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480 A Stain of Blood in the Snow Part 4

    Daniel and Alesia decided to spend the following moments in silence, enjoying each other's company while embracing one another. However, along with the happiness that invaded Daniel's heart and mind was a lingering feeling, which constantly reminded him that something within his body had changed forever.

    After about a minute spent in between feelings of happiness and confusion, Daniel suddenly recalled that it was not over yet, so he grabbed Alesia's shoulders, and gently moved her back. He then alternated between looking at her, and the space where the resounding sounds of ongoing battle were coming from.

    Alesia was just as worried about Gai'ha's safety as Daniel was, so she did not take his actions at heart. Instead, she said while gently cupping her hand against the side of Daniel's face, "Go.. you have already saved me." Daniel did not like the idea of letting Alesia out of his sight right after finding her even for a single moment, but the urgency of the situation did not allow him to take care of both her and her father in a battle against a cultivator at the godhood stage.

    Every second the spiritual emperor was killing tens of thousands, and Gai'ha's turn was less than a few minutes away, so he took a mental photograph of Alesia's face before disappearing, and reappearing in orbit, where the battle was taking place.

    Of the ki warriors that composed the domain's horde was now left only a small fraction, amongst which were about half of the owners of Arena's moons, Gai'ha, a few thousand powerful ki warriors, and the War God himself, who were still alive not thanks to their own power, but because of the sadistic intention of the spiritual emperor, who wanted the leading members of the Domain of the War God to watch as he disintegrated their faction's army before killing them.

    The spiritual weapons created by Gai'ha's methods were extremely effective against spiritual cultivators, and if not for the presence of the spiritual emperor, the war god alone would have been able to wipe out the whole Anima, but unfortunately, that was not the case. While the spirit of the emperor was not immune against his spiritual weapon, his power was just too vast to be affected, and any damage it received, due to both his stage of cultivation and the vicinity to the spiritual vein, would recover in a matter of instants, making his spirit nearly indestructible no matter how many times it was damaged.

    Gai'ha was behind a line composed by the domain's strongest warriors, and on her face, was nothing but horror. Even though she and Alesia were important people to the domain, the lives of millions were not something that she believed was worth sacrificing for either her, or Alesia's life. After all, they did not belong to the domain, and were only waiting for Daniel's arrival to join his side.. Now that millions had died in this attempt at rescuing Alesia, however, her guilt would only increase whenever she would hear the screams produced by one of the ki warriors who, unable to resist the emotional aura produced by the emperor, was driven to madness.

    What she did not know was the fact that the spiritual faction and the kid warriors had been at odds for tens of thousands of years, and that the former's rise in power was nothing but a reminder that, at some point, they would be destroyed. This general feeling of resignation changed after Gai'ha's appearance, which granted them a hope that was much needed within the domain. A weapon which would allow them to have a chance in their war for survival.

    Even if Gai'ha had known about this, that wouldn't have stopped the feelings of guilt that she was feeling, which only increased in intensity as the figure of the war god was slowly, but inevitably brought closer to his death.

    Inos's weak spirit was being constantly pressured, stomped by the oppressive aura of a cultivator at the early stage of godhood. What was even worse than his inability to inflict any significant damage, however, was the fact that he was unable to even force the emperor into seeing him as a threat. He had seen his men die an avoidable death, and in his heart, frozen by the thousands of battles that he had been forced to fight to reach the position he was currently, he began to feel regret.

    "Enough.. We surrender." muttered Inos with resignation, and in hope to stop this madman from destroying his whole faction.

    Unfortunately, a human who could cool the emperor's boiling spirit did not exist. Instead, the emperor's reaction to the words of the war god was one of enjoyment, which only furthered the desire for destruction that was fueling his actions.

    "You dare attack my people, and during my wedding nonetheless.." Said the spiritual emperor while increasing the density of his emotional aura in the surroundings, and inching towards the now spent war god. He then traveled the last few dozen meters while adding, "I will rip your spirit into shreds, and that of every single member of your faction.. Then, once I will get to enter the spiritual plain, I will find the roots of your spirit, and eradicate you from existence!"

