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517 Through the Iron Curtain

    "Who says I am not coming." Said a familiar voice identical to Daniel's, but that came from within the stone that Dawn was holding.

    "Ah-What was that?!" Asked Lilith after jolting in surprise. At the same time, her companions turned to look at the common-looking stone that, even now, aside from emanating Daniel's essence, appeared like any other.

    Time was of the essence, and since Daniel was tired of answering questions, he decided to quietly pick up the first shard of shattered space he had harvested from the surroundings of his safe room, and used it to cut a rift wide enough for all four of them to walk through at the same time. Then, before any of the four young women could even think of asking him what he was doing, Daniel pushed them into the rift with the use of his solidified essence. "Safe travels." He said with a smile as they passed through.

    Taken by surprise, the four young women could do nothing to stop Daniel's power from pushing them through the rift, and back into their original stable space, where they were left with only each other's company, and Daniel's strange rock.

    "Do you think he left us to die?" Asked Cassie timidly, before noticing Lilith's state of mind. She then wrapped her left arm around her frightened companion with black hair, who was holding her hands in front of her chest while anxiously biting her own fingernails.

    Rose turned to look at the two panic-stricken young women in order to say something, but while she wanted to reassure them, she couldn't think of the right words to say. She didn't know whether Daniel had abandoned them in a random point in space, or even if they were in their original universe. For all she knew they were lost, and would likely never manage to go back to the Half Moon sect.

    However, as she began to rationalize their situation, she came to a conclusion.

    Since they had nowhere to go, following Daniel's last instructions was their only choice. "If we are really near the portal, going to the sect would take us centuries. We can only do as he said." Rose said with a matter-of-fact tone to the two young women, who despite the power they had at their disposal, and the nature of the universe they had lived in until now, were still extremely frightened by the immensity of space that separated them from their homes.

    Luckily, while she was unwelcomed in their group, Rose's words were able to dispel the anxiousness that Cassie and Lilith were feeling, as shown by how they straightened their backs, and took a series of deep breaths.

    Seeing that her words had worked, Rose turned to look at Dawn, expecting to need to convince her too, but when her eyes landed on the young woman with the ponytail, she realized that not only was she not scared, but she was waving the rock given to her by Daniel with curiosity.

    "What are you doing?" she asked.

    "I.. I don't know. This rock is just.. So easy to move around." Responded Dawn before mindlessly widening her movements in order to test her own words.

    Rose looked at the rock in Daniel's hand with confusion, but in it, she saw no difference from any other rock. Even Daniel's power had disappeared from it, making it look even more like something one would pick from the side of the road.

    "Dawn, keep your wits about you. We need to go." She said in hope that the young woman with the ponytail would focus on the task at hand.. An attempt that succeeded, as Dawn stopped waving the rock around and quietly floated next to the rest of her group, which had now regained a calmer state of mind.

    "If what Dan said is true.. the inter-dimensional portal should be that way." Said Rose while pointing her finger to her right, after a few moments spent looking around.

    *BZZZT* "Ouch! This thing just zapped me!" Said Dawn after letting go of the rock.

    Once free of her hold, instead of drifting through space in the direction where Dawn's hand had nudged it, the rock stabilized. Then, the moment the eyes of all four members of the group landed on it, it started to move towards a completely different direction than that pointed by Rose.

    "Should we just.. Follow it?" Asked a now calmer Lilith.

    Rose shrugged her shoulders, and said, "I guess.."

    "It's accelerating!" Shouted Dawn as Daniel's rock began to move faster and faster, almost leaving their sight in just the moment they had turned away from it. She then shot in the rock's pursuit, making sure that her eyes would never lose sight of it. Her actions were followed by the remaining members of the group only moments later.

    As the four young women reached the moving rock, to their unbeknownst, the space that surrounded them began to curve around them, allowing them to increase their speed more and more until finally, they began to progress in their journey at a faster-than-light speed.

    From their point of view, these four young women were moving at the maximum velocity that their cultivation at the late and peak godhood stage allowed, however, anyone with a deep comprehension of spatial essence, or a moderate comprehension of the essence of spacetime, would be able to see that while they weren't actually moving faster, by bending at their passage, the path they were following had shortened greatly.

    -----

    Something of which the four young women were unaware of, and that was currently happening in most sectors of their universe, was the game that Daniel was playing with the powerful cultivators of the blood sect. This game consisted in appearing at a random point in the stable universe, waiting long enough for the blood sect's members to rush over, and disappear just before they could catch him. Then, by the time they would realize that Daniel was gone, they would feel the legacy reappear in another distant point in space, which they had no choice but to get to as fast as they could.

    To play this game with Daniel were thousands of blood cultivators, who after realizing what he had been doing for the past hour, had decided to spread throughout the entire universe so that they could increase the chances of catching him. But, unfortunately, this strategy was met with no more success than their earlier attempts, as Daniel would disappear right before their arrival, no matter how far or close they were from the point he would re-enter the stable space from.

