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473 Worth the Pain

    Dominion of the War God, Arena.

    "KAH!"

    "Sorry! I am sorry.." said Gai'ha with an apologetic tone after stopping what she was doing, and getting closer to Inos, whose spirit she had damaged during her last attempt at severing it into two parts.

    After the kidnapping of Alesia, the War God had convinced Gai'ha to use the methods of the first war god to split his spirit into two, and put the separated part of his spirit into a weapon. This weapon would become his personal spiritual weapon, and would act as his most effective card against spiritual entities, giving him the ability to injure spirits, and by extension, a larger chance at rescuing Alesia.

    However, even after five days of failed attempts Gai'ha was nowhere near succeeding, and each additional attempt would bring Inos's spirit closer and closer to the breaking point. "I can't do it! I just can't.." she muttered while on the verge of crying.

    Her innate ability to comprehend theoretical notions was not as deep as that of many of the members of Daniel's group, and while she was powerful for her age, and was aided by the passive effects of Daniel's group system, to split one's spirit without damaging either of the two parts was something that the first War God, a great prodigy in their own right, had learned to do in a span of tens of thousands of years.

    While hurt, Inos knew that this process was necessary. Not only because he wanted to save Alesia, or because he wanted to take revenge on the spiritual faction, but also because he knew that Gai'ha was the answer to the question that had appeared in his mind over and over again in the past year. She was the only chance his faction would have to survive, and if him becoming a test subject so that Gai'ha could learn how to create spiritual weapons was necessary for that to happen, then he was more than willing to do that.

    Unfortunately, the continuous failed attempts kept piling up on Gai'ha's psyche, which paired with the worry she was feeling for Alesia, made it even harder for her to accomplish what she was trying to do.

    "I-It's nothing." Said Inos while squeezing his right eye shut in a blinking motion that could hardly cover the waves of pain that were coursing through his body. "Give me a minute.. And we can try again." He then added before standing back up on his feet, and stumbling out of the room.

    "Damn it.." cried out Gai'ha with exasperation. What she was trying to learn was one of the most complex procedures in the universe, and yet, all she could think of was how she had let Alesia be taken away, and how disappointed of her Daniel would be. After many failed attempts, the anxiousness took over her mind, and she started to cry for the very first time since the years of her youth, when she had lost many friends to the harsh environment of her corrupted home planet.

    'If only my father was here', 'I cannot do this by myself'.. These thoughts were a constant in her mind, and continued until finally, she remembered one of the darkest days she and Alesia had spent together.. The day Der was taken by the observer of the universal government, and the two of them were left alone on the warring planets of the Dominion of the War God.

    The night Der was taken, Gai'ha had begun to feel hopelessness. She had been forced to part from one friend after another, and there was nothing she could possibly do about it. Now, only Alesia was left, and in her mind, to part from her was something that sooner or later, was bound to happen. When that would happen, she would be alone.

    However, when the feelings of fear and loneliness were about to take over her, Alesia had made a promise to her. She had taken Gai'ha's hands into hers, and while looking straight into her eyes, she had said, "Dan.. he will never allow for anything to happen to us. He will find us no matter where we are.. But we have a part to play. We stay alive at all costs. Until we feel his power course through our veins, we survive no matter what."

    Alesia's words had always been able to keep Gai'ha from giving in to her worries, except that now, she was not there. All Gai'ha had were the memories of her words, but then, right when the words contained in these overplayed memories started to lose meaning to her, almost as if doubling down on Alesia's words, the power within Gai'ha's body began to surge, coursing through her flesh, skin, and mind.

    After this had happened multiple times, Gai'ha smiled, and muttered, "I got your message.. I will take your girl back. I promise."

    Two days later.

    After two long days, Inos had gone back to see Gai'ha.

    After going through six attempts at parting his soul into two, he had become aware that after every failed attempt, the damage to his soul would become gradually bigger, forcing him to take more and more to recover. Two days had passed since the sixth attempt, and now, he was back for another.

    However, while he wasn't sure about this plan anymore, the moment he had entered Gai'ha's room, he had realized that something was different in her. Her Aura felt stronger, and her gaze lacked the worry that had afflicted her ever since Alesia had been taken. She was currently sitting on her bed with her legs crossed, and behind her closed eyelids, he could see her eyes moving, sign that she was focused on practicing in her head.

    "Are you ready?" He asked while sitting in the middle of the room with his legs crossed.

    Gai'ha slowly opened her eyes, and instead of responding, she joined Inos in the middle of the room. She then extended her arms towards him, which Inos grabbed with his gloved hands.

