486 Entering Shark Infested Waters

    In the past millions of years, the study of the manipulation of the spirit had slowly and yet constantly evolved into becoming a full fledged science, more advanced than any other types of cultivation. This science included, amongst the most notorious topics, the merging of different amounts of one's spirit with an uncountable number of innate powers, splitting one's spirit into their own bodies, moving spirits from one species to another, and many more. All of this was possible thanks to the versatile nature of the spirit, but this versatility had never been something evident to the spiritual scholars. What was known of the spirit in the present, was the fruit of millions of years of testing, and had required countless experiments which, just like trying to guess a number between one and a million by starting from one and moving up, were conducted by using a constant stream of souls in a process of trial and error.Originally, these scholars were kept in the territories of their groups of origin to prevent their research from being stolen, but as time passed, the ruling conscious inhabitants of the spiritual world had realized that researchers would benefit from one another, and that what was needed was not a study room where they could dedicate themselves to research, only to be burdened by the problems of their faction at the end of the day.. But a sanctuary where they would live and breath their own research.In order to aid this level of dedication, the Laboratory had been created. A city inhabited by the most brilliant and often sadistic spiritual cultivators, who had decided to dedicate virtually all of their nearly-infinite lives in the pursuit of a form of collective white whale.. The perfect and most powerful path of spiritual cultivation. Now, thousands of researchers lived in the Laboratory, focusing on their individual research and only interacting with each other when they needed suggestions, validation for their theories, or to check whether one of the others had already conducted the same research.-----For two long weeks Daniel had traveled towards the Laboratory at full speed, and without taking a moment of rest. Even when attacked, he would curve the space around his body to create a spatial curvature that would allow him to leave his pursuers in the dust. Finally, at the end of these fifteen days, he found himself standing in front of it.. A squarely built city that extended for hundreds of kilometers in each direction, and that was filled with identical simple buildings, all protected by numerous powerful formations.Daniel's first instinct was to barge into the city and slaughter his way to Alesia's spirit, but the moment he saw the size of the city, and felt the power of many of its inhabitants, it became clear that forcing his way in was not a good choice. Without the power of creating missions he was as clueless as everybody else, so moving with caution was a necessity which, fortunately, he had not forgotten.Instead of barging in, he landed on the entrance of the city and walked towards the gate, where he was stopped by a cultivator at the late godhood stage. "Halt. Show me your identity medal, and state who you are visiting, and for what reason." The guard ordered, unbothered by the fact that Daniel was holding the rights to a whole universe in his body, and seemed to be traveling alone. In his mind, since this young man could afford to reach the city without being robbed or killed, then he must have been the young  inheritor of a big clan, and a famous one at that."I am not here to visit. I am moving in." Responded Daniel with a flat tone and an aloof expression. After thinking carefully about it, Daniel had come to the conclusion that there were only three ways for him to enter the Laboratory. The first way was to kill his way in, an option which he had discarded the moment he had seen the degree of power of which the city could count on. The second way was to pretend to be a member of the Soul Clan, and claim that he was there to visit the former envoy that had just moved in. This path would have allowed him not only to enter, but also to find Yaqi, and by extension, Alesia's spirit. However, this path had become unavailable the moment the guard had spoken. He was not aware that he needed identification to enter the Laboratory, and from the behaviour of the guards, Daniel had no doubt that, even if he said that he had lost it, they wouldn't have believed him.What was left was for Daniel to pursue his third option, which was to try and enter as a researcher.After Daniel's response, a second guard disappeared from his post, and reappeared a few seconds later along with a scrawny man dressed in a white coat. He was wearing a pair of thick glasses partially covered by his long, greasy and unkept grey hair."Which clan or clans are your patreons, and what is your research about?" Asked the scrawny researcher without bothering with stating his name, or asking for Daniel's.Daniel looked at this researcher with contempt, then said, "I am the leader of my clan, and my research is none of your damn business.""Ohh, well said." said the researcher while letting out a faint smile. This was not the first time that a cultivator new to the spiritual world had tried to enter the Laboratory. After all, each founder of a faction was a pioneer in their personal path of cultivation, which they would simplify and distribute to their followers. Once these cultivators would reach the spiritual world, they would often begin to research their personal path of cultivation, usually in hope to find their limits, or even to replicate it.The smile on the researcher's face disappeared soon after, as he said with a more polite and yet colder tone. "It isn't impossible to grant you entry to our little paradise, but as a requirement, you