    His anger increased to a point where his feelings alone were enough to kill, and yet, on the faces of the surviving ki warriors was nothing but an increasing sense of relief, almost as if the oppressive feeling that had been crippling them until now had been lifted off their shoulders.

    The spiritual emperor, now alerted by Daniel's presence, turned around with an expression filled with caution. A feeling which just like the attraction and irritation he had felt towards Alesia and Inos, was heightened to an unbearable degree.

    The thought of a peaceful resolution with Daniel did not cross the emperor's mind, and instead, the emperor released his emotional aura and forced it towards Daniel, who stood in silence as this dark aura, which would have killed anyone that would have been unlucky enough to be trapped inside it, quickly merged into a smooth black orb that surrounded his whole body.

    The ki warriors looked at the figure of Daniel with confusion. They were unsure whether he was an ally, but even if he wasn't, his appearance would have bought them enough time to escape.. or at least, that was what the war god and moon owners had thought. Their escape was stopped the moment Daniel's body was surrounded by the emperor's power, which erased the spark of hope that they had felt, leaving as soon as it had come.

    The only ones who showed different reactions were Gai'ha and Inos, who were respectively looking at Daniel with either shock, or confusion.

    Based on the expression of the emperor's face, Inos could see that this attack did not have the effect that the emperor had hoped, and that was proven a few moments later, when a pair of hands covered in a glass-like substance emerged from the smooth surface of the deadly sphere, and forced it open. From this opening emerged Daniel, who looked unaffected by the emperor's power.

    Daniel's casual actions only made the emperor angrier, but before he could do anything, Daniel raised his right arm, and casually swiped downwards in his direction.

    This casual motion created a blade of spacetime that split the space it went through, turning it into a place devoid of the three dimensions of space, and the dimension of time. This blade traveled at an extremely slow pace, and yet, the impression that stuck to the mind of those who saw it, was that it would reach its target eons before they could ever hope to avoid it.. And so it did.

    The blade landed squarely on the emperor's chest, splitting his body into two.

    The spiritual emperor looked in horror at the severed part of his body floating away from the rest of it, but he did not lose his mind. Instead, he started to draw copious amounts of spiritual essence from the spiritual vein, which invaded his body through the string-like connection between his spirit and the spiritual plain. He then turned this extremely pure spiritual essence into healing essence, with which he bridged the two halves of his body, and drawed them together.

    As the clean cut halves of his body rapidly reattached, the emperor looked at Daniel with a nervous smile, and said, "As long as I am next to Anima, I am invincible."

    Daniel said nothing, and instead slowly raised both of his arms, taking control over the surrounding space. In the blink of an eye, hundreds of blades of spacetime similar to the first one formed all around Daniel, and following his commands, they flew at the horrified spiritual emperor who, before being able to beg for his life, was split into thousands of pieces.

    The spirit of the emperor was then pulled back into the spiritual plain, and his mind, left with no spirit or body to inhabit, dissipated, marking the death of the feared Spiritual Emperor.

    The surviving members of the domain's army looked at Daniel with shock. They had felt first hand the power of the spiritual emperor, and more than anybody else, they knew that it his cultivation was not something that belonged to their universe, so when they saw Daniel kill the spiritual emperor with such ease, they had no words to express their surprise, and were forced to stand back in silence.

    However, in between this relatively small group of quiet cultivators, a figure in particular dashed towards Daniel, and stopped a few meters away from Daniel. That person was Gai'ha, and she was standing in front of Daniel with a fearless posture.

    The War God was shaken awake by Gai'ha's actions, and immediately moved next to her, but before he could reprimand her, and try to mediate things with Daniel, the latter turned to look at her, and with a look of complicity, he said, "Here you are."

    "Yeah about damn time!" Said Gai'ha, whose relationship with Daniel was akin to that of an older sister despite their difference in power. Then, before Daniel could defend himself, she added with worry, "Did you rescue Alesia?"

