Everyone who participated in the Abyssal Trials were in the higher echelons of society. As such, the Blizzard Dragon — which was classified as a real dragon — was instantly recognised, and deterred virtually everyone else from making a move on Yue Lingji, who was standing on the island in the lake’s centre. Strangely, the black mist that had shrouded the Lake of Islands was beginning to disperse, and even without his third eye, Li Tianming had a good view of his surroundings.
That also meant that he had a better view of Yue Lingji, along with everyone else who was hiding in the area around her.
Her Blizzard Dragon took to the air a moment later, and Yue Lingji looked down on the area around her. “Those who are still alive, come over and fight! Six have fallen by my hand, and I'm pretty sure some of you have killed others too, so there’s only so many people left alive.”
“As expected, no one here has a spine. Well, no matter. The barrier’s closing in, after all.” Her words echoed around the lake, but no one answered her.
At least for Mo Lin’s group, they didn’t intend to get themselves killed. They had never put their hopes up high for the trials to begin with, since even Mu Yang had told them that something was off and they should prioritize their own life. Could that the 'something off' was related to Yue Lingji? Even now, no one knew the real rules to the trials!
Yue Lingji snickered, knowing that there were people hiding somewhere around. As her beast continued to roar, even the wildbeasts in the region seemed to have escaped. Her every move stank of arrogance and disregard for the others.
Sure enough, there were people who had seen her. For example, at one corner of the lake, a white-clothed girl was seated on a rock, her legs dangling by the lake. Her countenance was paler than paper, as if there was not a drop of blood running through her body. The most obvious thing was the purple imprint squirming around her forehead. It was like a leech, draining her blood as if it was a living thing.
She stared indifferently at Yue Lingji without any intention to move. She was waiting for someone else, after all. The girl was the first to discover that the Lake of Islands was the eye of the ever-shrinking Heavenly Pattern Barrier, and she had been waiting for her prey here ever since.
As for her prey, their corpses were already fish food, resting in the bottom of the lake...
All that lingered in the region was the smug laughter of Yue Lingji, making the others wonder if killing the most meant first place. Even if they remained in hiding, when the barrier forced them out, they would have to face the terrifying Yue Lingji.
Perhaps the only way left was for the survivors to gang up on Yue Lingji. But the risk remained that they could stab each other in the back anytime. As such, no one made a move.
The Heavenly Pattern Barrier closed in slowly on where Mo Lin’s group was hiding. The lakebed was their next option, but they would definitely be spotted the moment they moved. It was somewhat astounding to see how a young girl had cowed three stately geniuses into inaction.
Something unbelievable happened at this moment, right in front of Yue Lingji. The lakewater around the island she stood on began to glow blue, as if a giant sapphire had appeared underneath the island! The breathtaking glow, a hundred metres in radius, dyed the black lakewater a crystal blue, scattering the turbid waters.
But that was just the beginning. Within the circle of glowing water, nine light beams a metre wide shot up into the sky. As the beams increased in intensity, the water in the nine small circles began to bubble, shooting up into the sky a moment later in the shape of dragons!
The abnormality was like a spotlight for Yue Lingji, who basked in the center of the nine beams. A mysterious smile danced on her face, as if she was anticipating this all along. The nine dragons formed by the lake's water circled the sky for about three breaths before exploding into a torrent of rain.
Li Tianming was completely confused. Just what was happening?
“Big brother, this could be the ‘Soaring of Nine Dragons’, a type of manna phenomenon…” Jiang Feiling’s voice trembled slightly.
“According to legends, out of the four different types of manna — royal, profound, terrestrial and celestial — manna profound-ranked and above will give rise to strange phenomena when they appear. From what I read, nine water dragons soaring into the sky marks the appearance of the draconic water obelisk, a profound manna!” Jiang Feiling explained.
“Profound manna?” He narrowed his eyes. The Lake of Islands had been searched through thoroughly before, and there was no way that a profound manna was there!