    These black leather gloves not only covered his hands, but were also connected by two leather stripes that moved up his forearms until reaching two elbow pads. These protective pads were connected in a similar way to a pair of shoulder pads, which in turn, were connected to two leather stripes that moved across his chest, wrapped around his waist, moved down his thighs, and formed a set of knee pads. Finally, the kneepads were connected with another set of leather stripes that turned into leather boots as they reached his feet.

    That interconnected leather armor was a tailor-made item created to match the skills of the War God, and was created for the sole purpose of becoming a container for the part of spirit that Gai'ha would separate from the rest.

    The moment their hands touched, Alesia's aura made its way into Inos' body, and soon after, grabbed a portion of his spirit. A hint of pain appeared on the face of the War God, but this time, it was much more bearable than the previous attempts. This portion of Inos's spirit was then forced into his armor, and spread evenly on its surface.

    The difference between ripping away a portion of a cultivator's spirit to cripple him, and parting their spirit into two parts, was that when a spirit was forced apart, its incomplete nature would damage its connection to the spiritual plain, and therefore, make it impossible for them to cultivate any further.

    What the first War God had discovered, on the other hand, was that it was possible to move the connection to the spiritual plain into a partition of the spirit.

    By doing so, the body of the ki warrior would be detached from the spiritual plain, giving its connection up to the spiritual weapon, which they would be able to cultivate while refining their own bodies with ki. The remaining portion of spirit left in their bodies would then become the key to handle the spiritual weapon.

    While simple in theory, to force the connection to the spiritual plain out of a person's body was an extremely dangerous procedure, and the main reason why Gai'ha had failed so many times. It was only thanks to the passive boosts of the karmic group system that she had made progress, so without starting to think of all the things that could go wrong, she began to slowly split the spirit of the war god.

    -----

    Planet Motus, territory of the spiritual faction, ten days later.

    "Are you sure this will work?" Asked Edmund with a stern expression that could not hide the worry he was feeling. He and Daniel were standing in line in one of Motus's main cities along with thousands of people, and were waiting for their turn to use a teleport platform above which floated a wooden plate with the word 'Anima' carved in white.

    "There is no other way." Responded Daniel with confidence.

    After he had learned about the changes to Alesia's rescuing mission, Daniel had carefully studied each and every one of his options. Soon enough, he had come to a realization. At the moment, he was not the only cultivator at the early stage of godhood, and the reason why he was able to guess as much, was that all three of his optional paths had required him to sneak into Anima instead of barge in recklessly. From that, he had assumed that any direct attempt would end up in the spiritual faction killing Alesia before he would have a chance to rescue her.

    Of the three options given to him by the system, Daniel had chosen the third one. To infiltrate Anima during one of its most chaotic days, right when most of the high profile figures of the faction would be busy worrying about their guests, friends, and more than anything else, making sure that the Emperor's wedding would go on without any problem.

    This option demanded that he infiltrated the wedding, which would be interrupted by an unspecified event that would catch the attention of the spiritual faction, giving him a chance to take Alesia, and escape unnoticed.

    In order to sneak into Anima, Daniel had presented himself as a guest to the wedding, and was accompanied by only one of his companions. That person was Alesia's father, Edmund. When their turn to use the platform arrived, the two revealed their identities, hiding the connection to the bride to be, and expressed their deep interest in participating in the wedding.

    After reporting their presence to the bishop in charge of the receptions of the guests, Daniel and Edmund were invited into the capital of the spiritual faction as honorable guests.

    The moment the two were teleported into Anima, both had had to muster all the self control they possessed to stop themselves from swiping the planet with their senses, and to look for Alesia.. They knew that if they did, their presence would become suspicious, and if a battle broke out, due to the number of powerful cultivators present, they would likely find it hard to escape.

    The wedding was scheduled for two days from their arrival, which they had decided to spend locked in their residence, avoiding old enemies and rivals that had joined the celebration.

    Ever since their arrival, Daniel could not help but be in awe by the thick spiritual essence present on the planet, which saturated the air with a greater intensity than the true essence of his very own artifact. A level of power that was beyond that from a year ago, and that had strengthened thanks to the aid of one of the visiting champions of another dimension. He could feel the origin of this power in the depths of what appeared like the natural opposite of his black castle. A construct of white stone that towered above every other building, like a monument to the gods.

    Despite the interest the two felt for the planet's odd nature, none of it could even compete for the first place in their worries, which revolved entirely around Alesia, so they locked themselves in the luxurious residence, choosing to only come out to participate in the wedding. But, alas, right when they were hoping to go unnoticed, someone came knocking at their door in the middle of the night.

    When Edmund opened the door, he saw a single man standing behind it. Before Edmund could ask this man to identify himself, the man removed his white hood, revealing an old face twisted into a friendly smile. "Excuse the timing.. My name is Yuto. I was hoping to have a word with the outcast." Said the old man who, to those who knew him, was known as the first bishop.
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