96 Chapter 96
The door behind them vanished after everyone passed through it. The group found themselves in a corridor at first, torches on the sides as the only thing they could do was walk forward. Soon enough they could see some light at the end of that corridor and they were greeted to rows upon rows of books. A peculiar feeling washed through the people here, their stamina and wounds were recovered almost instantly after going through the library entrance.
'This is an actual safe zone... would be nice if it also had a save point'
The so-called library was quite circular, the long shelves of books formed rings around each other as the collection expanded outwards. In the middle of the large library hall, there was a large circular tube. The tube went upwards and into the ceiling, in the middle there looked to be something akin to sliding doors and a number '1' above it.
'Is that an elevator...?'
It looked like a normal elevator, it had all the required buttons like the ones that opened and closed the doors. While the other cultivators were glancing at the books, Matt walked up to the elevator and pressed the button that should open it but nothing happened.
'The doors aren't opening... maybe it's locked until we clear the other levels?'
There were seven buttons on that elevator, which correlated to the seven deadly sins theme of this test. He left the elevator for now, as after poking every button nothing was happening. He then heard some of his companions speaking out.
"These books are all for Qi condensation practitioners... but the quality is astonishing!"
He looked at them going through some scriptures, their eyes focused as they were going through the old knowledge. Matt didn't wait much before he picked up one book and used the help of his system to scan its worth.
[ Crimson Phoenix Immolation Palm (First Scripture) [ Mortal High Grade ] ]
'Oh, it is indeed a high grade technique for a Qi condensation manual... and only the first part of it...'
He glanced over it, his system gave him more statics than just the grade of the technique. He also had the option to save it to his system library without having to actually absorb the knowledge outright and get a migraine while doing it.
[ Name: Star Phoenix Immolation Palm(First scripture)
Meant for: Qi Condensation Cultivators ( 6+)
Grade: Mortal High Grade
Requirements: Fire Affinity C+ grade and up
Qi usage: Moderate-High
Description: This art has been designed with close combat in mind, the practitioners gather their Qi into their palm transferring it into their opponent's body during a clash. The inserted Qi wrecks havoc inside the enemy's body burning them from the inside. The correct use of this art will produce a Phoenix tattoo on the practitioner's palm. Further scriptures allow the summoning of an actual Phoenix that aids in the attack. ]
'This doesn't look bad... quite deadly as it's an internal attack, it might even go through someone's body refining defenses.'
He started going through the manuscripts closest to him, they were all for practitioners in the Qi condensation and they were all above the mortal low grade. He looked up at the bookcase, it had the symbol of fire above it this was probably why everything in this section was for fire-based cultivators.
"Think this section of the library would be fit for the Huo clan."
Matt brought this to attention as Huo Qiang came over. He and his retainer's jaw opened up wide as they read the previously picked up Crimson Phoenix Immolation Palm, but this wasn't even the best one amongst the techniques that were lined up there. There were various ones, punching arts, kicking arts, ones for using weapons even regular cultivation manuals that were probably above anything that the Huo clan had in their own library back home.
"This is a treasure trove of knowledge if we could bring those books back with us..."
The two men had sparkles in their eyes as they went through some of the displayed cultivation manuals. Matt was a bit less optimistic than the two as he didn't think that the person that made this place would just let them clean the library out. He was more inclined in thinking that they might be able to take a couple of them later, or even worse as they would get none. With the second option, they would probably have to focus on learning the desired art in the limited time period they had in this library.
"I wouldn't get my hopes up, I bet they immortal senior that gathered all these books here wouldn't just let us take them with us."
Well, this was just something that the others had to contend with, Matt, on the other hand, could just copy everything into his library with a couple of clicks. Thus he did that, while his party members were going through some scriptures and old texts he started poking them while they were still on the shelves.
[ Fist of the Supreme General [ Mortal High Grade ] ]
[ Do you wish to copy this text to the system library? ]
He clicked yes and moved over to the next book repeating the motion over and over again. The people in the large room were a bit bewildered as they saw Zhang Dong move his finger up in the air while tracing his other finger through the lined-up books. Was this some kind of technique to find the best secret text or something? They didn't want to ask as the man looked quite focused, his fingers were moving at an amazing speed while he was squinting.
'Damn... is there no faster way to do this... there are thousands of books here... this is going to take a while.'
He was familiar with this procedure already, as he did the same thing back at the Zhang Clan library. Though the clan's library wasn't as huge as this one and didn't have all these varying cultivation arts. He even found some lightning-related techniques here, focusing on copying them down as he frantically went through the entire place, he had to get everything down in those 24 hours, he might not have a second try.
