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487 A Risky Plan

    Daniel's idea was simple in theory. Since most researchers would choose to close themselves into their facilities to focus on their work, and would only come out when they needed something, Daniel had decided that instead of personally looking for the former envoy, it would have been better to set a trap, in hope that he would come to him. Naturally, Daniel was aware that this method would require some time, but without his system, that was the best approach he could think of.By following this path Daniel was aware that he would be forced to entertain a lot of other researchers before finally coming face to face with Yaqi, and that was what happened for the following few weeks, but thankfully, those conversations were not pointless.Initially most of these cultivators would be confused by Daniel's interest in the topic. After all, word regarding the nature of his research being the detachment of a spirit from the spiritual world had spread far and wide in the laboratory, to a point where only the most reclusive within the city had yet to learn about it. However, Daniel would always manage to connect this suspicious interest with the nature of the research people knew him for.After three weeks, Daniel had talked with more than twenty researchers, and from them, he had tried to gather enough information to narrow the scope of his search.. He did so by inquiring about the facilities inhabited by reclusive researchers, cultivators who had just recently moved into the Laboratory, and about facilities inhabited by the cultivators of the Soul Clan, who were the only ones who would be aware of where Yaqi was hiding, or how to find him.Due to the strict security protocols of the Laboratory, it was impossible for other researchers to know who inhabited which facility, and that was the reason why Daniel had been forced to, as inconspicuous as possible, inquire about the empty buildings which had been recently occupied, as well as the new faces.Unfortunately, even after a month of intel gathering, Daniel was still left with a long list of a few dozen buildings spread all around the city. Even though the number was manageable in case he decided to break into each and every one of them, Daniel could not help but consider whether doing so would alert those around him before he could find Alesia. Even if the right facility was within his list, he needed to learn more.-----"A millionth of one percent of mind power, a hundredth of one percent of physical essence, and the rest is spirit. You cannot lower them any more than that. Otherwise you either lose consciousness, or the spirit gets pulled out of your body by the connection, and is taken back here. Either way, your spirit is back here in the spiritual world! What is so hard to understand?" Asked a middle aged woman dressed in worn out researcher clothes with exasperation.This woman was sitting at a large round table in the company of three other people, with whom she was having an extremely heated conversation. Amongst these three people was Daniel, who had observed in silence as she and another of them ripped each other's work apart with sarcasm and veiled insults."Unbelievable.. If I was as wrong as you are, I would be this hysterical as well. I would feel like I had wasted the last few thousand years of work. My research is public, so do not act as if you didn't know that it proves you wrong." Responded a man who appeared to be in his late twenties. His tone was calm and composed, and along with his relatively younger age with which he challenged the woman's vast experience, he was to blame for most of the woman's irritation.The woman scoffed in disdain, then added, "Your research proves nothing. As if those dumb thralls could be considered cultivators. If anything, it proves me right. Anything lower  than a millionth of one percent of mind power is not doable. You might as well be raising strong beasts at this point."As the two argued, Daniel remained in silence. He and the fourth researcher were trying to find a moment in which they could intervene, and maybe turn the conversation into a more productive one, but the exchange between the two seemed to be nowhere near an end."They do not like each other, do they?" Asked Daniel while taking a sip of his tea."This discussion is on the more polite side. At least they are not fighting it out.. yet." Responded the fourth researcher, an amiable man in his thirties, who had spent the last hour mimicking Daniel's actions in an attempt to make him feel comfortable in his presence.After a few more pointless minutes spent in wait for the two to stop, Daniel put his cup down, and asked, "What is the point of cultivation if you can't retain the full extent of your consciousness?" "EXACTLY!" Exclaimed the middle-aged woman, happy that Daniel seemed to have taken her side.The younger researcher turned to look at Daniel with disapproval before saying, "The point of cultivation is to gain power, and that does not necessarily have to be your own. Every warrior produced by my research is loyal, and they follow my orders to the death. It took me millions of attempts to perfect them.""And it sounds extremely useful, but our research is dedicated to the attainment of individual power, while what you are producing weapons. It doesn't sound like a reasonable comparison." Said Daniel with a dismissive tone that caused the young-looking researcher to feel embarrassed. He then casually turned to look back at the calmer of the four, and added, "I have been having problems with my tests.. I am trying to find the point in time which is the most appropriate to merge the mind with the spirit. Do you know anything about that?""I still find it hard to understand why you would bother with researching something that is the polar opposite of your cultivation. If anything, I would try to replicate that.. a clan with such a unique power would be a force to be reckoned with." Said the middle aged woman before