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504 Half Moon Sec

    "His head.. He is not right." Said the distinct old man with perplexity, and a deep disappointment.

    A general feeling of confusion flooded the minds of the observing ancient cultivators, who had been waiting for Daniel to come out of the trial as their awaited candidate for the rulership of the universe. Instead of a smart, talented, and ambitious young man, however, what they had obtained was a simple minded individual.

    "How is that possible? There isn't such a thing as a permanent injury for a cultivator at the godhood stage!" Exclaimed in exasperation an old woman with long grey hair, who was standing at the front row of the large group of cultivators.

    The distinct old man that approached Daniel first ignored the words of the old woman, and instead walked a few steps closer before raising his left arm. When his hand reached for the space over his head, Daniel pretended to be alerted, and instinctively covered his head in worry.

    Once again, the old man shook his head in disappointment. He then turned to look at the group of observers, and said with a matter-of-fact tone, "His head was injured during an attack on his clan, of which he is the only survivor. It is possible that his cultivation kept him alive long enough for him to become stable, but that also, due to the natural recovery of his brain injury, the damage remained, like a scar."

    "Is it something that can be fixed?" Asked a third cultivator. A middle aged man dressed in a noble attire. This question was directed at a hunchback old lady dressed in black robes, who appeared to be holding her weight over a walking stick made out of white-colored wood that she was holding with her right bony hand.

    The woman's hood slowly turned towards the distinct old man who was still standing next to Daniel, and then she asked with a raucous voice, "How long?"

    "All the stable memories are from at least three years ago. Anything more recent is but an unstable image that floats his mind. I don't think he is able to retain any new memory." Responded the distinct old man after turning to look at Daniel, and being once again tricked into believing his fabricated past. "Do you have a way to fix him?" He then asked.

    The old woman shook her head before saying, "After so long, the injury has become part of him. Even if the injured part of his brain was removed, and restored through healing essence, the recovered injury would be restored too. I am afraid the damage is a permanent one."

    "What do we do then? He can't compete like that. Shouldn't we just kill him?" Asked the grey-haired old woman before turning to look at the rest of the spectators. As she noticed a lack of support towards her proposal, she added, "There is still six months before the competition.. We should have enough time to find another candidate."

    As the white-haired old woman finished speaking, the large group of powerful cultivators started to discuss amongst themselves. Some claimed that having Daniel as a candidate was better than nothing, while some others claimed that having him as their candidate would ruin the prestige of their sector of space. Nevertheless, none of them dared to impose their opinion in front of the old man who was standing next to Daniel, who was clearly the person in charge.

    "Alright, be quiet now." Said the old man, causing the group of ancient cultivators to stop talking. He then turned to look at them, and while emanating a domineering and oppressive power, he said, "Lord Competition does not care for politics. If his test allowed the kid to pass, then it means that he is as eligible as everybody else."

    As he reached this point, his attention was caught by the grey-haired old woman, who appeared to be about to express her discontent. However, before she could say anything, the old man added, "We will spread the news that our sector has found a candidate, and at the same time look for a better one in the following six months. If we are lucky, we will have a real competitor by the time the competition starts.. If we aren't, we'll decide whether to let him participate, or not. Any objections?"

    Despite some disagreement on whether to let Daniel hold the reputation of their faction in his hands, none of the observers had the guts to refuse the old man's decision, so they nodded in silence.

    "Very well." said the old man, ignoring the few amongst the group of ancient cultivators that appeared to be holding their dissatisfaction. He then turned to look at a younger looking man with white hair and dressed in noble robes, and said, "I think it would be best if he stays in the Half Moon Sect. What do you think?"

    "With all due respect, Ancestor, but why us?" Responded the young-looking cultivator with confusion. He was the ancient elder of the Half Moon Sect, a sect that he had helped to create, and that he had protected for millions of years.. What left him with nothing but confusion, however, was the fact that he had been chosen to look after Daniel, despite the opinion he had expressed a few moments earlier, which was to kill Daniel, and to continue their search for a better cultivator.

    "Because regardless of the damage to his head, his talent is still comparable to that of a cultivation prodigy, and your sect trains all the prodigies of our sector. Let him stay amongst his peers until we find a better candidate.. Or if we are unlucky, until the day of the competition." Responded the old man before placing his left hand against Daniel's back, and pushing him towards the young looking man.

    Daniel noticed the extremely faint expression of dissatisfaction that appeared on the face of the young-looking cultivator, and while he was following the vague suggestions of the system and couldn't really understand what was going on, he had more or less understood who was in charge amongst these people.

    The feelings of dissatisfaction disappeared as fast as it appeared from the face of the young-looking cultivator, who grabbed Daniel's arm, nodded towards the one he called ancestor, and disappeared. The following few moments were nothing but a blank image in Daniel's mind, which lasted for just a few moments.

    When Daniel finally came to, he looked around in an attempt to get his bearings, and immediately realized that he was standing in a completely different place. Next to him was the young-looking cultivator, and in front of the two of them, were two identical looking old men who possessed a power only second to the young-looking cultivator. The only apparent difference between two was the length of their hair.

