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500 Protect You From Afar

    "You are leaving?" Asked Alesia with a tone marked by surprise and worry.

    Daniel responded with a simple nod, before taking a seat on one of the kitchen's chairs. He then said, "Your father and I came to the conclusion that moving as a group won't do. I am confident that I can survive on my own anywhere, but I won't be able to protect everybody else when the attacks of the blood sect will become more frequent and ferocious."

    "No! No... we need you here. What if the spiritual clans and the blood sect attack us all at the same time? And.. our kids are here, I am here.. We need you here, and you need our help!" Said Alesia with an increasing degree of worry. In her mind, the memories of being separated from Daniel for years were still vivid, and the sheer idea of having to relive them, was enough to cause her to panic. Before her state of mind could fall into chaos, however, Daniel sprung up on his feet, walked up to her, and welcomed her into his arms.

    After Edmund's report, Daniel had realized that even though he was the strongest entity in the universe, the bigger his group became, the more people he was in charge of protecting. While this had never been a problem for him when he was able to use his system to avoid danger, it had become a great source of worry now that the inheritance left on his body constantly gave out his position to his enemies.

    By staying as a beacon for thousands of enemy cultivators to see, Daniel realized that he had become the source of most of the danger that his family and friends had to face, and because of that, he had decided to leave until he would be able to take care of the Blood Sect.

    Due to the Murderous God's inheritance, the only options Daniel had to remove this looming threat over his group, was to either be absorbed by one of the blood cultivators and die, or kill anyone that was proficient enough in the path of blood to be able to heed the call of the blood inheritance.. In other words, he needed to remove the path of blood from the multiverse, and in order to do that, he needed allies .. entities powerful enough to face a multiversal organization like the blood sect.

    "I can't go on like this. I can't fend off one assault after the other wondering if the next one will be the one where they'll have enough people to hurt you, Eli, or Lia." Said Daniel while clearing the tears off of Alesia's cheeks with his thumb. As he saw that she was starting to calm down, he let out a reassuring smile, and added, "And it's not like I'll be out of reach if anything happens. Your dad will be able to keep track of the universe I'll be in, and I'll always know that you are safe on the artifact.. So don't worry about me, okay?"

    Finally convinced, and yet not happy, Alesia nodded in understanding. She was a cultivator above everything else, and she knew that if there was someone capable of accomplishing anything that seemed unlikely to happen, that someone was Daniel. If that was not enough to convince her, as a mother, she couldn't ignore a measure that would grant her children a higher degree of safety.

    After a few more exchanges between the two, Daniel sighed in relief at the thought that his wife was supporting his decision. However, what she said next, caused his morale to worsen by a few degrees. "You have to tell them.." She said while turning to look out of the window, through which Eli and Lia could be seen playing around.

    Daniel nodded in silence before letting go of Alesia, and walking out of the door with an oddly slow pace. Even after walking out of the door, it took him more than five minutes to find the courage to say, "Eli, Lia, come here."

    The two kids suddenly stopped playing, and approached their father. In their eyes, Daniel could see that they had already realized what he wanted to tell them, after all, that was not the first time that Daniel had left the system for one reason or another. This time, however, it was different, as while he didn't know when he would return, he knew that it would be longer than the usual few days.

    "You are going again, dad?" asked Eli, who was the first one to arrive by gliding through air. Just behind him was his sister, who rode the grey wolf-sized demonic wolf.

    Daniel nodded faintly before gently falling over one knee. He then put a hand over the shoulder of each of his kids, and after looking at them with immense pride, he said, "You two will have to take care of your mother for a little longer this time. Can you do that for me?"

    Both kids nodded vigorously in response.

    "Good." Said Daniel as his lips curved into a proud smile.

    Daniel was aware that two, five, or even ten years meant nothing for the life of a cultivator.. And yet, as he tried to memorize every detail of his children's voices and faces, he could not help but feel bitter at the thought that the next time he would see his children, they would be much different.

    After a few minutes spent making sure that they would follow their cultivation properly in his absence, Daniel stood to watch as the two kids ran into the house to check on their mother. He then turned towards the demonic wolf, which turned into a black cloud, and jumped into his shadow. Before he could enter his shadow, however, he was stopped by a spatial barrier, which forced him back.

    The demonic wolf spent the following twenty seconds making more attempts at entering Daniel's shadow, but none of them were successful, leaving him with no choice but to look at Daniel with confusion.

    While the demonic wolf could tolerate being separated from his companion for a few minutes, his connection to Daniel was a spiritual one. Ever since he had encountered him in Hell, Daniel had been his whole world, and the two had never been separated.

    Unfortunately, while he would have liked to, Daniel could not take the demonic wolf with him. As the owner of hell, the demon wolf was the ruler of the demonkin, and the connection their race had with the sub dimension that had created their race. There was no telling what would have happened to Hell and the demonic race if its owner and ruler left the universe.

