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(Compelled to fight (2)

The fact was that Zen's assessment was extremely accurate.

For the Blooded Test, most people remained on the third layer. Very few disciples braved the fourth or fifth layer.

The reasoning was simple, the initiates were not at the higher levels, which meant the beasts were too strong, and those participants would probably lose their lives before earning a single fragment. That was not a place the disciples wanted to be.

After deciding, Zen spent six hours wandering around on the third layer. During that time, he harvested quite a few fragments.

First, he came across a demon crow that attacked him from the air, leaving Zen no way to avoid its attacks. When he tried attacking the demon crow, it would deliberately put distance between itself and Zen, making Zen raise his brow and shrug his shoulders.

As he scoured his mind for some way to deal with this demon crow, an idea popped into Zen's head. Falling to the ground abruptly, Zen pretended to be dead. He wasn't sure, but, he believed the demon crow was a scavenger that would enjoy feasting on a carcass.

The minute the crow saw Zen sprawled on the ground, it believed Zen was dead and swooped down to feast. But, as soon as it was close enough, Zen punched it. The demon crow fell dead from the one punch Zen delivered.

Later, he met up with a tremendous ancient mammoth. Its monstrous frame was intimidating, the power it possessed was more so, and could lead to trouble for Zen. However, Zen wasn't afraid at all and relied on his instincts. Zen dispatched it quickly.

And after that, he met three black wolves...

A sky dragon...

and even a colossal gorilla...

In general, the beasts were much more extensive and stronger on that level than they were on the second layer. For Zen, it took a little bit longer to deal with them, because while the beasts were strong, they weren't as smart as him. With a bit of creativity, it wasn't difficult to slay them.

Over the six hours, he won a total of eight purple fragments from his victories and needed only one more to pass the Blooded test.

While he was thinking that, a bloody porcupine appeared in front of him. Fury flashed in its savage eyes, while it drooled from out the corners of its mouth near protruding hideous tusks. In desperation, it surged at Zen, attacking.

Deadly quills covered the bloody porcupine completely. If a person was pierced by one of the quills, the poison would kill him. Worse yet, its skin was so thick and rough on the beast that it made killing it a formidable trial. In a short time, very few chances to kill it arose.

Fortunately, it lacked intelligence. In spite of the brute force approach to attack Zen not working, it was unable to change how it engaged Zen. Time and time again, it charged Zen but didn't even make contact with his clothes, let alone hurt him.

Zen agilely dodged each attack and devised a plan to wait for the creature to drain itself of virtually all its energy then Zen would give it a death blow.

Dodging the porcupine's charge, Zen was barely on his feet when suddenly he felt the sensation that danger was nearby and cursed under his breath, "Damn it!" Instinctively, he rolled to one side.

As he turned, Zen saw a long, shiny blue thread appear where he had been.

Reacting slowly, the bloody porcupine ran headlong into the thread and was instantly sliced in half. It happened so fast, the creature didn't have time even to scream. Its eyes echoed its final seconds of life, glazed, wide orbs full of fear and panic. As with all the other creatures, light filled the beast before it faded, leaving behind a sizzling purple shard where the creature had fallen.

Zen's face paled as he stared at the gradually disappearing long blue thread, thinking, 'Wow! That thread is sharp! If I'd been slower, I would've been sliced into two by it!'

"Take the fragment, it's yours," Zen heard a cold voice tell him.

Looking in the direction it came from, Zen saw a young man standing close by. He was casually playing with a delicate looking dagger that had a long bright blue thread that kept coming out of the tip. This young man and his dagger were the reason the bloody porcupine was cut in two.

"Who are you?" asked Zen. Since it was clear that the young man was there for Zen, he remained vigilant.

The young man did not lift his eyes from his dagger as he played with it, as he responded in a casual tone, "Me? My name is Ryan, and I am part of the Fang Clan."

An idea flickered briefly in Zen's gaze, as soon as he told Zen his family affiliation.

Zen soon understood what this man was here for. Ryan was another son of the Fang Clan like the ones who attacked him without reasons back on the second layer. He met three members on the second layer. But apparently, he was stronger than they were. Zen realized Ryan did not have friendly intentions.

Raising a brow, Ryan took a handful of purple shards from his pocket and sent them tumbling to the ground. The tinging, pinging as they hit the surface sounded like shattered jade dropping, making a crisp sound as they did.

Whatever Ryan's purpose was, the music that those shards made as they landed was extraordinarily beautiful.

To ensure passing the Blooded Test, a disciple needed ten pieces. Scattered here were dozens of purple fragments! A small group of pupils could pass the test with this many!

It shocked Zen to see how many purple shards Ryan had collected. To accrue as many as he did, Zen spent hours fighting beasts, but he only gathered nine. And yet, this guy had several times more than Zen. Ryan had dozens!

"Fight me and, if you beat me, you can have all these purple fragments. How about it?" Ryan asked dispassionately.

There was no such thing as free in life, and Zen knew those shards would cost him if he agreed. Shaking his head firmly, "No, I don't think that's a good idea. I'll see you later!" said Zen as he turned to leave. He was sure this fellow was not trying to befriend him.

With the final purple fragment, Zen could finish the test. Why would he want to fight this guy? He would much rather fight a beast. To collect so many purple fragments in such a short period, this guy was definitely tough. As for the dagger in his hand, Zen could see it was a dangerous weapon.

The wheels were spinning in Zen's head. If he were to guess, Zen would have to say that the dagger was very likely a spiritual level of treasure.

After being in so many fights, Zen was confident in his strength, but he wasn't blind.

Smiling faintly, Ryan stated, "I'm afraid you don't have a choice in the matter. You see, while I'm not surprised that the three stupid cowards were eliminated, I take pity on them at the same time. To keep it fair, you should pay the price for getting people from the Fang Clan kicked from the test. Don't you agree?"

Hearing what Ryan was telling him, Zen stood still, ready to leave. Just as he'd suspected, Ryan was looking to cause trouble. Before he could go, a glowing blue thread suddenly appeared in front of him.

As the silk thread quickly grew, it became a small square. Zen watched, as the square increased rapidly in size until eventually it became a vast net that could cover hundreds of feet around them and encompassed Zen and Ryan inside.

"Don't you think that the Blooded Test is exceptionally dull? I mean, come on, we're dealing with beasts that have no intelligence. It's simply insulting to me! We should add something interesting.

Only a real fight, perhaps, can cheer me up! Then, maybe I'll leave you whole," said Ryan, while he laughed maniacally.

Narrowing his eyes, Zen glared at Ryan standing not far away. It would seem that Ryan wasn't willing to let him go until they fought. He sighed, shrugging his shoulders in reluctant acceptance.



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