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389 A Cultivator’s Journey to the Peak

    "Everything alright?" Asked Nilo to Cynna, which had just stopped walking in their direction, and began to take off the damaged parts of her armor in order to put on one in better conditions.

    After taking off the damaged leather chestpiece, she turned to look back at Nilo casually, and said, "I am alright. Nothing too serious. What did you guys find in the other two paths?"

    "Two beasts." Responded Finn while casually cleaning his sword from what appeared to be a dense dark-colored blood-like substance. He then noticed the new ring in her hand, and added, "Did you get a souvenir?" On his face was a smile of complicity.

    "You two seem to have your own." Responded Cynna while fastening the straps of her new leather armor. What she was referring to, were two spatial containers that she had seen hanging from Nilo's neck, and hidden inside Fyro's pocket.

    Nilo's object appeared to be the fang of what one would assume was a very large snake-like animal, as shown by its thin and curved shape, which appeared like a small and sharp rib tied by a makeshift string tied around his neck. Fyro's object, on the other hand, was a red reptilian scale with a rough surface as big as the palm of an adult human.

    A few hours before, just when the rest of the participants had moved on from the square in the middle of the stone path, Cynna had decided to try her luck against the half immortal puppet. However, her objective had never been to simply survive three minutes, nor to win the duel. Her objective was to obtain the puppet's ring.

    Her original cultivation was already close to the peak of immortality, making her able to compete with any cultivator underneath the high immortality stage, and with the boost in battle prowess granted by Daniel's system, she was able to not only face the puppet, but even injure it slightly.

    Unfortunately, despite her strength, to remove the ring off of a person's hand, a similar power was not enough. What one needed was an extremely higher one instead. Her attempts in the three minutes of the duel had been many, and yet, their duel had concluded in a draw.

    When she was starting to feel bad for losing her chance, she found relief in the thought that she would still receive an extremely high amount of wealth as a reward. However, when she approached the puppet, which was waiting for her with an open hand, and a small ring resting on its palm, a wild idea appeared in Cynna's mind.

    When the previous challengers had obtained their reward, she had not paid too much attention to the puppet's movements, but now that she could observe it from up close, she noticed that the hand which the puppet was using to give Cynna her reward, not only was the same one on which she was wearing her main ring, but her fingers were parted together just enough for the ring to slide off.

    "I will only attack those who challenge me." This phrase suddenly made its appearance in Cynna's head. What if it didn't only mean that the puppet would not harm the observing participants? What if it meant that the puppet would only attack within the three minutes time, and would never react after that, keeping her hands permanently wrapped around the sword's handle?

    With this idea in mind, Cynna slowly moved her own hand above the puppet's, but instead of grabbing the ring that was resting on the puppet's palm, she pinched the ring on her ring finger, and pulled it off. Just as she had hoped, the puppet did not have any form of reaction, showing what the true meaning of this test was about.

    To think outside of the norm, to aspire to the best rewards, to gamble a lower reward for a bigger fortune, to risk one's life for an opportunity. All of these concepts were, according to anyone who had obtained some sort of result in their life path, be it the career of a human being, or the cultivation path of a cultivator, essential for achieving success.

    The option to take the best reward possible had always been there, and had Lorwin and the rest of his team not been so narrow-minded, they could have taken everything.

    After taking the ring off of the puppet's hand, Cynna grabbed her reward and left.

    On her way through the second stone path she tried to check the content of the two rings, but while she could see the content of her reward, which as Lorwin had guessed consisted in exactly ten thousand essence gems, she had been unable to take over the space within the puppet's ring, making her unable to overwrite the mark of the puppet's owner.

    Something else that she was not able to do, was to keep the ring inside her own. The object was bound to the space in which they were being tested, and the owner of the spatial ring was too powerful for her to force the ring in.

    The same had happened in the two other paths, as after being able to kill their own opponents and recovered the two spatial containers formed through the use of a body part of the two beasts, Nilo and the others had found themselves unable to open the spatial containers, and had been forced to carry them around, unable to store them away.

    "What happened in the other paths? Who did you encounter?" Asked Lorwin with curiosity to Sigg and Ivan, who were looking around with trembling hands.

    Ivan, who was he calmer one between the two, not willing to ignore a cultivator of a higher standing, said, "An Emerald Cave Snake, and a Horned Wyvern of Nuravia.."

    "Is that it?" asked Dehlila with doubt. The two beasts described by Ivan were extremely dangerous beasts, but their power could only be feared by cultivators at the early stages of immortality. For cultivators at the peak of immortality, these beasts should not be able to pose a threat.

