477 A Stain of Blood in the Snow Part 1

    After the night of the encounter between Daniel and Kreah, the ninth bishops had decided to increase the security around the Empress's castle. These heightened safety measures made it impossible for anyone who was still interested in kidnapping Alesia to go ahead with their plans, and ultimately ruined Yuto's schemes.

    With the assurance of Alesia's safety, Daniel decided not to create any more problems for the spiritual faction, and closed himself in his residence until now, two days later, the day of the wedding had finally arrived.

    According to the traditions of the spiritual factions, whenever the spiritual emperor would marry a woman, the bride and the groom would need to go on two different pilgrimages that would start from the white castle for the groom, and the empress's castle for the bride. The ceremony would take place in a place called 'Garden of Union'. A large expanse of grass and flowers build right in the middle, and on which the two spouses would promise eternal loyalty to one another.

    Usually the two would be accompanied in their pilgrimages by the family members or friends who had decided to attend, and testify to this union on their behalf. However, since Alesia lacked any background with exception made for the Dominion of the War God, her pilgrimage was walked by herself, a few maids, and thousands of guards.

    Daniel, on the other hand, since officially he was there to pay respect to the spiritual emperor and his faction, in order not to appear suspicious, was forced to join the spiritual emperor in his march from the white castle to the garden of union. Alongside him were Edmund, and virtually every single guest who, just like him, was attending in honor of the emperor.

    In this grand procession, Daniel was placed right behind the spiritual emperor, various bishops, and a scrawny looking man dressed in purple and black clothes. Alongside him were the faction leader of many different groups, and the most loyal allies of the spiritual faction.

    The reason why Daniel was in that position was not because of his close relationship with the emperor, but out of respect. After all, Daniel was a child of Iewah as well as believed to be the champion of Conflict. Both of these identities granted him a vast amount of respect from the majority of the cultivators in their universe.

    As far as recognition went, he was valued more than the universal government, whose envoys were placed almost at the back of the procession, and could be seen trying their best to hide the feelings of humiliation and anger they were feeling. Just a few years back, the spiritual emperor would have had to obey to their rule, and live according to their conditions, but now that their universe was part of the aware multiverse, their improvements were not as noteworthy as those of the spiritual emperor, whose power was said to be able to trump that of the strongest entities within the once feared universal government.

    In the large crowd that followed Daniel's steps, he could feel the presence of at least a dozen more children of Iewah, but contrary to what most believed possible, they were acting in a well behaved and respectful manner.

    The reason for that was obscure to most of those present, but for Daniel, it was very clear. The only reason why a child of Iewah would maintain a controlled behaviour, was at the sight of true power, and that power, presented itself in the form of the two individuals who were walking one next to the other, right at the head of the procession.

    These two people were the Spiritual Emperor, and the envoy of the Soul Clan, which had decided to participate in the wedding to apply a layer of pressure on the leaders of the other factions, and facilitate the universe's domination at the hands of the faction he was supporting. However, his decision to participate was not a happy one, as shown by his absolute indifference towards the many powerful warriors that tried to approach him with gifts and flattering words, and the bored expression that had marked his face since the moment of his arrival.

    Amongst the people that couldn't be offended, at least for the other children of Iewah, Daniel was the third and last person.

    "I heard that you have freed Tennah from the minx.." Said a middle aged man dressed in chainmail, and that carried a shield strapped behind his back, and a mall by his side to Daniel. Originally this man was walking only a few steps behind Daniel, but he had advanced towards him as they had started walking.

    Daniel had heard about this man. He was one of Iewah's children, and according to his fame, possessed a power that was similar to that of the Elementalist, and inferior to that of a very few others. He was known as the Crusader, and very little was known of his powers.

    The presence of another one of Iewah's children was always a problem for Daniel's plans, so he decided to ignore this man, who after waiting for an answer for a few moments, tried to once again start a conversation by saying, "Don't be cold Outcast. I know you are the host of my pathetic little brother, and there is no animosity between the two of us."

    Once again Daniel tried to ignore him, but unfortunately, it did not appear that this method would work, as for the third time, after marching for only a few hundred kilometers in the span of ten minutes, the Crusader said, "I bet you took their artifacts. Can you show them to me? I could trade them for those in my possession."

    At the mention of the artifacts, a large number of powerful cultivators turned to look at Daniel, almost as if ready to start the negotiations, but before any of them could say a word to him, Daniel turned to look at the crusader, and with enough power to alert the rest of the procession, he grabbed his collar, and covered him with enough essence to crush him into dust. "Unless you want me to take yours too, you better scram!" He barked out with a cold tone.