have to justify your permanence. Give me a broad description of your research, or leave. Who knows, you might make it to the next city without being killed by those who are eyeing you as we speak.."In the physical world, revealing the nature of someone's unique ability was a huge taboo, so as to ask about it, but, alas, Daniel had no choice.. So he let out a bit of his true immortal essence, which contained his ki, spiritual essence, and mental power in the space around him.The moment Daniel's essence left his body, dozens of cultivators left their buildings, and regrouped in the space a few hundred meters above the city, where they looked at Daniel's power with faces and hearts filled with shock. What bound these cultivators together was the fact that their research was either focused on merging spiritual essence with a human's two other natural powers, or researched how to make a spirit independent from the spiritual plain."That's impossible.." muttered an old man who suddenly appeared next to the scrawny researcher, and without asking for permission, trapped a bit of Daniel's essence into his own to analyze it.Daniel's power was currently floating within the old man's essence and around his own body, and yet, while it was obvious what one of its components was his spirit, this true essence had absolutely no connection with the surrounding space, and almost did not feel as it should have been in the spiritual world. In a way, it almost felt as Daniel's true essence was a microscopic contrasting version of the spiritual plain itself, where only his spirit was allowed to exist."What are you seeing?" Asked the scrawny man with interest.The old man did not respond directly, and instead looked at the essence of true immortality with curiosity, while muttering, "How can they have merged so cleanly.. they should fight one another before being able to.. It is not constructed either, but maybe alchemical.. No, no.. this doesn't make any sense."After talking out loud for a few more seconds, the old man released Daniel's power. He then turned to look at the scrawny researcher, and said, "I want him." The scrawny man scoffed at the old man's words, who added with a matter-of-fact tone, "Having him as a test subject will be of great benefit to my research. No one can use him better than I.""Are you kidding? Your research is worth nothing anymore. You have spent the past four hundred thousand years trying to find a way to merge mind power, physical essence and the spirit into one essence. Just by existing, he is ahead of you on your own research." said the scrawny man in reprimand.The words of the scrawny man caused the old man's pride to go down like a castle of cards. He could not deny what his colleague had said, so after a few moments spent wondering whether he had wasted half a million years or not, he went back to his building while feeling humiliated and with no purpose."The same goes for you too. Go back to your research, or I will personally escort you out of the city." Said the scrawny man to the observing cultivators, who were thinking of trying their luck the same way the old man had. Once alone with Daniel, he turned to look back at him, and asked with an extremely serious tone, "I assume that you are already aware of how to replicate your path of cultivation, and that your research is more about the.. Detachment of your spirit from the spiritual plain.. Am I correct?"Daniel nodded faintly in response.Satisfied by Daniel's response, the scrawny researcher fixed his glasses, and with a big smile, said, "Well, you are going to need a lot of spirits to test that on. You may enter the Laboratory.. Feel free to pick an empty facility, and let me know if you are in need of materials, or test subjects.. I will take care of it for you."As he finished speaking, the scrawny man turned towards the guard that had called him, and with a hint of his head, ordered him to escort Daniel in picking his residence. However, before the two could part ways, Daniel stepped forward, and said, "I would like to reside around people that research the purity of a spirit, if possible."The scrawny man once again fixed his glasses while looking at Daniel with a face twisted in confusion. He could not understand why Daniel, who possessed a power which was the polar opposite of a pure spirit, could have to gain from moving next to those who researched it.. Regardless, since there was no reason to refuse, he said, "Of course, and if you wish to exchange pointers with your colleagues, just write your questions on the board present in the square right in the middle of the city.. Someone might answer with a date and location, when you will be able to discuss your problem."Satisfied by this answer, Daniel bowed in appreciation before following the guard into the city.Around twenty minutes later, Daniel had found an empty facility right at the edge of the section of the city that was dedicated to those who researched the degree of purity of spirit that one could achieve in the physical realm, after which he parted from the guard. Once alone, however, instead of settling down in his new house, he went directly to the core of the city, where a square with a large stone pillar in its middle had been built. On this pillar were tens of thousands of sheets of paper, and on each of them was written a request, or a question.Daniel ignored the odd looks of the other researchers, and directly approached the pillar, on which he placed a message of his own.____________________________Looking to discuss the possible short and long-term drawbacks of achieving a clean separation between the physical body, and a conscious spirit. Open to a partnership regarding my next experiment (Selection will be based on the aforementioned discussion).____________________________
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