    When Daniel opened his eyes, the two were in the midst of bowing towards his escort.

    What followed was an exchange of looks and words between the three cultivators, who looked at Daniel with a variety of emotions which varied from disappointment, annoyance, and hostility. These exchanges ended as the young-looking ancestor waved his hand at the two grand elders, and after saying "Get this fool out of my face." he walked off, leaving Daniel along with the two old men.

    Once the grand elder of the Half Moon Sect left, the two grand elders exchanged a few more words amongst themselves while Daniel looked around, and noticed the mystical scene that surrounded him.

    He and the two elders were currently standing in the middle of a white marble platform suspended above a sea of clouds. Covering a third of this round platform was an impressive looking white frame, at the top of which were carved the words Half Moon Sect, and filled with a golden substance identical to the one Daniel had seen in the black pedestal, at the top of the flight of stairs.

    Within this large white frame, was a golden-colored double-leaf gate whose shiny bars could hardly stop those who observed it from seeing what lay on the other side.. and that, was an immense floating archipelago that was holding a just as big mountain chain, at the bottom of which were built hundreds of buildings and platforms connected to one another by sturdy bridges.

    The first thing that Daniel noticed, as he stood at the edge of the platform, was that he could not feel the bottom of the abyss. No matter how far he pushed his sensing ability, underneath him was nothing but an endless descent into what appeared to be common fog. The sky was in no way different. Past the observable blu layer that could be seen, Daniel could not feel the crust of the atmosphere, only more sky.. Meaning that this was not a common planet, or that the planet itself was of a size that went beyond Daniel's wildest imagination.

    Past the bridge that connected the platform and the immense floating archipelago, Daniel could see some microscopic black dots that moved in groups, floated around, or roamed from one building to another.

    After spending a few minutes looking around, the two old men finally finished talking.

    Based on what Daniel could understand of their conversation, the two were deciding about his accommodations. According to the one with shorter hair, Daniel needed to be placed amongst the prodigies who possessed his same level of cultivation, while the elder with longer hair believed that if they did that, sooner or later, people would find trouble with him.

    At the end, the two decided to go with the suggestion of the old man with longer hair.. and that, was to place Daniel along with the outer disciples. There, while his power would make him appear as an anomaly, he was guaranteed not to be bothered by the other prodigies.

    The accommodation for the outer disciples was located on the side of the first mountain one would encounter after going through the gates of the Half Moon Sect, and consisted in many rows of small private caves. Some of these caves were sealed by large rocks, while the entrance of the others was clear.. A sign that they were not being used.

    Once the two old men arrived in the proximity of the lodgings of the outern disciples, the thousands of cultivators that were walking around fell on their knees, and prostrated as a sign of respect. "We greet the great elders!" They shouted in unison.

    The two elders did not bother with the greeting, and instead, the twin with longer hair pointed at a young man with the lowest level of cultivation, and as soon as the young man took notice of his actions, he said with a domineering tone, "You. Take this kid, find him an immortal cave, and take care of him. Am I being clear?"

    The young man with short bark-brown hair who had been selected, without even looking back at Daniel, bowed his head down to the ground, and screamed, "DISCIPLE ACCEPTS THE TASK!" Then, along with the rest of the outer disciples, he kept prostrating in wait for the two elders to give out more tasks.

    It was only after two full minutes spent with their foreheads pressed against the ground, that the outer disciples realized that the two elders had long gone, and that only Daniel was left standing in the midst of thousands of prostrating cultivators.

    When the outer disciples noticed that the two elders had left, they stood up, and approached Daniel. They then bowed politely towards him.

    Despite possessing a cultivation that did not surpass the early godhood stage, these cultivators were still able to feel Daniel's power, which was leagues above their own. To them, he was a prodigy amongst prodigies who had likely misbehaved, and whose punishment was to be sent to the outer caves. A place where he would be forced to live and interact with weaker and less talented cultivators.

    However, that was not a punishment for the young man, as serving a prodigy such as Daniel was something that many of them would envy.. but before any of them could express this feeling towards the selected young man, the most attentive amongst them started to notice that something was wrong with Daniel.

    "Senior, my name is Wu Yue. Please follow me, I will take you to the best unoccupied cave in the outer lodgings." Said the selected young man before pointing towards the rows of caves. Then, and after making sure that Daniel was following him, he walked towards the side of the mountain, where the caves were built.

    As he followed the young cultivator that had been tasked with taking care of him, Daniel was able to hear the cloaked voices of the other disciples, who were whispering to one another by transmitting their voices directly into each other's ears. The topic of conversation was whether Daniel had been sent there as a punishment, or if something was wrong with his head, and he had been discarded as a cultivator from the sect.

    It was only thanks to Daniel's control over the essence of spacetime, that he had been able to curve the space that surrounded these threads of sound essence, and cause them to reach his ears before they could reach their original target.
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