509 A Risky Play

    "Patriarch, is everything okay?" Asked the young man named Iacob with confusion.

    After reporting his findings to the Patriarch, he had found himself waiting for a few long minutes without receiving any answer or further instructions. "Patriarch." he repeated while nervously taking a step closer to the door frame.

    In the middle of the dark room, the Patriarch of the Half Moon sect was thinking in silence. In his mind were no less than a hundred questions, and all of them were in regards to Daniel. Who was he? How could he fool the Ancestor, the most powerful entity of their sector, and one of this universe's main competitors? All these questions were formulated in a dozen different ways and paired with just as many guesses, but the most important question was, who sent him?

    "Iacob.. I want you to go back to the city, and once you get there, I want you to get rid of the real survivor of the Yens, and the family that destroyed them. Bring the grand elders with you." He ordered after making the core disciple wait for a few more minutes. Iacob's brows furrowed in confusion. He knew that secretly killing an entire cultivation family could only mean one thing.. The patriarch was trying to cover something up. In hope to get some answers he took another step towards the dark room.. but before he could ask any question, the patriarch added, "Do as I've said. Don't speak a word of what you've discovered to anybody, or I'll put you back in the cave of the outer mountain where you've started."

    "As you wish, Patriarch." Said Iacob before quietly disappearing.

    After spending a few more minutes in a pensive state, the Patriarch of the Half Moon sect, an entity that had lived millions of years in Competition's domain, was able to formulate the most realistic guess to justify Daniel's presence in his sect.

    The part of the multiverse which belonged to the aspect of competition was ruled by a mentality that was referred to as the 'survival of the fittest'.. and this sort of mentality was embedded so deeply into the history of the groups that ruled it, that it made the creation of a single governing body impossible. What ruled these universes instead of a government were factions composed of differently ranked groups, which were tasked with gaining rulership over certain universes for the sake of expanding the Competition's domain.

    These factions were ruled by first ranked groups.. A term used to describe families and sects powerful enough to directly own a portion of Competition's immense domain. These territories, being too big to be governed by a single group, were in turn split between multiple second ranked families who would rule over fractions as big as ten to twenty universes for the sake of the first ranked families that owned them.

    The territory of a second ranked group was similarly split between those who belonged to the third rank, who ruled two to four separate universes, that in turn, were individually controlled by a fourth ranked group.

    At the bottom of the rankings were the families and sects that belonged to the fifth rank. Groups that had no control over any of the universes that belonged to Competition's domain, but that had been given by their faction the opportunity to rise in ranks.

    In order for that to happen, they needed to recruit a native champion of Competition and help him throughout the competition between its peers. If successful, the newly acquired universe would be assigned to the group that had discovered the winner, allowing their group to rise to the fourth rank.

    At some point in time, right as Daniel's home universe had opened to the multiverse, many fifth rank families had prepared to be sent in it, but any intention of adding Daniel's universe to Competition's domain were immediately abandoned as soon as the faction's leaders had learned about the presence of a champion of Conflict. For those who had studied the hierarchy of these deities, it was common knowledge that Competition was one of Conflict's direct followers, and trying to snatch a universe from his domain was unacceptable.

    The Half Moon sect, being a group that had no ownership over any of the universes that belonged to Competition's domain, were considered to be an unranked group. They, just like every other group in the universe, followed one of the fifth rank families, which in their sector, was owned by the man whom they called Ancestor.. An old man who Daniel would have recognized as the man who had tried to pry into his memories, and who, after being successfully fooled by his act, had left him to the Half Moon sect.

    His family's job, as part of the fifth rank, was to find the ones chosen by the test prepared by Competition, and help them through the tests that would determine which one of them deserved the ownership of this universe. The fifth ranked universe that had raised the winner, would ultimately gain the ownership of the universe, and they would become a fourth ranked group.

    This was the system that had naturally formed after millions of years.. A pyramid of power created to facilitate the distinction between each group.

    The reason why such such a method was supported, was because it allowed for groups that belonged to the same rank, but were part of different factions, to have groups of similar power to compete with.. allowing for peace to be impossible, and for fair competition to keep being the driving force of this domain.

    Naturally, this system did not work for every group within the domain.

    While this method worked for greedy and power driven groups, the same could not be said for the least ambitious groups who, just like the Half Moon sect, lived in the fear that, at any point in time, they would be caught in the crossfire between the fifth ranked families that were competing for the ownership of their universe through scheming, plotting, battling, and much more.

    When the patriarch of the Half Moon sect had discovered that Daniel was faking his condition, the first thought that appeared in his mind was that he was a spy of another faction, or that maybe, the fifth ranked family that he followed, had already given up on winning the competition, and instead of finding a legitimate competitor to represent their faction, had planted a fake one who would help another competitor win.

