The Puppet Trial
After digesting Ye Ruoshui’s advise, Qinghan fell sound asleep.
According to Ye Ruoshui, he had to eat all the seven spirit fruit from the trees of the seven human emotions after which he would be teleported to the next trial, the Puppet Trial. It was said that one could only move forward, or the numerous puppet beasts would swoop him away. In the first few caves, the beasts were comparatively easier to handle; as the invader moved further in, the overall power of these beasts would increase. It was possible that he might even be reduced to mere bits and pieces before he reached the top.
Considering the arduous journey ahead, Qinghan chose to take a good rest to restore his energy, so that he could perform better in the second trial.
After a full-night’s sleep, Qingan felt much better. Before he left this first trial, he ate dozens of spirit fruits, because Ye Ruoshui told him that this would be his last opportunity. For such functional delicacies, Qinghan wouldn’t let go of the last chance to enjoy some more.
– KaCha! –
On the other side, Little Black was gnawing on some spirit fruits as well. His round stomach suggested that he had already eaten more than he could digest.
They rested for another half an hour, due to their full stomach. Later, Qinghan summoned Little Black back into his chest, and took out the hard-won seven spirit fruits. He checked his surroundings to make sure no dangers were looming around him, before he opened his mouth and took a large a bite.
The moment the first spirit fruit entered his mouth, Qinghan found the whole place to be wobbling, as the white fog in his head began diluting. Weirdly, the white fog enshrouding his body seemed much thicker than before.
– Buzz… –
A bright beam appeared far above, like a searchlight, directly pointing to Qinghan’s position. Like being in the center of the stage, he was in the limelight, while his surroundings were pitch dark.
Most incomprehensibly was what happened next. He slowly flew up in the air, while enveloped by the glaring light. The higher he flew, the quicker the speed. In order to avoid the intense light and air friction, he even half closed his eyes.
– Shu! –
A moment later, he felt his feet touch the ground. Pushed by the enormous unknown power, he retreated several steps before he completely stabilized himself and fully opened his eyes to see what had exactly happened.
“Is this the Puppet Trail? Heaven, it’s sunshine! Yeah, I love the taste of sunshine. Oh, and there are flowers, weeds… and wild beasts…”
Out of sheer curiosity, he searched around to explore this new world. He was now on a large path, which was hundreds of meters in width. On each side of the path, there was nothing but a dazzling light. It might be built in this way for some reason, to blur the sceneries outside the path for instance. As for the sky up above the path, the sunshine could still penetrate through the transparent layer of cover. The warm sunshine poured on Qinghan’s body, and he felt so comfortably relaxed.
For the previous eight months, he had been living in an environment full of white fog. The sky was pessimistically dimmed there, and all the natural beauties, like the azure sky, white cloud and warm sunshine, were all out of reach. Now, bathed in the warm sunshine, he was soothed, as if he was back in his mother’s embrace.
The large path winded upwards along the way, until it reached a mysterious, dark cave. As he walked up ahead, he found a variety of unmanned flowers, weeds, trees planted on the path. Sometimes, he would even encounter some animals, like rabbits, wolves, buffalos… They were all curiously looking at Qinghan – the new invader!
“Hehe, this damn Puppet Trial! But, anyway, the sceneries are much better than in the Illusion Trial!”
Qinghan could hardly hide his feelings after seeing the vibrant plants and animals. For eight months, he had been imprisoned in the Illusion Trial like a prisoner behind bars, losing the opportunity to appreciate beautiful sceneries. In comparison, therefore, he felt blessed to meet those robust nature beings once again…
A horrifying howl came abruptly, which discontinued his meditation. His face instantly turned surly, as he looked around while searching for the dagger on his chest. With the aid of his Battle Qi, he ran as fast as his legs could carry him…
From behind, hundreds of demonic beasts appeared, flooding towards him. He could identify some of the beasts, like the fifth-grade shadow wolf, the sixth-grade triple-eyed hawk, the sixth-grade gigantic thorn dragon… For these normal beasts, Qinghan had the confidence to annihilate them all but the one running in the very front scared him a lot. It was a seventh-grade fire boa.
Although he could reach the peak level of the Realm of the Prince once integrated with his battle beast, he wasn’t sure whether he could bring down the fire boa or not. Usually, a seventh-grade demonic beast wasn’t a threat to him, given his current achievements in cultivation. Yet, this fire boa was highly toxic. Anyone bitten by this boa would face death. Its venom was extremely lethal! As for Qinghan, he just entered the threshold of the Realm of the Prince, thus had no experience in dealing with those kind of beasts.
Most importantly, Ye Ruoshui had told him that the demonic beasts in the Puppet Trial had no soul. They were instead manipulated by an unknown power. Without any self-conscience, all the beasts learned was to chase the invader and tear him up until the unfortunate guy died. Because the beasts were like soulless puppets, any soul-related techniques, like his integration technique, would be proven useless.
It was fair to say, that his previous glory in cultivation mostly relied on his integration technique, the only thing that he was proud of. As a normal Prince-Realm cultivator, he wasn’t anything special…
Figuring this out, he chose to set off at once. The dark cave at the end of the path was considered his best safe haven.
Obviously, Qinghan kept a safe distance from the ferocious demonic beasts in the rear. But the seventh-grade fire boa was approaching him at an extraordinary speed.
Instead of using his Mysterious Track Step, Qinghan released some amount of his Battle Qi on his feet and lifted his speed. While at the same time, the Battle Qi in his hands was formed into a purple palm, aiming at the coming fire boa.
The purple palm of Battle Qi was approximately as large as one square meter. The largeness of the palm ensured the hit rate against fire boa.
– Bang! –
No doubt, following the booming sound, the purple palm collided with the fire boa. Hearing the sound, Qinghan was thrilled for he thought the most threatening beast was put under rein. However… when he turned back to steal a glance of the aftermath, he only found the fire boa being safe and sound, except for a dark bruise on its forehead. The beast remained steady with a pair of bloodshot eyes, ready to fight.
“Hehe, one more time!”
He carelessly laughed out, before he forged another purple palm of Battle Qi. The purple palms came one after another, although it did little harm to the fire boa. Yet the chasing speed of the boa could be somehow deterred, which helped Qinghan to win more time as he ran up ahead.
Within several minutes, Qinghan eventually arrived at the cave. The entrance of the cave was like an opening mouth of a ferocious beast. Staring at the darkness inside, Qinghan’s eyes lit up with a hint of shrewdness, as he curved the corner of his lips and wormed into the cave.