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481 In Life and Death

    "NOOOO!" Shouted Daniel with fright as the connection between Alesia's spirit and the spiritual plain was severed.. He immediately tried to reach for her, but her existence as a spiritual entity had already started to disperse, causing his hand to go through hers with no opposition.

    The words of the envoy were spoken loudly, and had not only reached Daniel's ears, but Edmund's as well, who turned to look at the couple right before walking through the portal that Daniel had opened. When he realized what was happening, his heart skipped a beat, and he instinctively dove towards his daughter. "ALESIA!" He shouted.

    Daniel, who was now completely overtaken by the panic that seeing the death of his loved one was causing in his mind, turned to look at Edmund without knowing what to do.

    Edmund flew through the few meters that separated him from his daughter in an instant, and just like Daniel, he reached for his daughter's hand. The happiness that he had felt since the two had been reunited was amongst the most relieving feeling which he had ever felt, and now that Alesia was dying right in front of him, only minutes after reuniting, only made the fall of Edmund's state of mind harder.

    The staggering feeling went through his body like a wave, which started from the top of his head, and straightened every hair of his body, forcing his heart to hasten. However, this all suddenly ended when his hand, which had reached Alesia's ethereal body only a fraction of a second after Daniel's, pierced an invisible layer of space that separated him and Daniel from her, and wrapped around her wrist.

    After managing to grab Alesia by her wrist Edmund felt a sense of relief wash over his body, "Don't worry child, I'll take you out of there!" He shouted while trying to pull her back into his side, but while his arms could easily move through the rupture in this layer of space, Alesia's could not.

    Daniel noticed the difference between his attempt and Edmund's, as well as the layer of space which felt different from the interdimensional space that he was so used to controlling, and more similar to the omnipresent space that separated their dimension, to the void. He then noticed Edmund's failed attempt at pulling her back, and immediately joined him, pushing through the ruptured layer of space with both hands, and grabbing both Alesia's, and Edmund's wrists. He then started to pull.

    Unfortunately, nothing changed. Even with Daniel's help, Alesia's ethereal body was unable to cross the rupture in space, and to make things worse, at every passing second, the force that pulled her into the obscurity that lay on the other side of the rupture became stronger and stronger, until finally, after a few painful breaths of time, the pulling force became stronger than Daniel.

    Anxiousness overtook Edmund's mind as he kept shouting words of comfort to his confused daughter, while Daniel suddenly became calm, as he had realized what he needed to do.

    He looked at the more and more agitated Edmund with an apologetic look, and placed his hand over his chest. He then pushed him away with enough force to make him release the hold that he had on his daughter, and fly backwards of a few thousand meters.

    Edmund looked at Daniel with confusion, but before he could stop or say something, a portal that led to Daniel's planet opened in his path, and closed in front of him immediately after his body went through it, leaving the two alone.

    Once alone, Daniel looked at Alesia from the other side of the rupture, and noticed the fear she was hiding behind her confident expression. "I will find you again. I promise." He said with a sweet and reassuring smile before the pressure became too strong, causing him to lose the hold he had on Alesia's arm, and leaving him unable to do anything but look as she was dragged into this unfamiliar darkness.

    Still halfway through this rupture, Daniel briefly turned towards the direction of his planet, and after a few moments, he turned to look back at the slowly closing rupture, and entered it, allowing it to close behind him.

    -----

    As the rupture closed, Daniel found himself alone in a completely obscure environment. While he was familiar with dark essence, and this darkness was the most absolute form he had ever experienced, Daniel could not feel any form of essence inside it.. In fact, there was no trace of natural mana, or essence of any kind.

    This darkness was not as oppressive as the one that needed to be pushed away by its counterpart, and instead embraced others like a blanket that one would use to cover themselves at night. However, for some reason, this comforting feeling only partially applied to Daniel. He could not explain it, but for some reason he felt both comfortable and uncomfortable, and that feeling was reciprocal, as the space around him would ripple in response to any of Daniel's movements. The more he moved, the bigger these ripples would become, and the further they would reach.

    The first thing Daniel tried to do was to close his eyes in an attempt to create a mission that could guide him towards Alesia, but to his surprise, he discovered that nothing happened. He then tried to check whether the problem simply included his ability to create missions, but even when he tried to activate his active abilities like Time is Precious, or verify whether his passive ones were still active, he found himself unable to. No matter how much he focused, not a single window would appear in his mind.

    After numerous failed attempts, he finally stopped trying. It was clear that whatever this place was, it did not allow his system to work, so the only thing left for him to do was to find a way by himself. With no one to ask, and no ground to walk on, Daniel waited for what felt like hours.. But alas, nothing happened.

