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492 An Unforgivable Offence

    Seeing that the two members of the Omnipresent Spirits clan had no interest in wasting their time, the cultivator with glasses once again blew into his ocarina, which soon after emitted the familiar white smoke that in turn, highlighted an extremely faint black path. However, while almost invisible, this path was all the newcomers needed.

    The two teleported by the sides of the cultivator with glasses, and without the slightest hint of struggle, they picked up tens of thousands of kilometers of space, and bent it. They then turned into flashes of light that shot through space at a speed that not even the most powerful alien machines from Daniel's universe would have been able to reach.

    This traveling speed was fueled not only by the speed that their higher level of cultivation allowed them to reach, but also by their ability to bend a bigger area of space, which permitted them to shave off a lot more of the distance they had to travel than Daniel.

    Based on the disappearance of his traces, the two cultivators of the Omnipresent Spirits clan had predicted that, within a span of maximum thirty minutes, they would be able to reach Daniel, but after only a few seconds, their motion came to a sudden stop. In front of the three was a massive rocky expanse formed by uncountable dormant spirits, a sight that could be witnessed in many other places throughout the spiritual world. However, while there was nothing wrong with this sight, the sensing ability of the three cultivators was telling them that something was missing within this rocky field. That something was spiritual essence.

    \"What the hell is this?\" Asked the bloodied of the three. A few moments later, as the other two examined their surroundings with confusion, he added, \"There isn't a bit of spiritual essence for thousands of miles in every direction.. Where is it gone?\"

    No matter how insistent the bloodied of the two members of the Omnipresent Spirits clan was, neither his companion nor the cultivator with glasses had an answer for his question. What the latter was feeling, however, was the urgency to reach Daniel and get back the two cultivators of the soul clan, because if for some reason he would be unable to do that, not only would he lose his job as the keeper of the Laboratory, but his life as well.

    \"We have no time to find out what happened here.. The trail will disappear soon, we need to go.\" Said the man with glasses with urgency.

    To his words, the two members of the Omnipresent Spirits clan reacted by turning to look at him with confusion. \"Why do you think we stopped? Do you truly believe that all the power used to bend space comes from our own cultivation?\" Asked the one dressed in clean clothes.

    What the more serious of the two cultivators had said was correct. While the term 'superluminal speed' implied that a person or object had reached a speed faster than light, in reality, it was the space that was bent in a way that allowed the cultivator to cut through from one point in space to another. To create this effect while using one's own power was extremely taxing, and that was why the cultivators capable of such a feat would instead perform it by taking control over the essences present in their surroundings, instead of using their own.

    Unfortunately, the two were quick to notice that the entire area that separated them from the person they were chasing, was now completely devoid of power, and therefore, became impossible to manipulate, even for someone with a comprehension of the essence of spacetime, which was the speciality of their clan.

    Shocked by this revelation, the cultivator with glasses quietly stared at the slowly disappearing black path that extended in front of him, but after only a few moments, he shook the surprise and uncertainty out of his mind, and asked, \"Can we go around the path devoid of power, and flank him? Would our speed allow us to do that?\"

    \"The problem is that we cannot curve the space around him. The moment we reach his area of absorption, we are forced to travel at the speed of a late godhood cultivator. He'll disappear before we can even come close to him.\" Responded the cultivator dressed in clean clothes with a matter-of-fact tone.

    \"Shit..\" muttered the cultivator with glasses as the black path finally disappeared. Unsure of what to do he took off his glasses and used the lower part of his shirt to clean them. He then put them back on. Almost as if this pair of simple glasses was magical, as soon as he put them on a plan formulated in his mind.

    Without saying anything to the two members of the Omnipresent Spirits, he emitted a small amount of his spiritual essence from within his body, and forced it to take the shape of a large sheet that extended for over thirty meters. Once in place, the spiritual essence of which this sheet was formed morphed into different kinds of mana, turning it into an extremely accurate physical map.

    \"He is going in this direction. We don't have a black path anymore, but if he is causing the absence of spiritual essence, then you should be able to follow him. Make sure that he doesn't change course.\" Said the man with glasses to the bloodied of the two cultivators. He then turned to look at the other, and while highlighting a specific sequence of locations within the map with his index finger, he added, \"Based on the direction, he should be heading towards the connection to his universe. If we follow this path, we should be able to hop from one city to the other thanks to their formations.. If the clans do not delay us, we should be able to get there before him.\"

    As the cultivator with glasses finished speaking, the bloodied of the two turned to look at his companion, almost as if asking him with his eyes whether they should still follow this man in the pursuit of this criminal, or if their duties towards the pact between the main clans had already been fulfilled. The bloodied of the two had no intention of keeping on helping, but as his companion nodded, he sighed in annoyance, and as suggested by the cultivator with glasses, he turned into a flash of light, and shot in the pursuit of Daniel.

