388 Half Immortal Puppe

    "To be challenged, and reward the survivors." Responded the voice with a cold, and intimidating tone.

    At the mention of a reward, the group stopped walking towards the exit gate, and turned to look back at the half immortal puppet.

    "What is the reward?" Asked Cynna with curiosity, but without obtaining a response.

    Differently from a normal puppet which required a constant input of consciousness to work properly, the unsuccessful ascension of a half immortal puppet would bind the intent left within the body by its owner, and turn it into an artificial form of consciousness that would never be able to evolve ever again.

    This process was extremely difficult, and required an absurd amount of mental power and concentration, ultimately allowing for a limited amount of predetermined trains of thoughts to formulate in the mind of these puppets.

    What the woman possessed, were the responses to a few questions, the will to fight whoever challenged her, and the ability to reward the cultivators who would fulfill the set requirements to receive a reward.

    "So you only answer certain questions.. Okay. You have said that we need to survive against you. What exactly did you mean? Do we need to survive an attack from you?" Asked Cynna after a long minute of silence.

    The puppet did not appear interested by what Cynna was saying at first, but as soon as she started asking about the rules of her test, the voice said, "Survive three minutes, and you will be rewarded. One attempt per participant."

    While dispirited, the participants of volcanic island had not forgotten what the reward for their previous test had been, after all, despite their bad results, if a chance was given to any other cultivator to kill a peak immortal in exchange for ten essence gems, they would accept in the blink of an eye, and never stop.

    The mention of a possibly better reward, was enough for them to reconsider not taking the risk.

    "Do the duels need to be one against one?" Asked Lorwin while walking back from the area in front of the exit gate.

    "Five participants is the limit. The reward is split." Responded the voice right after, clearly set to be able to answer such a question in case it was asked.

    After obtaining a response, Lorwing turned to look at Dehlila, then said with uncertainty, "What do you think? Want to give it a go?" Dehlila was, without a shadow of a doubt, the strongest participant that had come from Cato, and while Lorwin was the mind amongst the group of remaining participants, they needed a strong cultivator who could receive most of the puppet's attacks while the others acted as his or her support. No one was more qualified for that job than Dehlila.

    Naturally, a better choice would be Cynna, but due to her previous speech, the participants could not help but dislike her, despite knowing that she was right. If they had no other choice but Cynna, they would likely choose to leave the area instead.

    "I am not sure." Responded Dehlila before turning towards the rest of the group, and asking, "What do you think, Meek, Non, Filly?" Meek and Non were, along with Nilo's party and the three group leaders, those who had ultimately managed to enter the top ten of the first test in the volcanic island, while Filly, was a young woman that had been pushed out of the top ten because of a small difference in kills.

    Had Nilo's party not been there, the five of them would have, without a doubt, obtained a higher position during the previous test.

    "Three minutes.. I don't have a problem with it." Said Non, a tall and muscular young man dressed in a white sleeveless training vest, and fitting pants. In his right arm, he was holding a winged spear.

    Of the three, Meek was always the most quiet, and even when talked to, he would only respond with a single nod, hardly ever speaking out loud. He would spend most of his time throwing his knives, and deconstructing them as soon they would hit, just to reconstruct them back in his hands. His short stature and quiet behaviour were reflected the style of combat of his family, which specialized in stealth and assassination.

    Filly and Dehlila both belonged to the icefire family, but while Dehlila was the direct daughter of the Hot and Cold conglomerate, Filly's father was only a distant relative, therefore making her more of a friend than a family member. Their connection, however, were enough for Filly to follow Dehlila everywhere, and never refuse anything she would propose. "If you want to, I am in." She responded to her friend's question.

    As soon as the three accepted, Lorwin walked in front of the puppet, and asked, "Are you allowed to kill us?" A question to which the puppet never responded. He then asked, "Okay then. Are you allowed to attack the others?"

    "I am only allowed to attack those who challenge me." Responded the voice that came from the woman's direction with her usual indifference.

    "Very well. We challenge you." Said Lowrin as the other four reached him in front of the puppet.

    The moment he finished speaking, the ground began to tremble, and the crack formed by the tip of the puppet's greatsword started expanding in the two directions. Soon after, the body of the sword slowly moved out of the fissure, showing its impressive body.

    Before the very tip of the greatsword could move out of the ground, however, an invisible wave of mental power was released from within the puppet's body in an outward motion. The participants who were spectating were pushed behind a radius of about fifteen meters from the puppet.

    "Dehlila, keep her busy. We will support you as soon as we find a chance." Said Lorwin, showing his talents in leadership.

    Dehlila immediately unsheathed her sword, and shot at max speed towards the puppet in hope to attack before she could prepare, but the movements of the puppet suddenly caught up with her speed, and parried her attack without budging.

