standing on an oddly flat metallic surface on the other side of the planet, in the middle of which were a transparent room, and next to it, littered on the ground, hundreds of disassembled metallic components.

    Alone in the transparent room was the scientist, which required a special type of atmosphere to survive, while bent over a few metallic components, were Virgil and a tall young man completely made out of metal metal.

    "Are you done?" Asked Daniel to the alien, who heard his words being played by his bracelet before he could hear the original untranslated version with his own ears.

    "Done?! I said I would be done in a few hours with some help, but you gave me a mute kid, and that thing, which also doesn't talk! How do you expect me to finish?" Said the scientist with exasperation. He had spent the past few hours trying to explain to Virgil and Wolfe, the metal elemental, the shape and materials of each of the items he needed, and now that the deadline had arrived, he was only halfway done.

    Once again, Daniel was astounded by how well his luck worked, as one of the powers he had just obtained, was perfect for this occasion.

    He walked towards the expanse of components, and after saying a few words to Wolfe and Virgil, he turned to look at the scientist, and asked, "Are all the pieces here?" To which the scientist responded by nodding his large head.

    For someone who could read the emotions on the face of a member of the scientist's alien race, it was clear that he was exhausted, and about to start a rant about why he couldn't finish in time because of the lack of proper help, however, before he could do that, he noticed Daniel pick up one of the pieces of whatever it was that the three of them were building.

    Daniel looked at this metallic component for a few moments. In his mind, there was no way to understand what its use was, but instead of putting it back down to avoid causing trouble, he activated Pathfinder, and began to mount piece after piece together.

    The lipless mouth of the alien opened with shock, as the machine he had promised Daniel to build was slowly put together by him one piece at a time. However, the surprise that Daniel could build the machine was nothing when compared to the fear he felt when Daniel purposely left out a few components. The reason for that was that those particular components were a beacon that, if properly mounted in the machine, would have allowed the intergalactic alliance to pinpoint the planet's position for as long as the machine was on it.

    Daniel ignored the shock of the scientist, and instead looked at what he had just built. A scale copy of the metallic orb that, fueled with the grey matter, would create a gravitational pull able to curve space, and grant superluminal light speed to those unaffected by it.

    "H-How did you know ho..." began to ask the scientist before stopping abruptly. He then said, "You are a remarkable creature, but you have forgotten a few pieces."

    Daniel did not bother to turn around, and instead, injected a few of Daniel's memories into the scientist's weak mind. In them, the scientist saw all of the people that had thought to be smarter than him, as well as their untimely deaths.

    A few moments later the scientist fell on his knees, and muttered 'I am sorry.. I was wrong.' over and over again.
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