    Left with no other option, Daniel started to explore the only interaction he had with this empty dimension, and that was causing ripples with his body. He began to move around, causing the ripples to increase in size, clash against one another, and reach further and further while withstanding the increasingly uncomfortable feeling that he had felt since his arrival, keeping on going until finally, the ripples created by his body became an interference that traveled the empty darkness like a current through water.

    This interference kept growing in intensity, convincing Daniel that his actions were actually having some sort of result, so he kept going in high hopes until his eyelids closed, and the interference instantly stopped.

    Confused, Daniel opened his eyes to see why the reaction to his movements had stopped, but now, in the middle of the darkness, were two individuals.

    The first person was a gentle-looking old woman dressed in simple clothes, and white hair gathered in a bun. She was sitting on an armchair with no apparent interest in Daniel's presence. In her hands were two hooks, and next to her legs was a ball of yarn made of a strange substance that Daniel could neither recognize nor understand. She was using these items to crochet something that would dissipate as soon as she would start making any progress.

    The second person was a young man in his late teens with dark brown skin, and very short afro-textured hair. He was sitting on the ground a few meters away from the old lady, with his knees joined together facing her direction. He appeared to be waiting for her to finish what she was doing before bothering her. Both of these two people had noticed Daniel's presence, as shown by a faint interruption of their actions before going back to what they were doing.

    Daniel still needed to understand where exactly he was, and these two people were the only two to whom he could ask, so he created a small platform out of his own essence of true immortality, and used it to reach the flat surface on which the two individuals were resting on.

    The moment his feet landed on the invisible floor, the old lady stopped what she was doing, and turned to look at him. "You should not be here. Leave, and take him back with you." she said before lowering her forearms over her legs to rest, and pointing at the young man with a tilt of her head.

    "I don't even know where 'here' is.." Said Daniel with confusion.

    "You don't look that stupid. I am sure you can get there on your own." Responded the old lady before once again raising her arms, and resumed working on the odd thread. Then, without looking back at Daniel, she added, "But do it after you get out. You don't belong here." As she finished speaking, a portal that led to Daniel's original universe opened right next to him.

    After seeing the portal, Daniel took a step away from it, and said, "No. I am going nowhere without my friend. She was taken here only a few moments before me. Can you help me find her?"

    The old lady was clearly annoyed by Daniel's behaviour, and said with the kind of irritation that one would see in a disappointed mother, "How typical of Destiny's spawn.. Or whatever it is that you are. You always think that you can shape your fate however you want, so you start buzzing around your little universe like you matter more than anybody else.. But this side of your universe is my territory, so behave." As she got to the end of her point, she turned to look at the young man that was sitting next to her, and added, "That applies for you too."

    Daniel finally understood.

    "You are the aspect of Death." he said with a low tone.

    The old lady did not respond, and instead, kept doing what she was doing, confirming Daniel's suspicions.

    Daniel did not wait for her to respond before adding, "And if this is your domain, this must be the underworld.. Where people's consciousness goes after they die. That must be why I feel so uncomfortable here.."

    What Daniel had said was right. He currently was in his universe's underworld, a side of his universe which, paired with the physical realm where the body would remain, and the spiritual plain in which the spirit would take refuge, composed the three realms of every universe.

    The reason why Daniel felt so uncomfortable here was because only the consciousness of an individual was supposed to enter the underworld, and while he felt the sort of comfort that a consciousness was supposed to feel once in the underworld, the other two aspects were out of place, and to blame for the uncomfortable feeling he had been forced to bear since his arrival.

    The old lady was not impressed by Daniel's accurate guess. Instead, what made her once again put down what she was doing, was the fact that Daniel was still refusing to leave.

    "If you don't give me back my friend, I will stay here, and disturb your realm for as long as I live." Said Daniel with a calm and composed tone which successfully relied his sincerity.

    "Of all the aspects of existence, you threaten Death.." muttered the woman before letting out a dry laugh. She then turned serious, and asked, "What makes you think that I won't erase you right now?"

    Daniel smiled, "Because if I am right, and he is who I think he is, then you can't kill people who can't die of natural deaths." He then said while turning to look at the young man, who had finally taken his presence into consideration, and briefly turned to look back at him.

    Naturally, Daniel was once again right. This young man was, just like him, a living entity, and he shouldn't have been able to enter the underworld. Yet, here he was, sitting respectfully next to Death herself despite her not appreciating his presence. Ever since learning that the old lady was the aspect of Death, and that the place where he was now was the underworld of his universe, Daniel had narrowed the young man's identity to a single person. And that was the eldest of Iewah's children. The owner of the system of death, known as the Deathbringer.
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