    This had happened many times before, as while many fifth ranked groups would explode with joy at the thought of being given a chance to rise to the fourth rank, that would also mean that if they succeeded, they would become the enemies of every single fourth ranked group that did not belong to their faction. Before that happened, because of their inability to give up on the task, these families would choose to sell their placing to one of their competitors, and help them in taking ownership of the universe.

    If that was the case, the patriarch of the Half Moon sect knew that his sect was doomed.. After all, they were unknowingly aiding a fifth ranked family in betraying their faction, and for such a heavy crime, ignorance was not an excuse. Unfortunately, once caught in this sort of manoeuvres, even if they suddenly realized what was going on, they would already be out of choices, as once they would realize that the fifth ranked group that they were following had given up on their universe, before they would be able to report them to the third ranked group that had assigned the universe to them, they would be slaughtered.

    Unwilling to risk his sect's existence, the patriarch had decided to erase any proof that Daniel could have been planted to aid another fifth ranked family. By doing this, the patriarch of the Half Moon sect hoped that the group that they were following would be successful in their plot, and that nobody would look at them as accomplices.

    Naturally, all of these guesses could not be further away from the truth. Daniel was not a spy, and the leader of the fifth ranked group that had taken him after getting down from the stairs was not a traitor. He was only desperate to find a competitor, and was willing to accept one even if that meant taking in someone with brain damage.

    At the same time, while Daniel had no idea that he had been discovered, that was not the same for his system, which had already predicted that the patriarch of the half moon sect would not only choose to feign ignorance, but reinforce his act by eliminating what could have exposed his lies.


    Back in the floating archipelago, Daniel was walking around like he used to, eavesdropping on the conversations of the other disciples of the sect in hope to learn more about the sightings of the Blood Sect, or at the very least, other forms of useful information regarding the universe he was currently in.

    Ever since Daniel's encounter with the inner disciples, it had become clear for most of the disciples of the half moon sect that the damage that was making him act the way he was, in no way lessened his battle prowess.. and that, had caused him to become a feared individual in the sect who most disciples would rather avoid.

    The few who didn't, were the group of young women that Daniel had followed to the arena. They did not appear to be bothered by his presence, as shown by their refusal to leave as soon as they'd see him walk in their general direction.

    Amongst these four young women, Daniel had discovered the presence of a guardian. She was the one amongst the four who spoke the least, but also the cause for her group's frequent encounters with him. She would never directly observe him, and would only look at him from the corner of her eyes, but unfortunately for her, one of Daniel's strengths was a powerful mind, and he had no problems with hearing her taking mental notes of everything he would do.

    *thump* "Oh, I apologize." said a woman in her mid twenties with worry while trying to pick up the stack of books which she had dropped a moment earlier, when she was hurrying towards her cave, and had crashed against Daniel's standing figure. "I am so sorry, I didn't mean to bump into you, I didn't see you." She said with her extremely attractive appearance twisted into a flustered expression.

    The few cultivators that had yet to leave recognized this young woman. She was the granddaughter and only living relative of one of the sect's elders, and was known as a sweet, yet highly untalented cultivator. A fame she had gained due to her numerous failed attempts at mastering any form of martial art due to her total lack of grace.

    Despite this being the first time Daniel had met this young woman, he did not share the opinion of the other students. As a teacher himself, he knew that a lack of grace in martial arts was not a permanent trait, but the consequence of a lack of training. In his mind, it was more likely that the reason why she lacked any form of skill in martial arts was because her guardian never had time to teach her the basics, and considering his position in the sect, that was likely to be the case.

    "Hey, what's wrong with you? I didn't hit your head or something, right?" she asked before taking a step closer to check Daniel's eyes with her own pair of light blue eyes.

    The surrounding cultivators looked at the scene with confusion. Not only were they expecting Daniel to attack her at any moment, but were also curious about the behavior of the young woman. Being the hottest topic between the outer and inner disciples of the sect, it was odd for this young woman to not know about Daniel's situation. Yet, she behaved as if she was expecting him to respond.

    Naturally, Daniel did not respond, and instead moved his sight past the young woman, and walked past her as if nothing happened, forcing her to make way for him.

    The young woman looked at Daniel with genuine confusion from which she snapped out of a few moments later. "Hey, hold on!.." she shouted before Daniel could get too far away.

    Her attempt to catch Daniel's attention was interrupted by a sudden pressure that covered the entire outer area like a steel blanket. A pressure whose source could be felt coming from the top of the outer mountain that housed the caves of the outer disciples. There, an elderly man accompanied by two tall young men dressed in core disciple's clothes, were standing quietly.

    "The stairway has appeared once again. For those who wish to climb it, get your equipment and regroup outside of the gates. We depart in five minutes." Said the voice of the elderly man, reaching the ears of every single disciple within the sect, no matter if part of the outer, inner, or core circles.
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