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559 Trail of Breadcrumbs

"I've sent an emergency message saying that he needs to come. He will be here any moment."
As the elf said this, Daneel nodded and conjured a Throne before sitting on it and casting a camouflage spell to hide himself from whoever appeared in response to the elf's message.
This elf's house was located in a relatively large town around 80 kilometers away from the capital, and he had been banished here because of his penchant for prizing money over all other things. In one of the projects he had undertaken as an Enchanter, he had apparently taken a huge sum of money from the competitor of his employer to supply defective trinkets that ended up derailing his employer's business. As soon as this was brought to light, both that company and this elf were punished severely.
When Daneel had found this out, he has chosen this elf to build a competing trinket, too, and sell it as he saw fit to someone whom he would then monitor. Although this elf was an Enchanter, he wasn't skilled enough to build the entire trinket himself, so it should have taken a lot of time to entice other Enchanters and complete the product.
He was also not trusted by anyone due to that incident, so the estimate by the system had placed this target along with the others in regards to the speed at which the broadcasting trinket would be developed.
Only, for some reason, someone unnamed had come forward and showered money on this guy after taking the promise that he would have the first bid on the finished product.
Daneel was very interested to see who this person was. And to find them, all he would have to do was Mind Control his way up to the top.
After all, no one in the Central Continent would operate with the suspicion that anyone was capable of something like this.
No matter how careful they were, Daneel was pretty confident that he would soon find the answer he was looking for.
While he was waiting, he started to ponder on what the Head had told him.
Throughout his life, here, there had only been people telling him repeatedly that the Paragon Path was not something to be chosen, especially by those like him who were talented enough to progress swiftly.
In this age, only those who had no hope of crossing some major level would choose this Path to be the most powerful version of themselves that they could be while they were alive.
Yet, Daneel had still gone ahead because of the existence of the system, which was capable of analyzing and understanding elementary particles accurately, thereby allowing him to skip past the time-consuming step that was needed.
So, did he have any reason to listen to the Head now, at this stage?
Definitely not.
The only concerning thing was that there were no Heroes who were also Paragon even during the time of the Empire.
Yet, how could there be those equipped with something as amazing as the system even in that age?
Paragons towered over all at the same level, and were also capable of jumping levels to fight those far more powerful than them. So, there was no way he would leave that behind, unless there was no other option.