her colleague could answer his question.Daniel had found himself in front of these comments more times than he had bothered himself to count, and would always answer it by saying, "I have just joined the laboratory, and don't have any data.. I am trying to gather the common knowledge that you all possess before starting the testing.""It's not like we haven't done the same thing when we first came here." Said the calmer researcher before turning to look at Daniel, and adding with a serious tone, "What you are asking is not really common knowledge. The span of life of a cultivator is so long, that such a research would require a truly uncountable number of test subjects, researchers, and time. Only the clans who have studied such paths of cultivation for eons, have bothered themselves with doing that.. Clans like the Soul Clan, and the Living Animus.After hearing the name 'Soul Clan', Daniel straightened his back, and said, "I have heard of the Soul Clan. Cultivators who merge spirit and mind evenly.. I wonder when I will get to meet them, and have a chat with them about it.""Nothing as impressive as your own path. Spirit, body and mind all merged together into a stronger form of power.. I would pay anything to know how you achieved that." Said the younger cultivator, brushing off the embarrassment he had felt from Daniel's previous comment.At first, when Daniel had just arrived, he had felt confused by other people's interest towards his true immortal essence. After all, the multiverse was infinite, and he believed that someone was bound to discover the same path of cultivation on which he had stumbled on. Even in the spiritual world there existed cultivators with three developed forms of power, like the young woman that had welcomed, but he was quickly proven wrong.Amongst an infinite number of cultivators, only an infinitesimal part had become a champion of Destiny, and amongst them, only Daniel possessed the ability to influence karma, and by extension, affect his luck, making him unique on a multiversal level.Daniel brushed off the words of the young-looking researcher with a faint smile, but decided to remain quiet. A few moments later, when he started to believe that this meeting had been as unsuccessful as the others, the fourth researcher said, "The Soul Clan are a major power in the spiritual world.. They have a network of researchers that interact with one another if need be.. but even they need to explore different paths to verify whether they are on the right path, or when they get stuck. I have heard that one of them will appear in the next forum, three days from now.""A forum? What is that?" Daniel blurted out in an attempt to stop himself from asking the name of this researcher."It is what we are having right now, but on a much larger scale. Some researchers expose their problems to a larger group that can aid or ask questions." Responded the fourth researcher.Knowing the location of a member of a researcher of the Soul Clan had been the very first concrete step forward towards Daniel's goal, and if not for his self control, he would have beamed out with joy. Luckily he was able to contain himself. "I might join then. Maybe I will have a chance to have a conversation with them." He said before picking his cup back up, and taking another sip of his now lukewarm tea.For two more hours Daniel entertained the three cultivators who, the more comfortable they became with him, the more invasive and personal their questions about his cultivation would become. Finally, after five long hours since the beginning of their meeting, he was able to take his leave, and go back to his facility.-----"Your plan is too dangerous." Said Alesia from within Daniel's mind, as he studied the map of the Laboratory in an attempt to find a facility closer to the site where the forum would take place.As one day after another passed within the spiritual world, Daniel had started to feel a certain degree of anxiousness. He knew that before his intervention on Anima, the spiritual emperor would have given Alesia to the envoy right after regaining his clarity. Yaqi would have then taken her back into the spiritual world and conducted his experiments on her for two years, after which she would have died. However, since his actions had already affected the future, Daniel was not sure whether he could rely on his system anymore.This uncertainty had started to weigh on him to a point where he became more daring, and willing to thread the more risky path. The plan he had formulated was to kidnap the researcher of the Soul Clan from the forum, take them back into his facility, and once there, force Yaqi's position out of them in any way possible.Alesia had noticed Daniel's state of mind. In fact, she was surrounded by it.. but no matter how many times she tried to discourage him from going through with it, or how many times she listed all of the things that could go wrong, due to the lack of a better option, nothing would change in Daniel's plans.The place where the forum was held was a place called Agora, a sort of small venue built as a half stadium or an auction house, in which the researchers who registered would be able to expose their problems from a small stage, to a bigger crowd of researchers.The Agora was built right in the middle of the Laboratory, and was surrounded by the city's many research districts. The district where Daniel was staying was on the edge of the Laboratory, and therefore, was not appropriate for his plan, so he paid a visit to the researcher with glasses, whom he later found out to be one of the researchers of the biggest clan in the spiritual world, and asked to be moved closer to the core of the city, a district a few hundred meters away from the Agora.In the following three days prepared for the forum by moving into his new facility and filling it with protective formations. Then, he began to wait. At the end of these three days, the date of the forum had finally arrived.
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