Even though profound manna and royal manna were only different by a single tier, their values were incomparable! If royal manna was worth about thirty times the net worth of Flamehaven, then a profound manna was worth at least an order of magnitude greater, and perhaps even more!
If the evolution was successful, an eight-star lifebound beast — an imperial beast — would be born. One could count the number of imperial beasts in Vermilion Bird with their hands. With an eight-star beast, a beastmaster could easily reach the higher levels of Heavenly Will with a decent bit of talent. It was a power that could easily dominate the entire nation.
It could be said that the value of a piece of profound manna was close to that of the Saintbeast War-Soul, and it was even easier to use. While Saintbeast War-Souls was used to make powerful beasts even stronger, a profound manna could change the very nature of a beast!
What could it mean, for a profound manna to appear in the middle of the Lake of Islands during the Abyssal Trials?
“Heaven’s Elysium must have placed the manna here, arranging it to appear at this very moment. Is obtaining the manna the condition to take first place in the trials? After all, even if the winner lacks aptitude, the manna is able to make up for that.” It wasn’t just Li Tianming, but every other survivor who had that exact same thought.
Everyone stared fervently at the profound manna, and rightfully so, since it was an item enough to completely change their fate! It was an unimaginable gift from the Elysium, and everyone present gulped as they looked at it.
The last one standing wins? No, whoever takes the manna wins!
However, that was easier said than done. Yue Lingji wore an excited smile, since she was standing right on the island where the manna appeared. She was closer to it than anyone else, and even with Li Tianming’s Celestial Wings, he wouldn’t make it in time.
Without hesitation, Yue Lingji dived into the lake, reappearing after three breaths of time. In her hands was a gem about the size of her finger, with nine miniature dragons circling it. It was the draconic water obelisk!
She stowed it away a heartbeat later, the smile still on her face. As the manna vanished from sight, the phenomenon at the lake ended, leaving behind no clue that something world-shaking had appeared there. But it was clear to all that the trophy for the Abyssal Trials was in her hands. The only comfort was that the Heavenly Pattern Barrier had yet to reach the Lake of Islands, which meant that they still had a chance to contest for the manna before Heaven’s Elysium ended the trials.
“The draconic water obelisk is in my hands! Does anyone wants to fight me for it? I have six kills already; won't hurt to make it ten!” Yue Lingji’s voice travelled to every corner of the Heavenly Pattern Barrier, smugness dripping off every syllable now.
As expected, the profound manna was too tempting to pass up, and others had reached her before Li Tianming could. They were two brothers from Aquamarine, and were evidently as strong as Xing Que and Chen Hao. Together, they besieged Yue Lingji with their lifebound beasts, and a heated battle erupted on top of the Lake of Islands!
Alas, Yue Lingji was much stronger, and within minutes, two heads had plopped off, their lifebound beasts shredded to pieces by the Blizzard Dragon!
With a splash, the corpses fell into the lake, dyeing it a bloody red. Some blood had dirtied Yue Lingji’s face as well, dirtying her veil. She took it off, revealing her stunning appearance. The only flaw was that her eyes were narrow, making her look rather unkind.
“Anymore? I need two more to reach ten. If not, I’ll take the manna gladly, as well as the position in Heaven's Elysium. It’s a place worthy only for people like me, and trash like you all can waste your life away in this lovely backwater.”
“Ji Changyan, are you dead yet? I know you are somewhere around.” She scanned her surroundings with a smile on her face and the two swords in her hands. Right now, she looked like an invincible wargod.
Li Tianming knew that no one else would dare to appear after she killed those two from Aquamarine. The difference in strength was blatantly obvious, and Mo Lin, Xing Que and Chen Hao had all gone back into hiding.
But he couldn't let the Abyssal Trials end here! Since he couldn’t find Jiang Qingluan and Mu Qingqing, then if he revealed himself, they could find him instead. The barrier was constantly shrinking, and there was not much time left for him to fight for the manna.
And as such, there was only one course of action left to him.
He will fight and snatch the draconic water obelisk from Yue Lingji!