As for what he had said regarding Fighter and Mage Champion Paths, Daneel decided to ask Drakos.
"Drakos, what is the difference between a Fighter Champion Path and a Mage Champion Path?"
Daneel had a faint inkling of the answer, even though he hadn't thought extensively on it. Still, he wanted to hear about it from the Ancient Dragon.
"Young King, I thought you already figured it out from all the information you received. The goal of the Champion Path is to resonate with something at such a level that it causes nature, and elementary particles to be affected accordingly without the need to do so actively. Mages and Fighters do so differently. In the case of the former, the resonance springs forth from the mind, and, thus, the Mageroot is affected, making it evolve to the Champion level. In the latter, it is the body which does so. Imagine it as you understanding something by reading it and simulating it in your mind, versus practicing it using your body over and over again until it comes naturally to your body. Typically, one chooses a Path that lets them break through in either way, and then, if they wish, they can choose a different Champion Path for the other. This is typically regarded as a waste of time, as it is usually the case that that time is better spent honing the Path chosen. There are also many other issues, such as the fact that the two Paths might have fundamental differences which do not allow them to function together, or the risk that an internal dissonance can occur as the body and the mind are on different paths, which can lead to death. I cannot say more about the matter, Young King."
That last part…made Daneel smile broadly, as he had gotten the answer he needed.
Daneel knew more or less about the rest, but all he had wanted to find out was whether there was anything more about this topic that might be hidden behind the third seal.
Again, that was the case.
Right now, Daneel's mind was buzzing with all the information that he had just heard or found out about, leading him to discard everything that wasn't necessary and focus on what was important.
The gist, basically, was that the Champion Path had even more aspects that he hadn't thought about before, and that he should find out more about them while definitely not acting in haste to break through.
If Daneel were some normal human who had reached this level, all this stuff wouldn't concern him. He would just choose whatever looked the strongest, and look to break through as soon as possible.
Yet, because he had the means to do things that no one else could, he had an obligation to research as much as possible and find out each and every piece of information possible before making a decision.
About these things, too, Daneel looked forward to finding clues in the libraries in the sects that he would soon visit.
As he continued to mull silently over it all, the door finally opened after an hour or so to reveal a man dressed in a black cloak.
He had clearly hurried over from somewhere, as the cloak wasn't even worn properly.
Intending to not waste any time, Daneel simply discarded the camouflage spell before startling the man and casting Mind Control.
With a simple question, Daneel found out that he was just a middleman who received instructions regarding what he should do from an information broker.
That was Daneel's next stop. The address was a lawless area in a certain town in the Black Raven Kingdom, which Daneel casually strolled into.
This was where he faced a surprise. The information broker actually had a Peak Exalted Human Fighter in his employ for security, which meant that he dealt in pretty high profile stuff.
Of course, that was no trouble for Daneel. Opting for crude means, he just used a hammer to knock out the Fighter before Mind Controlling the information broker to find that he, in turn, received his instructions from a random spot outside a bar in a town which wasn't controlled by any of the forces in the Central Continent.
Whoever this was had gone to great lengths to keep their identity a secret.
Daneel used a simple strategy to flush them out.
He ordered the information broker to send fake information that another buyer had offered even more money to the elf, who was going to accept.
That would definitely send them in a tizzy.
After this was sent, Daneel traveled to that town and waited.
Here was an unmarked trash can which was apparently where the liaison of the information broker would receive the payment and instructions.
Here, Daneel faced another surprise. Even though he was keeping a close watch, the instructions on how to react along with payment appeared in the bin, and a message was sent to that liaison to go and collect them.
Daneel was puzzled, but he waited till the liaison did so. After that, he asked the system to scan the trash can, which was something he should have done before.
He had only been expecting someone else to come and drop them off, so he had neglected to do that.
It was then that he found out that there was a secret shaft underneath the trash can, and that the can had a hole which had been used to place the items inside.
Well, this was some real James Bond sh*t.
After getting this thought, Daneel followed the shaft and finally reached the 'lair', where he was pretty startled to see not one, not two, but four Peak Exalted Human Mages defending the location underground.
His Kingdom had struggled to have just one of them! Yet, here, there were four?!
Clearly, the pockets of these people were deep.
So, very deep.
This actually made him feel excited, while he made them all faint and entered to find a butler, who was Mind Controlled to finally give him the location in the middle of nowhere where a meeting was apparently going on.
After this lengthy chase, Daneel was pretty tired, but knowing that it was near the end, he traveled to the location to find the meeting with the 30 people dressed luxuriously, while a man in plain clothes was instructing them all.
As soon as he found out what they were up to, the King of Lanthanor couldn't help but curse, out loud.
'F*CKING PIRATES!'
He couldn't have expected that this notorious practice from Earth would appear in Angaria so soon, but he realized that he should have expected it in a place where there were no clear copyright or patent laws at all.
At this moment, Daneel faced a choice. Was he supposed to Mind Control them all and make them stop, or could they be used, in some way?
He reminded himself of his goal behind all the schemes in the first place, which was to increase the satisfaction level of the people. These people were clearly doing all this to stay relevant, and they seemed to be prepared to burn the money they had hoarded for a long time in this pursuit.
With that in mind, Daneel realized what this was.
It was an opportunity, which, if utilized properly, might help him to reach his goal much faster than anticipated.

Meanwhile, the Head was once again in the room with the various windows which showed different scenes from all around Angaria.
Rayen was sitting with a frown beside him, like a little child who had been caught sneaking off even though he had been grounded by his parents.
"You can forget it, Rayen. I already told you, but you still went and tried. Well, it was pretty funny that the King was with me."
Rayen was just about to respond, but they were interrupted by a loud 'boom' which shook the whole underground mansion they were in.
This was followed by a bellow, which made both of them look at each other with bewilderment.
"Hey, Head! You weren't responding on trinket, so I thought I would make a visit! What's up, Rayen? Still mooning over your son?"
Followed by the bellow, a knocking sound was heard from one direction where a large, wall-length window was showing the scene of the Endless Sea.
Yet, after the knock, the formation distorted to reveal a crude cavern with a large hole, as the house was actually located in a gigantic underground cave.
Only, after a second, the view of that cavern was obstructed by a large head the size of a grown man.
The features of the head were simple, but a huge grin appeared on the face when the head's eyes focused on the image of the two men sitting inside.
After the grin, acting as if this was all normal, the head continued to speak.
"So, I wanted to say that if you want my Sect to allow in that King, I want him to get his friend with him, too. What was his name? Oh, right, Elanev! Send him, too, or the doors of our sect will be closed! And you know us Fighters! If we decide on something, we will follow through even if it means death! All right, ba-bye then, Rayen! Sorry about your formation!"