He was soon like a blur, hands kicking up winds as he copied everything down without even reading what the skill was for. Everything was going to be shoved into his database, he dreaded the day when he would have to write everything down or use jade slips instead. Thanks to this library being so orderly and circular, he was sure that he wouldn't miss anything if he just went in order. Time soon passed and the next stage was upon them.
Zhang Dong managed to finish the 'plagiarising' procedure an hour early, so he had some time to think about the new stage and rest up. As the 24th hour ticked down the scenery became a blur. There was no voice or message the scenery just switched to a small room with another door in front. Everyone looked surprised, they were just reading some scriptures contemplating the basics and foundation of their techniques as they got teleported here, the books that they were studying just evaporating into nothingness as they found themselves in a sterile room.
"I guess they won't let us take those books out of there, guess that was expected."
Matt mentioned his theory to the others while going towards the door in front.
"Hope everyone is ready, there are probably be more monsters inside and I bet they will be stronger than the previous ones."
Everyone got ready while Zhang Dong grabbed the handle and swung the door open, soon enough everyone stepped through the door. They were greeted with a flash of bright light and a scenery change. The first thing that Matt noticed after taking a step in that the ground was strangely squishy.
'Ugh... what is this?'
He grimaced as he looked at the scenery, the ground and walls looked like they were made from pink flesh. They were in some kind of corridor once again but it looked to be alive.
"Are we in some kind of beast's belly?"
One of the cultivators asked while poking the flesh wall, it was warm to the touch and when you sliced it blood would gush out. There were no spasming or trembling that would accompany attacks to someone's insides, so maybe they weren't inside some creature just some badly created scenery.
'The person that made these trials sure has some strange fetishes...'
Matt thought to himself, but as he wanted to move on Kwok Xun started grasping his stomach.
"What is this feeling ...s-so hungry... "
He was looking at the fleshy walls in the surroundings with reddish eyes and drool coming out of his mouth, this prompted Matt to look at his status screen.
[ Kwok Xun [Core Formation middle stage] ( Starvation ) ]
'Yeah... figures, seven deadly sins...'
Luckily they had the monk with them, he was surprisingly good against curses and debuffing effects like they were encountering in this place. Soon a golden shield surrounded them once more, letting Xun sigh out after the horrid longing to eat the fleshy walls subsided.
"I think these trials are going to amplify the humanly desires... how many of those talismans do you have on you...?... you never told us your name..."
Matt asked while looking at the monk that was chanting.
"You may call me Bankei. Forgive me, but I only have a handful left and I don't have any more materials to make more."
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He said respectfully while holding the barrier up, Matt rubbed his chin he seemed to be unaffected by the mental game like debuffs probably due to his previously acquired skill that protected his mind.
"Brother Bankei, how long can you keep this golden barrier up?"
"I can sustain it for twelve hours, longer if I have something to replenish my spiritual energies."
Zhang Dong nodded while looking to the side at the other cultivators.
'Think that should be enough... it's not a very hard skill to learn and I already upgraded my Impartation of Knowledge to a high degree.'
The answer to the problems was quite easy, he had the skill and he could easily pass it on to others. So he didn't wait much, before moving over to his first 'victim'.
"I'm going to pass on a secret art to you now, it will protect you from the strange afflictions that these trials are putting us under."
He was a bit ashamed that he didn't think about it sooner if they were placed in a boss room from the get-go it could have turned out quite badly. Kwok Xun was the first person that was left with a migraine, grasping his forehead after Zhang Dong poked it with his finger.
"T-this is... truly astonishing... my gratitude!"
He bowed to Zhang Dong before going down into the lotus position to cultivate this skill. Soon everyone besides the Bankei was down on the ground, trying to cultivate the Tranquil Mind technique, there should be no problems with the debuffs later on after they were done.
'I sure hope that this place doesn't have a timer on it or something...'
Time passed and the cultivators finished at a varying degree, the youngsters like Huo Qiang and Feng Liena were the fastest, showing that their high cultivation stage at their current age wasn't just for show. The slowest was Feng Maling which caused the tanned Feng Matriarch to blush a bit in shame.
The effects of 'starvation' was now gone even though Bankei pulled back his barrier, they could move. The monk didn't need Zhang Dong's cultivation technique as his sect had a lot of skills that shielded them from demonic influences. Matt passed it on to him anyway, he would feel bad if the guy was the only one not profiting while having to hold that barrier up for so long.
The team moved forward, going through the fleshy corridors as the second trial 'officially' begun.