    Daniel smiled in response, but said nothing. Instead, he turned towards an empty point in space where a portal suddenly opened, and from it, walked out Edmund and Alesia, who had been waiting for the fight to end before joining Daniel in outer space.

    After Inos noticed that Gai'ha had a very close relationship with the one whom he had recognized as the Outcast, he decided to observe in silence. It was only after Alesia's arrival, that he finally understood. The young man in front of him was the cause of Alesia's gloomy state of mind, which now had been replaced by what he believed to be happiness.

    As soon as Gai'ha saw Alesia safe and sound the two hugged like long lost sisters, a sight which forced a smile on Inos's face that Daniel did not fail to notice.

    After the two separated, Gai'ha realized that Inos was still standing there, so she hurriedly said to Daniel, "This is Inos, the leader of the Domain of the War God, and the War God himself." She then turned towards Daniel, and added, "This is Dan. You probably know him as the Outcast."

    Inos did not care about the fact that Gai'ha and Alesia had kept this connection hidden. In fact, he was glad that the two girls had such a powerful entity protecting them, so he simply turned towards Daniel, and nodded in a simple and yet respectful greeting.

    Daniel was more curious about Inos's relationship with Alesia and Gai'ha, so he quietly navigated past Inos's mental protective talismans, and explored his memories. In them, he saw the many ways in which he had helped the two, as well as a genuine concern and sense of camaraderie towards them, which drastically improved Daniel's opinion of him. "I have to thank you for keeping my friends safe, War God." He said with a respectful tone while bowing his head in appreciation.

    It did not happen often in the domain that a much more powerful entity would show respect towards a weaker one, nor did Inos remember how it felt to not be the most powerful individual in a group, so he found himself unable to respond to Daniel's respectful attitude.

    Gai'ha noticed Inos's struggle, but right when she was about to intercede, Daniel opened a portal that lead to his planet, and said to the War God, "If you don't mind, while the two of them see their families, let us talk in front of a glass of wine. This way."

    Inos turned to look at Gai'ha to confirm whether it would be okay for him to do so, and after a quick nod of her head, he said, "Let us do that." he then walked through the portal with the remaining few thousand warriors of his faction's army.

    Daniel waited patiently for the last of these warriors to cross through with Gai'ha, and when all of them were through, he turned to look at Alesia and Edmund, who were talking to each other in a low tone that could not escape Daniel's ears.

    From Edmund's behaviour Daniel could see that he was extremely nervous, after all, Edmund knew how hard it had been on his wife to not be able to see her daughter, and that had put an enormous pressure on his heart that had buried his own feelings of anxiousness and worry. Now that she was safe, and at arm's reach, the happiness he felt struggled to break his stern and serious persona.

    Alesia noticed this, and immediately jumped into her father's arms for a big bear hug. "I am fine.. I am fine.. We are going to be fine." She said while Edmund struggled to keep his tears from streaming down cheeks with a rapid nodding motion of his head. Daniel let this go on for a long minute, after which the father and daughter separated, and together, headed towards the portal.

    As the two reached Daniel, he offered his hand to Alesia. An action which she accepted with a sweet smile.

    The smile on his daughter's face forced Edmund's lips to instinctively curve in satisfaction, so he decided to walk ahead, leaving Daniel and Alesia alone to catch up, while he composed himself.

    However, in a moment, everything changed.

    Alesia's pale complexion suddenly turned sickly white, and on her otherwise happy face appeared an expression filled with confusion. Daniel tried to grab her hand, but his hand went through hers as if he had touched nothing but a mirage of the girl he loved.. Then, suddenly, a venomous laugh.

    A laugh that came from Anima's surface, and originated from a white spectre that at some point, had appeared next to the deceased body of one of Iewah's children, which was laying next to the wooden trinket that belonged to the envoy of the soul clan.

    "Feel the suffering.." whispered the spectre as his ghastly hand tightened around the invisible string that he was holding.. *SNAP*
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