    Grateful for the help, the cultivator with glasses breathed out in relief before turning towards the remaining cultivator, and saying, \"We shouldn't dally. I am not sure how long it will take for us to obtain permission from that many clans.. The sooner we go the better.\" The remaining member of the Omnipresent Spirits clan was not one to waste time, so he nodded in agreement, and as the cultivator with glasses departed, he followed him in silence.

    -----

    Due to the fact that the member of the Omnipresent Spirits clan was bending a different sector of space to follow his essenceless trail, Daniel spent the following few days unaware that someone was following him. This time was spent cultivating with the use of Time is Precious, which allowed him to swallow an immense amount of spiritual essence faster than it could be replenished. During this time Daniel had finally reached the mid levels of the godhood stages.

    Held in his arms were still the unconscious bodies of Alesia and Yaqi, which he treated with opposite degrees of carefulness, by letting the latter's soul be sanded by the sharp attrition with the surrounding air, while the former was gently laid in rest over his shoulder.

    The reason why Daniel had not simply killed Yaqi or allowed Alesia's consciousness to move back into her body yet, was simple. If he killed Yaqi in the spiritual world, he knew that his soul would dissipate in the surroundings, only to reform soon after along with his consciousness.. Therefore, killing him was akin to releasing him, and since he had other plans for him, he decided not to do that.

    Regarding not allowing Alesia's consciousness into her pure spirit, Daniel was simply being careful. Once back in her own body, Alesia would once again be alive, but if something tragic were to happen, and she died once again, her consciousness would go back to the underworld, from which he doubted Death would allow him to take her for a second time. In his universe he was amongst the most powerful living entities, and therefore, he was able to protect her, but in the spiritual world, the risk was too high.

    With what he would do after escaping clear in his mind, Daniel flew as fast as he could towards the place where he would finally be able to feel safe, and around ten days later, he reached it. Unfortunately, the place was much less isolated than he remembered.

    As soon as he had reached the edge of the swamp, Daniel had started to notice numerous patrols appear in his sight, only to disappear as he flashed past them at a speed faster than the speed of light. However, while these cultivators were unable to even notice him, they seemed to increase in number the closer he came to his personal exit from the spiritual world.

    The suspicion that his pursuers had, instead of chasing him, directly gone to his destination only to wait them there, quickly formed in his mind, and was confirmed only minutes later as his motion came to an end in front of a barricade of extremely powerful spiritual cultivators, led by numerous members of the Soul, Omnipresent Spirits, and many other clans, both major and minor.

    \"So, it was you..\" muttered the man with glasses while realizing that the culprit was Daniel, who had appeared in front of him while carrying the most pure spirit anyone had ever seen, and a white thread, which was all that was left of Yaqi's soul.

    Daniel observed the cultivators that were surrounding the man with glasses, and quickly noticed how interested they seemed to be regarding the spirit that he was carrying over his shoulder. This interest had been put before any thought of arresting Daniel for breaking the Laboratory's rules, taking back the kidnapped cultivators, or the boredom that had brought them to act, and had become the first thought in their minds.

    Alesia's body was the demonstration that an extremely pure version of the spirit existed. A form of being that did not require a weak body to be kept from dissipating in the spiritual world. For them, as spiritual cultivators, that was akin to finding a path of cultivation that along with increasing their power, allowed them to reach the highest possible level of foundation and talent in the realm of spiritual cultivation.

    \"It would be in everyone's best interest if you moved aside, and let me through.\" Said Daniel to the formation of cultivators, who had now put the recovery of Yaqi and the female researcher aside, and were now focusing on Alesia's spirit, which they looked at with greedy expressions.

    \"You are going nowhere, kid.\" Said a woman dressed in a black robe that showed the insignia of the Soul Clan. She then added while pointing at Alesia's body, \"You attacked our clan directly, and stole our property in the process. Release my clan member, and give that back.\"

    The words of the woman struck a chord in Daniel's mind. \".. what did you just say?\" he muttered with a low tone as his surroundings quickly filled with his emotional aura, making him look as if his body was surrounded in black flames.

    Daniel was aware that in the vast multiverse there were people who thought of others as objects at their disposal, but these events were so far away from him, either emotionally and physically, that they would not affect him as much.. However, when the same level of disregard was shown to the woman he loved, the feeling of abhorrence he felt caused something in his mind to break. Even when faced with a thousand of entities more powerful than him, and left without the safety net of the karmic system, Daniel could not tolerate it.

    The many cultivators looked at Daniel's fit of rage as that of a spoiled kid, with expressions filled with contempt, but these expressions suddenly changed the moment the space that surrounded them began to crack, and show signs of instability.

    \"STOP HIM! HE IS TRYING TO COLLAPSE THE SPACE!\" Shouted the bloodied member of the Omnipresent Spirits clan, who had just appeared behind him.

    However, it was already too late.

    As the cracks deepened, and in some points could already be seen the absolute nothingness of negative space, Daniel said, \"I will make you regret speaking those words..\"
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