    "Brother, he is just playing with us. We need to find a way to stop this before your senior brothers and sisters decide to join the hunt. They gave you two months.. But there is no certainty that they won't just go back on their words." Said a middle aged cultivator in red clothes to a similar looking man, leader of their universe of origin.

    The second of the two brothers was currently pacing back and forth inside his tent. On his face was a pensive expression, and in his hands, were two translucent beads that he would grind together in an attempt to alleviate the stress of the situation. To attract his attention, more than his brother's warning, was his son's arrival, who, followed by a scared yet subjugated Saha, entered his tent confidently.

    "Father. We are nearing the limit of cultivators we can bring into this universe without being noticed. I don't see an outcome where we can avoid entering a conflict with Competition's followers. Wouldn't it be better to attempt to take over this universe?" Asked the son after giving his opinion on their current situation.

    His father nodded with disappointment. "Forget that. In order to do that we would need to take the inter-dimensional portal.. And to ensure that none of its guardians would escape to find reinforcements, would require us to outnumber them ten to one. Focus on what I have asked you to do." Responded his father with a dismissive tone.

    "Yes, Father." Said the younger-looking man while bowing in sign of respect. Once done, he straightened his back one more time, and added, "We have moved people to the Half Moon sect, and the inter-dimensional portal. They will only act in case they will see the boy, or one of the four young women approach. Otherwise, they'll maintain their position indefinitely."

    "How long until they reach the portal?"

    "They could be there in minutes, but in order to avoid being noticed by patrols, I have ordered them to keep a low profile. They should get there in roughly two hours." Responded the son proudly. It was clear to his uncle, and anyone that would have witnessed this conversation taking place, that the son had a high opinion of his father, and in exchange for following his orders blindly, he wished for nothing more than his approval.

    Unfortunately, the father did no such thing. Instead, he nodded his head in understanding, and after putting the two translucent beads he was holding onto the desk, he said, "Good. Go with them."

    "What? Father, I can be more of use here with you. Or I could join the hunting party.." responded the son with surprise.

    "This is not a punishment. I know that sooner or later the boy's attempt of escape will bring him to the inter-dimensional portal. You have learned how to possess bodies, so you can get closer than the others." Said the father with a matter of fact tone. He then sat on his chair, and after a few moments, he added with a more serious tone, "If you wish to redeem yourself from your previous failure.. That is up to you."

    While he hadn't said it directly, the son was fully aware that his father felt disappointment towards him. After all, he had gotten so close to capturing Daniel, retrieving the legacy, and saving the entire Blood Sect.. but his attempt had gone up in smoke.

    Nevertheless, instead of making excuses, he chose to be grateful of the chance he was given to redeem himself, and said, "Very well. I promise you, Father. I will die before they can get through me." He then bowed politely to his father, his uncle, and then left.. Followed by the scared yet quiet Saha.

    -----

    Two hours later, open space.

    "He said two hours at superluminal speed.. What did he mean?" Asked Lilith with confusion. She and the others had spent the last two hours in silence.. But as they approached the two hours mark, Lilith remembered Daniel's words, who claimed that they would reach the portal in two hours as long as they would maintain a speed which they did not understand.

    Dawn and Cassie did not respond, and instead, they turned to look at Rose, which was the person to whom Lilith's question was truly directed at.

    "I think he meant a faster-than-light speed.. But I don't know why he would think that we can do that. Without a deep comprehension of space and time, or the cultivation of our patriarch.. We can't move that fast." Responded Rose with a dispirited tone. A state of mind which she had felt in preparation to the question that one of her companions would inevitably ask her next.

    Sure enough, Cassie asked, "Then how long do you think it will take us, at our speed.. To get to the portal?"

    "Years.."

    "YEARS?!" Barked out Lilith in response, with eyes opened wide in shock.

    Despite her high cultivation, Lilith was only a young woman in her mid twenties, and that was the same for her three companions. As such, she had never experienced such long periods of solitude, nor was she used to feeling threatened every second of the day. To think that she would have to spend the next years flying towards a single direction was enough for her to lose her mind..

    That worry was shared by Cassie, who after hearing Rose's response, began to show the first signs of a mental breakdown.

    The only one who could maintain her calm was Dawn, who more than any other member of her group, had been eager to see the universe that lay beyond the skies which she was so used to staring at. Her calmer attitude allowed her to remain focused on their destination, which to her surprise.. Had suddenly appeared in front of her eyes.

    "Maybe it is better that the three of you take a look at that.." She said After grabbing the now still rock that Daniel had entrusted to her.

    The three young women turned to look towards the same direction as Dawn, and there, they saw an enormous metallic grey ring with a diameter of tens of thousands of kilometers, and in front of it, a small plant around which uncountable cultivators flew back and forth, swarming it like a bee hive.

    "Isn't that..?" Asked Rose while blinking rapidly with disbelief.

    "The inter-dimensional portal.. Obviously." Said a familiar voice that came from beside Dawn. When the four of them turned to look at who had just spoken, they noticed the presence of Daniel, who was casually floating in space as if he had always been with them. Before any of them could say anything, however, Daniel turned to look at Dawn, and said, "You can let go of my hand now."
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