    "I have to do this on my own." Said Daniel while placing his hand over the wolf's head.

    The wolf immediately understood the meaning of Daniel's words, and quickly showed his unwillingness to part from him by whimpering, and trying again and again to hide into Daniel's shadow, but after a few more failed attempts, Daniel stopped him.

    "I need you to stay here, and protect the most important people I have in this world." He said while patting the sides of the large wolf's head for a few moments. As the wolf stopped whimpering, he added, "I will only feel at ease knowing that you are here with them."

    The demonic wolf was directly connected to Daniel, so when he asked him to protect his family, the wolf could feel Daniel's trust. It was only then that the wolf made a lap around Daniel's body, rubbing his body against his legs and hips, and then turned into a dark mist that disappeared into the shade of his house.

    Once alone, Daniel muttered, "It's time."

    Almost as if ready for Daniel's summoning, Edmund suddenly appeared next to him. On his face was an expression filled with confusion. "Was that it? Don't you want to at least spend a day with them before leaving?" He asked, worried that Daniel's sudden disappearance would hurt his daughter and grandchildren even more.

    Daniel shook his head in response, then said, "I don't want them to say goodbye to be as if they won't be seeing me again."

    "What about everybody else? Aren't you going to at least tell them what you plan on doing? You don't have to do this alone."

    Instead of answering the question, Daniel picked up a seemingly unimportant pebble from the ground, and handed it over to his father-in law. He then said, "If I told them, they would want to come with me.. But I am not willing to take anybody's strength away from the system we have built. Keep the artifacts, and follow the rules we have set. With the sacred grounds of the academy, you'll be unmatched in the universe. Just lay low until I come back."

    "What if something happens and we need your help?"

    "Use that." Said Daniel while pointing his finger at the pebble that Edmund was holding in his hand. "As long as you manage to get one of those into the universe I am staying, I will feel it, and come back as soon as possible. I trust you and Nova will be able to use the formation to avoid trouble."

    "Very well." Responded Edmund while dropping the pebble on the ground, as he had realized that any part of Daniel's planet would work for that purpose, and not only that specific stone. He then cleaned his hands, and asked, "Where do you want to go?"

    "As far away as possible from here." Responded Daniel.

    Edmund nodded in understanding before focusing on a point in space between the two of them, and opening a portal that to Daniel, felt different from any other.

    From a single look Daniel could see that he would never be able to create this sort of portal. He could not feel the presence of the other universes, and even if he did, without Edmund's vast perception, a moment of distraction would cause the portal to fall apart, and for him to be split into atoms, and spread through the negative zone that separated the universe where he was now, and the one that was on the other side.

    "Take care of yourself." Said Edmund as Daniel began to walk towards the portal.

    "See you soon." Responded Daniel right before crossing through without looking back.

    -----

    Somewhere in the territory of one of the former factions of the now disbanded universal government, was a planet that, only a few months before, was full of life. Used as a hub for merchants and mercenaries, the planet's population numbered in the billions, but now, not a single person or animal could be seen roaming its crust.

    While most of this planet appeared completely deserted, that was not the case for one of its main cities, where thousands of cultivators dressed in red robes, were seen moving rows and rows of chained people through the separated camps, and towards the city's palace, from which they would make no return.

    This planet was currently being used as the headquarters of the blood sect within Daniel's universe, and was inhabited by their main forces in the territory. In this camp, the newly arrived young nobles would be able to claim a portion of the universe for their families and universes, and start harvesting its inhabitants to be used as resources.

    For the last eight years many planets had suffered a similar fate, but while the invasion of the blood sect was believed to be a hunt for resources by most surviving factions, there was a secret reason for why they had decided to invade this specific universe.

    That reason was the inheritance of the Murderous God.

    While the death of the Murderous God was a heavy blow for the blood sect, this loss would have absolutely no consequences as long as one of his inheritors would manage to obtain his legacy, and use it to the level of their former overlord. That was the reason why, regardless of the competition between the strongest entities within the blood sect, they had never asked for support from other groups, or allowed for the news of the death of the Murderous God to spread.

    For years greed had blinded the mind of these inheritors, causing them to be unable to come to an agreement.. Or at least, not until now.

    After eight long years, and the umpteenth raiding party lost to their greed, the inheritors had realized that the person they were facing was their worst natural enemy. Not a common cultivator, but someone blessed by Destiny's gift, and capable of empowering his allies.

    After multiple negotiations conducted between the families, the inheritors had come to the conclusion that the only way they would be able to obtain the inheritance, would be by overwhelming their enemy with sheer numbers.

    After months spent defining details, and arguing over who had the biggest claim over the inheritance, these negotiations were finally concluded with the signing of a treaty.. but right when the treaty was about to be signed, the bright beacon that they had felt every moment they had spent in this universe, suddenly disappeared.
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