    The Crusader felt a shiver go down his back, which forced him to stand his ground as the procession kept going past him. This sort of feeling was something that he had only felt when he had encountered their oldest brother, the Deathbringer, which had spared his pitiful life after easily overpowering him.

    As the procession left him behind, the Crusader turned to look at his other siblings, expecting to be mercilessly ridiculed, but on their faces was nothing but nervousness. They had all felt Daniel's power, and were now starting to think that maybe, coming here might have been a mistake.

    The rest of the procession went on peacefully, until finally, a few hours later, the emperor and his following finally reached the garden of union, whose appearance was completely out of everyone's expectations.

    The venue where the two spouses would marry was bell-shaped, and was surrounded by what appeared to be a snow white hedge covered in multicolored flowers and herbs of spiritual nature. At the round part of the venue were thousands of seats, separated in rows that signified stature and relationship to the spouses, while in the narrower part was a small platform on which, according to tradition, the spouses would unite in marriage. Further back was a small flight of stairs that lead to a low hanging cloud on which three seats were placed.

    As soon as the emperor's entourage arrived, they immediately occupied their seats, with Daniel and Edmund sitting at the row closest to the stage, and the emperor and the envoy of the Soul Clan occupying two of the three seats placed above every other. What was left to do, was for them to wait for the bride's arrival.

    During that short wait, which felt interminable, Daniel noticed Edmund's lost expression. He  was looking at a fixed point in space while nervously rubbing his hands together.

    "You will see your daughter in a few minutes. Stay calm, don't overreact, and mimic other people's reactions.. Our chance will come." Daniel said through telepathy in an attempt to calm Edmund's mind, to which he responded by folding his arms over his chest and taking a few deep breaths.

    After helping Edmund calm down, Daniel could not help but look at the envoy of the soul clan, who had spent the last few minutes staring at the guests with an expression filled with annoyance. It did not take mind reading for Daniel to guess that the envoy felt like he was entertaining a herd of animals, and that he considered this whole event nothing but a waste of time. Yet, Daniel could only imagine what kind of rewards would conquering a dimension bring to him, which was likely to be the reason why he was putting so much effort into it.

    Something else that Daniel had noticed, was the instability of the emperor's spirit, which instead of resembling a light mist that converged into his body, was a spinning cloud of emotions which he had great difficulty controlling. He could also feel the degree of power that the spiritual emperor had reached, which was matched exactly by that of the envoy, and was just like his, at the early stages of godhood.

    The fact that the limitations of power were bound to the power of the strongest entity in the universe was the reason why Daniel had not yet cultivated further into godhood, as the stronger he would become, the stronger would the invaders of the other dimensions allowed to be in their universe.

    The fickle state of mind of the emperor was a clear result of his hurried advancement in cultivation, and to Daniel that explained why he would decide to marry someone. What he did not understand, however, was why he wanted to marry Alesia. From what he remembered, aside from her appearance, Alesia's strength was not different from that of many other cultivators.. So why her?

    With this question buzzing in his mind, Daniel waited in silence, until finally, after about half an hour, the noise of horse's hooves striking the ground at a calm pace started to resound in the distance.

    The crowd turned to look at the arriving party with interest, and soon noticed that the procession was led by a floating royal carriage pulled by two rows of spiritual bests, a sort of snow-white horse-like beings which possessed two sets of large wings tied within the reins. The carriage that was being pulled was, just like the beasts, of a pure white color, and devoid of windows. It was followed by exactly half of the bishops of the spiritual faction, who had been assigned to accompany the bride's side due to her lack of friends and family.

    As the bride's procession arrived, it caused a normal reaction to both the emperor and the guests, who respectively looked at the incoming carriage with excitement, or began to chat with one another. However, amongst these normal reactions, that of two people stood out.

    Both Daniel and the envoy were now looking at the carriage with eyes opened wide in shock, to a point where the envoy could not stop himself from springing up on his feet to get a better view of the carriage. The nature of the shock in both of their minds was identical, and was caused by the pure spiritual essence emanated behind the sealed boards of the carriage, and yet, they were asking themselves different questions.

    Daniel could not recognize Alesia by her power anymore. He knew that it was her behind the wooden walls of the carriage, and yet, she wasn't the same immortal from whom he had separated, but a spiritual being that possessed an even more pure connection to the spiritual plain than the emperor, or even the envoy himself, which despite their dedication to the spiritual path, needed a weak body to survive.

    The bride's procession stopped a few meters to the side of the venue, in a path that separated the square elevated area, from the round part where the guests were sitting, and once there, after a long minute, the door of the carriage finally opened.
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