After running for another 30 minutes he was finally stopped by the appearance of the same middle aged man.
“This is the third and final challenge. Take the beast cores from a 2nd tier beast or 5 beast cores from 1st tier beasts”. Then he vanished once again.
Back in the Divine Sword sect, Xiao Fang used to go on large scale expedition to hunt beasts that were in large groups. Although 1st tier beasts are common, 2nd tier beasts are not and can be sold for a hefty price. So once the projection of the middle aged man disappeared he didn’t hesitate to jump into action.
[Iron cutting Stone]
[Iron cutting Stone]
[Iron cutting Stone]
To Xiao Fang’s surprise he was able to use ‘Iron cutting Stone’ multiple times without feeling tired. It was as easy as moving his hand. He was starting to feel the effects of the elixir on his stamina.
Xiao Fang massacred the numerous 1st tier beasts with ease, also finding some relatively weak 2nd tier beast along the way. He spent at least an hour in that place collecting every beast core he could find.
Xiao Fang eventually found a large hole in the wall, but it somewhat resembled a large cave. The deeper he went into the cave the more his instincts told him to turn back. The moment he blinked, a cold feeling washed over him and he halted to a stop. He froze because in the moment he blinked he could see hundreds of bones in the cave.
The bones were too large to be humans, which only shocked him even more. Whatever was in there it is feeding off other beasts. The only kind of beast that would do such a thing were… The moment he turned to exit the cave, a large claw lashed out at him.
“Shit!”, Xiao Fang screamed as he jumped to the side, avoiding the claw by just a hair.
It wasn’t a 3rd tier beast, but cannibalistic 2nd tier beasts were known to be a step stronger than the average 2nd tier beast. It was nearly 10 meters tall, had elongated limbs, a black hairless body, and a terrifying smile. It closely resembled a mummified wingless bat, but without the pointy ears.
Back at the Divine Sword sect, his father once told him he killed a beast like this when he was younger, using only the 2nd level of the Divine Sword technique: ‘Iron Cutting Iron’. Xiao Fang trained this technique often, but never attempted it in battle. He feared the backlash to be too severe.
The beast’s claw approached him with a frightening velocity, but Xiao Fang was trained to be extremely quick and decisive. His sword unsheathed.
[ Iron cutting Iron ]
Xiao Fang’s sword cut its hand off, and in the same moment he jumped towards its head.
[ Iron cutting Iron ]
The beast’s head dropped and the battle ended, just like that. Xiao Fang’s hands trembled as he held his sword, he was experiencing only a minor backlash which made him extremely happy. This meant with just a bit more training will be able to use Iron Cutting Iron without a backlash.
Xiao Fang quickly extracted the beast core from its abdomen and prepared to leave. However, to his surprise, he found where it stashed all the beast cores it collected. He looted the area, then eventually made his way to the door that marked the end of the exam.
Upon exiting the exam hall he was immediately greeted by an elder that supervised over the exam. Xiao Fang presented what he obtained from the first and second challenge, but only gave him five 1st tier beast cores, knowing the value for even a single 2nd tier beast core equaled a hundred 1st tier beast cores.
The elder looked up and down at him as if he were scanning his body. Xiao Fang was covered in blood and hardly recognizable. He looked as if he were the sole survivor of a bloody battle royale, but the strange thing was that he only presented five 1st tier beast cores from it. He couldn’t wrap his head around it so he eventually gave up.
The elder then made inscriptions in the air using his spirit qi, then made it go into Xiao Fang’s shoulder. The image of a flower appeared on his arm then it began to fade as if it was seeping into his skin and imprinting itself onto his soul.
“From now on, you may pass through the outer court barrier as you please.”
“Thank you, senior”, Xiao Fang bowed.
Xiao Fang knew that there were many levels to entering the sect. Not only was there a barrier, but there was also a towering wall that surrounded the entire outer court, and elders guarding it on both sides.
The elder tossed a small spatial pouch towards Xiao Fang. Looking inside, Xiao Fang saw his new outer court robes as well as a few mediocre cultivation resources.
“You are the first to finish the exam. Please accept this prize and find a residence to live in district 33. Xiao Fang looked at the Black Paradise insignia on the robes and instantly recognized it. He smiled.
The robes themselves were wonderful shades of blue and a bit of white, but upon entering, found that the female disciples all wore pink with a bit of white robes.
Xiao Fang thanked the elder again then quickly left.
After some time, Xiao Fang almost completely explored the outer court, leaving out the residence area which took up 75% of the sect. He familiarized himself with the sect’s lecture halls, libraries, shops, training grounds, and even took note of a few beauties he would like to chase after in the future.
Just before the time that the sun was setting he found the mission board where disciples would go for outer sect missions. Surprisingly enough he even saw a few men in the crowd. This confused Xiao Fang deeply.
So many beauties in this sect yet the few men that were here wished to leave to do missions? Xiao Fang could meditate on this thought for a millennia and still not understand why they would do that.
The only reason he even lingered around this place was to find a special someone he expected to be here. Xiao Fang looked around, but could not find her. After some time searching he eventually gave up and just planned to come back tomorrow. However, as he was leaving he ran into a familiar face. Li Lian.
“Y-you,” she couldn’t believe her eyes. Scared the seemingly hallucinatory image would disappear, she grabbed onto his hand before she could blink.
“You’re really here, how did you get your hands on an outer court disciple’s robes? Why are you here?”
“Strange how fate works isn’t it”, Xiao Fang vaguely replied to her barrage of questions and laughed. Reminding her of the words he last said to her before he disappeared.
“Mn, truly,” she replied softly.
“I’m in need of a guide, would you mind-“.
“YES, haha. I mean yes, I’d love to show you around”, she replied.
They walked around the sect at night. Unlike most sects, the Black Paradise sect had many great tourist spots. However the sect as a whole was several dozens of kilometers in diameter, so it was impossible to walk through the entire sect in a single night, but she only covered the most important parts of the sect in her tour.
He stared at her as if she was the only thing that mattered in this sect. She felt his stares the whole time and it made her feel like she had butterflies in her stomach.
“umm, We’ve been everywhere now and…”
Xiao Fang interrupted her, “ah, that reminds me, I haven’t found a place to live yet. Is it alright if you help me find a place to stay?” Xiao Fang asked charmingly.
“It’s getting late, how about we go look for it tomorrow, until then you can sleep at my place. It will only be the two of us”.
Xiao Fang smiled brightly “In that case, sorry for the inconvenience”.