Chapter 72 – The first test (ii).
Upon touching the jade dial, streams of information regarding the first test flowed into Zilan’s mind.
“Interesting.” He smiled towards Fujo and Kifo before dashing for the forest.
They both followed Zilan closely.
Although the trio were not the first to run for the forest, they certainly could be counted amongst the first fifty. As for the rest, they were either busy going through all the rules and newly received information or they were cautiously waiting to see if the first group would suffer any problems.
As he was nearing the forest, Zilan noticed that the speed of the people ahead of him was gradually decreasing.
“We haven’t even stepped foot into it and the pressure is already affecting them?” wondered Zilan.
According to the jade dial, the forest was divided into three different areas which could be differentiated by the colour of the trees growing in those regions.
The first and closest area which had the normal and natural towering green trees, exuded the least pressure.
Further in, and all the trees would be a peculiar red colour. The pressure would also double which made it an extremely difficult area to traverse.
As for the final region, it consisted of blue trees, and it was described in the jade dial as having pressure that bordered life threatening. Also, the deeper one went the greater the pressure.
The jade dial didn’t describe it any further and so Zilan could only imagine it.
Soon it came time for him, Kifo and Fujo to experience the pressure. Both Kifo and Fujo noticeably shuddered before adjusting their bodies to cope with the foreign force pressing down on them.
However, for Zilan the effects of the pressure gave him an unexpected yet pleasant surprise.
“Universe power! It seems to not be as pure as the ceremonial grounds and also appears to have been imbued with a foreign energy that’s controlling it to press down on the forest.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that it is still Universe power and as such won’t affect me. Only that unknown energy may slightly affect me but right now, the effects are negligible.” Laughed Zilan inwardly.
It looked like his constitution would give him a great advantage in this test. In fact, one could even go one step further and claim that this place was actually quite a good cultivation ground for him.
He could easily take in the Universe energy while his body was under pressure by the unknown force.
Of course, what he’d actually get from this wouldn’t be much. After all, he had absorbed so much Universe energy already that he’d completed the first stage of the [Marks of tribulation].
If he wanted to continue to greatly increase his strength then Zilan would need to begin properly cultivating and exercising his body.
Nevertheless, Zilan was still very happy. Like a fish in water, he ran across the field finally entering the forest.
Kifo wasn’t really shocked seeing him move so effortlessly however, the same could not be said for Fujo who increased his speed in order to keep up with Zilan’s.
Once the trio were about a few hundred meters into the forest, Fujo suddenly called out to Zilan and asked him to stop.
“What is it?”
Fujo lightly chuckled before explaining,
“Brother Zilan, I have a few friends from back home who would like for me to form a group with them as we explore this forest. They’re currently on their way here so I’d like for us to wait a bit for them to get here.”
Zilan furrowed his brows. He didn’t want unnecessary disturbance however, he also couldn’t outright refuse this young Master.
He looked towards Kifo who honestly seemed to not really care as he continued to observe the enchanting trees.
In the end he couldn’t say anything and thus sat beside a fairly thin tree, awaiting the arrival of Fujo’s comrades.
Seeing this, the young Master only smiled as he moved away. From time to time, his mouth would move as if he was speaking to someone.
About ten minutes later,
“They’re here.” Declared Fujo.
Zilan glanced at the direction Fujo was facing and saw three figures approaching at a moderate speed.
The three youths stopped in front of Fujo and immediately gave their greetings.
“Eldest brother, you ran so quickly inside that I thought you had forgotten about us.” Joked an interesting fellow whose appearance from the stomach up, was huge, and as if they were ironed down, his lower body was the complete opposite, exceedingly skinny.
It was like looking at an apple that was resting on two toothpicks.
“Stop speaking nonsense, we were the ones who were too slow. Sorry, to have troubled Eldest Brother.” Laughed another male lizard youth who aside from his luxurious clothes and light armour, looked quite plain.
Something that could not be said for the girl who was standing behind them. She had the alluring figure that all young ladies who were coming of age possessed however what set her apart were the seductive curves of her serpentine body and the clear emerald elliptical eyes that seemed to see right through people. Short jet black hair that flowed down to her neck only added to her beauty.
Her body was mostly covered in fairly small, ash-black scales, leaving only parts of her face as well as her hands and two feet uncovered.
As far as Beasts were concerned she was the first one Zilan had seen who looked so human like. Of course, the long dark green tail that trailed behind her couldn’t be ignored.
“A fat lizard, a plain lizard and a beautiful snake girl.”
Just as Zilan noticed and was appraising them, they too were examining him.
Noticing this, Fujo turned to introduce everyone,
“Brother Zilan, these three are my close friends. Mnono is the big one, the one who likes to talk too much is Ker and she is my cousin Nyoka.”
The trio didn’t react upon hearing Fujo call out their names and this was because they felt a strange sensation when looking at Zilan. It was extremely faint as if it was being suppressed however, they were also reptiles and of high birth so they could instantly detect that Zilan was one of them.
As for which species exactly, it was impossible to tell.
Nyoka especially was staring right at the scarf that was covering Zilan’s neck. She had the strongest bloodline of the three and thus was able to feel more.
Fujo quickly took note of what was going on and immediately acted.
“Ehem! I suggest we get moving lest we fall behind.”
The three drew their gazes back but they couldn’t help but steal a few glances at Zilan every few seconds.
“Ah, that reminds me. We were lucky enough to find three two star, earth green fruit.” Exclaimed Mnono.
Zilan was keeping his distance from the three reptiles since he didn’t want his identity to become known, at least not yet.
Shining was also an art form and only at the most opportune moment would his splendour truly leave others in awe.
After hearing that their group had managed to find a two star herb, Zilan couldn’t help but smile and this was because he held yet another advantage in this test.
The star ranking system for the herbs as well as rare creatures was actually something specific to the test.
When the dial was brought near a rare item, it would rank the item for the finder by displaying stars. One was the lowest and five was the highest.
In this test, his other advantage was naturally his eyes. A single flash would be enough to identify a region with strong medicinal essence. Unfortunately, because he was being closely watched that would be a bit tricky so he wouldn’t resort to that if he couldn’t help it.
That’s why his real advantage was actually Kifo and his [Feline Perception].
Although he couldn’t perceive energy, with Zilan’s guidance he’d be able to make good use of this ability.