    Two throwing knives whistled past the two sides of the massive greatsword, aiming for the shoulders of the puppet, but the moment they touched the skin, the simply bounced off, leaving two white marks. The same happened when Non tried to slash the back ligaments of the puppet's knees, only to feel the edge of the spear brush over something that was too hard for it to cut through.

    While this last attack was as ineffective as the previous ones, thanks to it, the group had been able to realize that, when fighting against a stronger enemy whose defenses they couldn't breach, they could still use the enemy's anatomy to hinder their movements.

    "Non, stay behind here and keep attacking the back of her knees. Meek, try to aim at her eyes, while Filly and I will hinder the movements of her arms!" Ordered Lorwin before dashing towards the puppet which was about to slash down on Dehlila, and used his sword to pierce her elbow mid slash, causing for the motion of the attack to be disturbed, and for the attack to become harmless.

    All of this happened in mere seconds, and had required the highest amount of concentration from the five of them.

    When it seemed that the puppet would be bullied by the five of them, it instead adapted to their fighting style, and made use of the movements she was forced to follow to perform powerful attacks.

    After three long minutes, the five of them were in a mess. Multiple severe injuries were covering their bodies, and both Dehlila and Non had at least a missing limb. The puppet, on the other hand, did not have a single scratch on its body, and was standing casually in the middle of the square as if she hadn't been challenged to begin with.

    As soon as the three minutes passed, she quietly walked back to her position, and waited for her next opponent.

    Lorwin and the others remained on the ground, with powerful beams of white light that were slowly trying to reform their lost limbs, or close their injuries. In their minds, they knew that their collective power was barely able to fulfill the requirements of the test, and that, had any other of the participants took part in the test in their stead, they would likely all be dead now.

    After about thirty minutes, the five of them managed to fully heal. They then stood back up, and approached the puppet with a hint of excitement.

    Once within arm's reach, the puppet opened her right hand, and revealed five small rings.

    Each of these rings contained exactly two thousand essence gems each.

    "AHAH! It was worth it!!" Exclaimed Non with joy. His and Meek's families were much less affluent than Dehlila and Filly's, or Lorwin's, making these resources much more valuable for them than for the others. Even on Meek's usually stern expression, the semblance of a smile appeared.

    However, while the others were happy about their results, Lorwin and Dehlila were looking at the puppet with curiosity. "Does that mean that if one person goes through the test and survives, they receive ten thousand gems?" Asked Dehlila.

    "Maybe. I doubt we will ever know." Responded Lorwin before turning to look back at the gate, where the rest of the participants were waiting for them in admiration. "Let's go." he then added.

    When the five of them passed through the gate, what they failed to notice, was that Cynna had remained behind with the puppet.

    On the other side of the gate, was a path identical to the one that connected the previous crossroad to the square from which they had arrived. A path which they were able to thread without meeting any sort of danger.

    A few hours later, the group of participants were able to see another crossroad, which instead of splitting, merged three different paths. Their stone path, one that lead on a mountain path, and the one that led into the cave underneath the rocky wall.

    When the group arrived at the crossroad, the first thing they noticed was the presence of six individuals. It did not take long for the participants to recognize them as Nilo, Fyro, Finn, Zack, Ivan, and Sigg.

    Four of them were chatting casually while changing their slightly ruined clothes. The clothes on Nilo and Zack were covered in small cuts, while Fyro's and Finn's were slightly burnt off. Ivan and Sigg, on the other hand, were standing quietly by the side, still shocked by what they had seen just a couple hours before.

    "You are already here?" Asked Lorwin with confusion.

    "We just got here." Responded Nilo while putting on a clean grey shirt. "Where is Cynna?" he then asked.

    Cynna had spent the hours they hada walked between the first crossroad and the square in silence, so her absence had not been noticed by the rest of the participants. It was only after Nilo asked about her directly, that the group remembered of her presence, finding themselves unable to respond.

    "Wasn't she with us?" asked one of the participants in confusion.

    Nilo knew that these people would not have the power to subdue, or even kill Cynna, so the moment the group was unable to answer, he began to worry. However, before he could even consider to go back and look for her, Cynna appeared in sight a few hundred meters deeper into the stone path.Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com  for visiting.

    Her armor was heavily damaged, and the width of the cuts on it showed that the blade which had made them, should have directly cut through her body as well.. but she had no injuries. Instead, she walked as if nothing had happened, and joined the rest of the group.

    As Cynna walked past them, Meek, who was the most observant member of their group, immediately saw that in her right hand, wrapped around her fingers, was not one ring anymore, but two. One of the two was simple, and he had seen her wear it before.. but the other one was just as familiar. It's pattern was similar to the one he had observed when wondering what the reward for winning a duel against the puppet would be.

    "Is that.. The puppet's ring?" he muttered just loud enough for the rest to hear.
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