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461 Mark of Death

    ".. I will not.. die.. like this.." said the voice that came out of his decrepit lips, as the wrinkles on his face became even deeper than before. This happened so fast, that he didn't even have the time to show the panic and fear he was feeling through his expression.

    Daniel, already aware that this would happen, looked at the dying murderous god. He was hoping that he would die once and for all, as he was too big of a threat for his group, and knew enough about the kin of the children of Iewah to know how to find them. What reassured him, was the fact that they had fulfilled all the requirements they needed to fulfill in order to cause his permanent death. Now, all that was missing, was for the murderous god to be consumed by the death-like essence of corruption.

    After a few seconds, full of dejection, the murderous god realized that he was going to die, and that there was no way for him to avoid it. But, alas, that form of realization quickly brought peace of mind to him. The sort that allowed him to think clearly on what to do.

    Even if unable to save himself, the murderous god was not going to die without doing some damage. He was far from being the strongest entity in the universe, and yet, very few had as many enemies as he did. For that reason he had expected to find himself in an impossible fight at some point in the future, and in preparation for that, he had created a counter measure.

    With all of the strength he had left, he moved his bony hand near his belt, and tapped the golden bell that was hanging from it with a nearly imperceptible force. However, even though imperceptible, this force was just enough to activate the bell, whose mouth instantly turned to face Daniel, and spewed a small glob of blood.

    Daniel was not willing to test the power of this glob on his own body, so despite its extremely slow moving speed, he decided to use the essence of spacetime to move out of the way.. But the moment Daniel moved aside, this small orb of blood changed direction, and followed him.

    The speed of the glob of blood was easy to follow, but for some reason, it did not appear that increasing the distance between the two would give him any more time. The globe was approaching, and no matter if he slowed it down with time, or moved back by thousands of kilometers, the glob kept coming closer, and closer.

    Unable to avoid it, Daniel used all forms of essence he had a comprehension of to stop the glob from reaching him, but it was all useless. Almost as if not bound to the laws of this dimension, the small bead of blood reached his forehead, and seeped into his skin. However, instead of digging into his head, it stayed on the surface, changing into the symbol of a blood red sun that apparently, the others could not see.

    Daniel immediately tried to rub this mark off of his forehead, but there was no result.

    "What is this!?" He asked the murderous god with a solemn expression, and a matching tone. On the mummified face of the murderous god a smile seemed to be present, but he was already dead. "Damn it." he muttered before closing his eyes, and creating a new quest with his system's help.

    ____________________________

    *Primary Quest started: Mark of Death*

    -Description: You have been branded with the blood mark of the murderous god. In it is his legacy, the last scripture of the Heinous Path of Blood. Find a way to remove the mark while surviving the attacks of the cultivators of the Heinous Path of Blood.

    First objective set: Survive the first wave of blood cultivators.

    Reward: ???

    ____________________________

    "Piece of **.." muttered Daniel before quietly asking the system for his options, hopeful that it could give him a simple way to remove the mark of death, but instead of reassurance, his jaw tightened due to the shock.

    Instead of the three options that his system would usually give him, there were only  two. The first option was the most radical option he could have ever thought of, and it said that if Daniel wanted to free himself from the dangers of carrying this mark, he would need to exterminate every blood cultivator in existence, whose numbers reached the billions.

    If that was not bad enough in itself, the option had given him a time limit of twenty years, after which the blood cultivators of the multiverse would reorganize under a new leader, and flood Daniel's dimension in search for their late leader's legacy, bringing death to an uncountable number of people.

    The second method required him to become a blood cultivator himself, and cultivate the Heinous Path of Blood to the highest level. Only then would he be able to obtain the legacy of the Murderous God, and remove the mark of death that was turning him into a living manual for any blood cultivator willing to kill him, and obtain the legacy.

    Daniel had in mind a few things to say to the Murderous God, but he was only in time to take a last look at his smiling face, before his now mummified body turned into a cloud of dark grey dust, and he disappeared forever. In the spot where the murderous god was only a few seconds earlier, was now a glob of dark grey essence, which quickly took a human form, and turned into the body of the sovereign of corruption.

    With his usual calm tone, the sovereign of corruption waved his hand against the grey dust that was left of the body of the murderous god, and said, "There is only one person allowed to take control over this universe." He then opened a portal, and left without even bothering to look back at Daniel or his friends.

    What happened left a big impression of the sovereign of corruption in Daniel's head, but unfortunately, that was not enough to replace the bad situation that was currently flooding his mind. He looked down with uncertainty before taking a few deep breaths. Once calm, he turned around, and floated next to Jerigh.

    The two were finally facing one another, after years of being separated. The others remained quiet as they expected one of the two to say something, but that never happened. Instead, Daniel reached for a handshake.

