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505 Hot on the Trail

    The Half Moon Sect was unlike anything Daniel had ever seen.

    In Daniel's universe of origin, a sect was an organization whose main focus was to spread the notoriety and influence of a certain path of cultivation or martial discipline. They would do so by accepting any students they deemed to possess enough talent in cultivation, and by pouring time, effort, and resources into them... instructing them in the signature path until that very discipline would become part of their being.

    This personal connection between the sect and the students was employed so, once the student would learn everything the sect could teach them, they would develop a form of loyalty towards the sect. This loyalty would prevent them from leaving, and instead, would convince them to spend their lives spreading the path that the sect had taught them.

    Most of the time, the teaching of these sects would be accompanied by a certain degree of danger for the students, but in order to ensure a constant level of expansion, and by extension a continuous increase of influence and notoriety for the sect, infighting, or any form of self harm within the sect was heavily prohibited. In order to prevent these practices, the resources distributed by the sects were based on merit and rank.. And would usually be consumed on the spot as to prevent people from trying to steal another student's possession.

    This method was what, in Daniel's universe of origin, separated a sect from a school.

    The way in which the sects that Daniel knew differed from the Half Moon Sect, and every other sect present in the territory that fell under the domain of the aspect of Competition, was in fact, competition itself.

    Just by staying a few days into the Half Moon Sect, Daniel had realized that none of the rules that prevented the young cultivators of his universe from harming one another existed in this sect, and in fact, the more powerful one was, the more to them was allowed. Robbing, killing, kidnapping, threatening and even worse was allowed in this sect, and that was because as champions of competition, any rule that invalidated any form of competition, was severely frowned upon.

    In the last few days, Daniel had managed to complete his comprehension of the universe's language by walking around the territory of the sect, and listening to thousands of young disciples speak. It was only thanks to a mixture of trial and error and his boosted perception, that he had managed to achieve this.. But alas, that was not his first option.

    At first, Daniel had decided to enter one of the sect's many libraries, as reading the words from a book would have made things much easier for him, but unfortunately, rumors about him had already spread through the sect. Wherever he went, he would be treated as someone with a mental retardation, causing him to be ridiculed by those with a lower cultivation, and despised by those with a similar power.

    What made things even worse for him, was the fact that rumors which claimed that a contestant for the rulership of the universe had appeared in their sector, as well as the fact that he had already been sent to the half moon sect, had started to spread throughout the sect.

    Once that notion became common knowledge, the disciples began to make connections to any strange event that took place in the sect, and before long, due to his sudden and timely appearance in the sect, Daniel had become everybody's first guess.

    Being one of the competitors for the rulership of one of Competition's universes was one of the greatest honors for his champions, and the fact that someone with a damaged brain had stolen that opportunity from the extremely competitive students of the half moon sect, was unacceptable.

    Luckily, the sect's free competition and lack of rules did not breed stupidity in its students.. Or at least, not in the minds of its inner and core disciples, who, as soon as they realized that Daniel was currently the only person that had been selected to compete for the universe's rulership, understood that despite the lack of care with which he was treated in the sect, his existence was still of some use to the leadership of their section of space, and therefore, he was untouchable.

    That was something that Daniel had learned from the many of the conversations that would take place in his presence.

    -----

    Four days had passed since Daniel had been thrown into the Half Moon Sect, and like most other days, he had decided to spend it by walking around the sect's territory.

    With clean clothes and an emotionless expression, Daniel left his personal cave to find himself in the midst of a sparse group of young cultivators. Most of them had learned to ignore his presence, as they had gotten used to seeing him walk around, while some others would still turn to look at him with hostility, irritation, and jealousy. However, none of them dared to take a step in his direction.

    Before the rumor of Daniel being the a competitor had reached the ears of the outer members of the sect, many students had decided to make him go through the treatment reserved for every single new student of the sect, and that was to be stripped down to their underwear, be robbed of all of their possessions, and be beaten within an inch of their lives.

    When these students had tried to do the same with Daniel, however, as soon as their hostile aura came even close to him, Daniel had slaughtered them all without the slightest hint of hesitation, cutting their bodies into unrecognizable slices of flesh, and erasing their souls and minds with swords of absolute darkness.

    He had done so in full view of the thousands of outer students, and many inner students that would often come down from the mountains in which they resided just to enjoy the initiation of the newcomers, as well as to receive the tributes from the outer disciples as "protection fees." Daniel had decided on this course of action not only to prevent others from bothering him, but also because of the persona he was playing.

    While simple minded, Daniel's character needed to show a competitive spirit supported by a passive, and yet ruthless personality... which was all that was left when his memories and social skills had been taken away from him by his injury. Only by portraying those qualities his cover as Competition's chosen one would be believable.