    However, before the two could misunderstand, Sigg interrupted their train of thoughts by saying, "They were both puppets. H-Half Immortal puppets."

    What Ivan said was of great shock to Lorwin and the others, after all, they had either seen, or felt the presence of a scale, which clearly belonged to the horned wyvern, and the fang of the emerald cave snake. The only way they could have obtained these items, was by killing their owners.

    What was even more shocking to them, was the fact that their already small group had split through each of the three paths. As this last piece of information made its way into their minds, they turned to look back at Cynna with horror. From what they knew, Cynna could have simply killed the human-like puppet in the three minutes of her own test.

    They could only imagine the amount of resources that each of these spatial containers were hiding.

    Once Nilo and the others finished changing, instead of resting, they prepared to follow the path that lay in front of them. It was only then that they noticed the wooden sign that had suddenly appeared at the beginning of this path. On it, was written "Beware greed.. Be it yours, or that of others."Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com  for visiting.

    After reading these words, Nilo could not help but smile with complacency. He then said, "I knew it. I knew they were not just casually giving out wealth to us."

    "What do you mean?" Asked Lorwin in confusion.

    For a very long time, Nilo had started to wonder why the universal government would give them cultivation resources so powerful, that if used to increase their strength at their current stage, would cause their bodies to explode.

    In the past few hours, he had developed a theory, and the first evidence that supported it, was the fact that the competition would publicly reward them in front of everybody else, as well as kick out those who failed their tests. Another suspicious detail, was the fact that while the participants of two different islands had joined the inner one, their path had yet to cross.

    The few words written on this wooden sign were enough for Nilo's theory to be proven true. The rewards were not actual rewards, but an object that would turn the highest achieving cultivators into the main targets of others.

    "You will see soon." Responded Nilo as he and the members of his team started walking towards the path. The rest of the participants followed right after.

    -----

    The group of roughly twelve hundred cultivators made their way through the artificially made path for about four hours, when suddenly, in front of them, appeared a light. This light was not shed through the tree trunks, but from the end of the path. The power it emanated, was that of starlight, likely originated by the sun.

    "Are we out of the jungle?" Asked Filly with eyes filled with hope.

    "I hope so." Responded Dehlila from right beside her.

    After a few more minutes, the group was finally able to leave the forest. In front of them was a massive expanse of grass with a few small trees strewn about. To their right, a few kilometers away, was another entrance to the valley from which thousands of cultivators were pouring in.

    However, before either the participants of volcanic island or temple island could notice each other, their attention was caught by the massive white tower that stood two hundred meters in height, right in the middle of the field of grass.

    On the roof of this tower, was a tunnel similar to the one they had used to reach this island, that extended beyond what their eyes could see.

    "So we need to climb that tower to pass this test." muttered Lorwin while squinting his eyes, in an attempt to see whether he could spot the next island at the end of the tunnel.

    His attempt was interrupted the moment Dehlila said, "What is that on your chest?"

    "What?" he muttered before looking down on his chest, and noticing an upside down number. From other people's perspective, the number was two thousand and thirty-one. Similar numbers had appeared on the chests of each of the participants.

    "Oh no.." said Lowrin, clearly aware of what that number meant, before turning to look at Nilo and the rest of his group.

    Instead of paying attention to the number that had appeared on their chests, Nilo, Cynna and Fyro immediately noticed that something had changed in the spatial containers they had taken from the three half immortal puppets. Ever since they had entered this grass field, the indestructible mark that had kept the three objects sealed, had disappeared.

    When the three of them looked down on their chests, they gasped in shock.

    The number on Fyro's chest was the highest one, displaying 301,008. Slightly lower than that, was Nilo, with 300,922, while the lowest, was that on Cynna's chest, which displayed 290,976.

    The three immediately focused their attention on the three spatial containers they were carrying, and after injecting a wisp of consciousness into them, they quickly realized that each of them contained roughly three hundred thousand essence gems. Enough to reward fifteen hundred team duels, or three hundred one on one duels against either of the three half immortal puppets.

    The meaning of these numbers was quickly realized by all of the cultivators, who found themselves with one that matched exactly the number of essence gems in their possession. This was also proven the very moment one of these participants took one of the gems out of their spatial container, and after handing it over to one of their companions, noticed the number decrease by one.

    After barely being able to regain a portion of their calm, the participants finally took notice of the stone slab that was standing in front of the jungle's entrance. On it, was carved a list of rules.

    ____________________________

    A cultivator's journey to the peak

    -The entrance to the tower is only allowed for those with a number higher than 500;

    -If the number reaches 0 at any point, the participant will be eliminated, and sent out;

    -To steal, rob, kill, and trade, is NOT prohibited.

    ____________________________
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