    The time Jerigh had spent in the patriot academy had allowed him to get more used to human interactions, so when he saw Daniel's arm move that way, he knew what that meant. With a very well hidden joy he reached for Daniel's hand, but right before their hands could touch, Daniel grabbed his forearm, and pulled him closer, giving him a hug that showed him how much he was happy to see him safe and sound. In response to Daniel's actions, Jerigh grabbed Daniel's forearm, and reciprocated the hug.

    After a couple of seconds the two separated. Daniel placed his hands over Jerigh's shoulders, and said, "It's good to have you back." He then turned to look at the others, and added, "We need to go, there is something I have to tell you guys."

    The others did not dally, and instead nodded, and teleported back on Daniel's planet.. But not Jerigh. Before Daniel could leave, Jerigh once again grabbed Daniel's forearm, and once he got his attention, he turned to look at the large bead of solidified blood essence inside which was the wisp of life essence that constantly tried to resurrect the swordsman, but that was stopped by the corrosive nature of the blood essence from succeeding.

    Daniel immediately understood what Jerigh meant, and yet, he still couldn't help it but ask, "Are you sure?"

    Jerigh nodded, "I owe him my life.." he said with an extremely serious tone.

    The large sphere of blood essence still possessed the corrosive power it originally had before its controller died, but now, it wasn't marked. Instead, it was an ownerless construct of blood, extremely simple to destroy. It only took a simple thought for Daniel to create a plasma blade, and split it into two, freeing the trapped sword.

    Once freed from the corrosive prison, from the sword handle began to form the bones of a finger, followed by the bones a the palm, and of a wrist. As the bones of the forearm began to regenerate as well, fibers of tissue started to appear on the fingers, becoming denser and denser, until finally, when the humerus began to reform, the hand only lacked the skin to be a complete.

    After the arm, the rest of the body followed suit, until finally, the swordsman was whole again.

    The two observed his motionless body for a few moments, after which the eyes of the swordsman opened, and moved on Daniel, and Jerigh.. Two people for which he felt natural enmity, and a certain familiarity.

    The eyes of the swordsman remained on Daniel's body only for a few moments, almost as if assessing his power, and once satisfied, instead of acting on his enmity, he turned to look in the emptiness of space. Then, he started to float away in silence.

    The nature of the friendship between him and Jerigh were extremely complicated. After all, even after a year and a half spent together escaping from the Murderous God, the two had almost never interacted with one another, and instead, they had simply supported each other through their fighting abilities. However, Daniel could see the disappointment in Jerigh's eyes the moment the swordsman left without saying a word. A disappointment that showed a spark of gratefulness.

    For the next few minutes, Daniel remained in silence as Jerigh stared at the empty expanse of space, after which he bowed his head in gratitude towards the direction where the swordsman had disappeared. He then turned to look at Daniel, and said, "I am ready to go."

    Daniel nodded, and quietly opened a portal which led both of them to the square in front of the black castle.

    -----

    Due to his young age, Daniel had decided to keep his identity as the founder of Hiel academy a secret to its students, allowing only a few of them to know the truth. His identity was that of the academy's first student, which he could justify by being the first student of the most senior professors in the academy. Just behind Daniel's position, was that of Jerigh, who despite never being seen by most of the students, was considered as one of the strongest individuals of their age.

    Their legendary reputation had brought to the erection of their statues and creation of paintings, of which numerous copies had been placed in many of the academy's buildings.

    For that reason, when Daniel and Jerigh appeared in the square in front of the black castle, the thousands of students that were busy going back and forth the square, immediately stopped what they were doing to look at them.

    "Don't they look familiar to you?" Asked a young woman with curiosity to one of her girl friends.

    The two girls who walked along with the first one turned to look at Daniel and Jerigh, and one of them asked, "They kind of look like the first and second students."

    "Oh yeah.. They do look like them.. But I don't think it can be them. I heard that they died years ago. That's why there are so many statues of them." Said the third young girl.

    Before any of the two girls could say anything, the three heard a loud "What?!" and turned to look in the opposite direction. There, they saw the students ranked from third to seventh in the crowd. The one who had spoken was Cynna, and she was making her way through the crowd while saying "Let me through!" in a hurry.

    Once at the front of the crowd, Cynna dropped the sack of spiritual herbs she had gathered for her mission, and looked at the two with eyes opened wide with shock. This shock did not last long, and quickly turned into anger. She suddenly clenched her fist and ran towards the two, but right before her punch could land on the body of a distracted Jerigh, he turned around, and blocked the attack with ease.

    As the two looked at one another, a faint smile appeared on Daniel's face. He was already aware that this would happen, and in fact, he had planned it.

    Not willing to get in the middle of their reunion, Daniel turned towards the entrance of the castle, and said, "I'll wait for you inside." he then walked in. In his mind formed images of when to reunite, would be his and Alesia's turn.
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