    After walking out of the area which contained the caves where the outer disciples lived, Daniel headed out of the island, and into one of the wide stone bridges that were built to separate the floating islands that composed the sect.

    "Tomorrow I will challenge rank eighty-eight for his cave. Wish me luck.."

    ".. because if another candidate doesn't appear in the next few months, our sector might lose our participation."

    "How come that whenever I see you, you are always eating?.."

    The many students on their way to and from the floating islands discussed the daily events, ignoring that Daniel was using their conversations to catch up with the current state of the universe in which he had ended up. However, after two days, he had already heard it all. Starting from the ranked system used by the Half Moon's sect increased its disciples' competition, to the reason why he had been taken to half moon sect instead of being killed on the spot.

    All of these pieces of information were of no interest to him, as the political system of this universe would not affect him once he would leave, so he kept walking past these young prodigies while pretending not to listen to their words, or at least, he did so until a single spoken sentence reached his ears.

    "They have entered our universe? What reason could they possibly have to do so?" Asked a young woman with short red hair and freckles that covered her cheekbones and nose, to her group of female friends.

    To respond to her, was a second young woman with long straightened black hair, and the appearance of someone that would be the center of attention in every crowd she would be in. "That is what I have heard my mom discuss with her friends. They were talking about sightings of various parties of the Blood Sect, the last of which was pretty close to the sect." She said with clear lack of interest.

    Contrary to the second girl, the red haired girl and the other members of their group showed a higher degree of worry. Nobody that had any knowledge of the multiverse was oblivious to the kind of universes which composed the territory of the aspect of Sacrifice, and amongst these universes, the most notorious were those in possession of the Blood Sect. A powerful group that would infiltrate contested universes, and strengthen the influence of the aspect of sacrifice by teaching the path of blood to its inhabitants, who in turn would exterminate the majority of the population of the universe before turning the rest into followers of the sect.

    This was the kind of news that Daniel had been waiting for, as the only reason why he had decided to leave his universe, was to attract the blood sect away from his group, and force them to clash against stronger powers.

    Instead of walking past the group of young women, Daniel leaned over the banister of the bridge, and pretended to observe the immense islands that floated in front of him. His attention, however, was directed at the conversation that the group of female cultivators were having.

    "If they have been sighted, doesn't that mean that they are not guests? Isn't it an invasion? Why would they invade us?" asked the red-haired young woman with an increasing degree of worry.

    While picking her nails, the long haired young woman looked back at her friend's worried expression with irritation. She then let out an exasperated sigh before adding, "Would you calm down? Their little sect would never dare to invade Lord Competition's universes. Also, I cannot possibly think of a reason why they would want to do that."

    "I guess you are right.." responded the red headed young woman before noticing Daniel's figure as he leaned over the banister, and looked at the horizon. "Isn't that the guy that the great elders left at the caves a few days ago?" She asked.

    As Daniel pretended not to hear their words, the three young women that were accompanying the red-headed girl quietly turned to look at him. On their faces was a hint of alertness.

    "He is. Let's leave." Said the girl with black hair before blowing air against her sharp nails, and nodding towards the end of the bridge.

    "Why? Do you have something against him?" asked the red-headed young woman in response.

    "You wouldn't know because you started cultivating in seclusion right after he arrived.. But two days ago he killed over twenty students in the blink of an eye. They didn't even attack him.. The moment they released their hostility through their emotional aura, they just died." Said a young woman with dark brown hair tied up into a ponytail and dressed in a training attire, with a matter-of-fact tone.

    After being slightly surprised by Daniel's feat, the red-headed young woman showed a hint of feigned disappointment, and while looking at Daniel's figure, she said, "Too bad, he doesn't look half-bad."

    The three young women that were accompanying the red-headed young woman looked at her with confusion, but before any of them could say anything, a voice came from the end of the bridge. "NUMBER ONE HAS CHALLENGED AN INNER DISCIPLE!! A BATTLE FOR PROMOTION IN THE ARENA RIGHT NOW!" Shouted a scrawny looking man while holding his hands into a cone around his mouth. He then turned around, and started to run towards the island that was in between the one that contained the lodgings of the outern disciples, and the one that supported the mountain range formed by dozens of peaks, each inhabited by around a hundred inner disciples.

    To follow the young man's example, were each and every outer disciple on which Daniel could place his eyes on, including the group of young girls whose conversation he was eavesdropping, and whose expression lit up in excitement right before they followed the crowd that had started to form.

    News about the Blood Sect was exactly what Daniel was hoping for, so he couldn't help but feel slightly dejected by the interruption. However, these feelings only lasted for a few seconds, after which, in order to spend some time, he decided to follow the crowd, and head towards the arena.
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