Diana had never experienced the Trial Tower before, but she was pretty sure the first section wasn’t designed to be as easy as she and her team made it appear.
In each of the combat based trials, Mila, with Aalam’s Sensory Domain skill, was able to find any hidden enemies with ease, killing anything far away with the extreme range of her Yin Striker sniper rifle. And Diana, with the help of Helen and Dioscuri, was able to kill anything close by with ease. Nitya and Irena were pretty much just along for the ride.
For the two puzzle trials, Mila, who was sharing her senses with Aalam the entire time, just followed Aalam’s directions to solve them in a matter of seconds. And, after they found the necessary materials for creating a plague in Trial IV, given Mila had the Twelve Element Primal Code practiced to level 7, Aalam was able to guide her to create the plagues they wanted during the long lasting Trial V, which effectively worked like a tower defense game.
This made Trial IX, where the plagues were the cheat to gain a whole lot of trial points, easy as well, and in that trial they even found a set of Masks of Disguise, artifacts which allowed them to change their appearances, enabling them to hide their identities without needing to completely cover themselves with armor.
Their true main advantage, however, came from the massive boost to their stats from the Twelve Element Stationary Enhancement Formation, all their stats effectively tripled through the hard work of Aalam and Epecteos. The formation, the design of which had been Mila’s third most expensive purchase from the previous instance of the Trial Tower, was extremely powerful, and it took so much of the world’s mana to run that its use throughout the Trial Tower would actually slow down the integration of Earth by about three years, which was a nice side effect as it would increase the amount of time Earth was equivalent to a B rank world for training.
Diana had also maximized all her stats, completely mastered all her skills, and advanced all six of her Law Larvae to peak grade, so she couldn’t get any more powerful, and Aalam had delayed his advancement to E rank so Mila could still use his mastered shadowed skills, while her skills were also mastered and her stats were as high as they could get and still have Mila allowed into the Trial Tower as a follower, all her important stats only missing the points she would gain if she advanced her Law Larva of The Reaper to high grade.
Together, they could use stealth to the point most of the best trial takers wouldn’t be able to notice them within a range of 100 meters, and they had Nitya and Irena to act as decoys, so they had a much better chance of getting a high ranking than when Mila and Aalam had competed in the previous instance of the Trial Tower.
You have completed the first section of the Trial Tower and it is now time for you to compete with your peers.
Battle Royale I is starting.
You and 126 other trial takers will be randomly placed in an isolated subspace around 32,000 square kilometers in size.
For every one of your competitors you kill you will gain 1 royale point and, when you die, half your points will be given to your killer.
The three trial takers with the most points at the end of 1 standard hour will move onto the next round and the trial taker with the most points will have his or her trial points multiplied by 1.25.
Leaving Nitya to release the plague, Diana immediately had Helen start killing cultivators loudly while she herself merged with Dioscuri and hid. At the same time, Mila found high ground on a mountain at the center of their subspace and, while the range of Sensory Domain was nowhere close to allowing her to see the entire subspace, her effective Perception and Aura stats allowed her natural senses to spot pretty much everyone who wasn’t using a stealth skill of some kind, and she proceeded to snipe anyone trying to kill another cultivator.
This way, in a little under five minutes, every other cultivator was dead and, after collecting all the artifacts the cultivators had been carrying and replacing all their old artifacts with better ones, then waiting for the hour to be done, they managed to get full rewards from the round, doubling their already large number of trial points.
During the second battle royale, they managed to do the same, but, in the third, one of the other cultivators managed to kill someone before Mila could even try to snipe him and proved a bit too powerful for them to risk fighting fairly, so they just ran away and let the plague take him down.
Overall, during the battle royale rounds, they managed to multiply their trial points by 6 instead of 4.5 as Mila and Aalam had achieved during the previous Trial Tower, but their total trial points were still a lot less, the trial where the plague was a cheat only allowing for gaining points in the hundreds of trillions rather than the hundreds of quadrillions.
When it came to the third section of the Trial Tower, however, the tournament rounds, it quickly became obvious Diana was wrong about their biggest advantage. It wasn’t the boost they were receiving. It was their luck.
As someone with a Heroic grade class with her stats maximized, Diana had the highest base Luck stat possible at F rank, and her bloodline even boosted her Luck stat’s effectiveness by a further 25%, which was rare. Combined with the Twelve Element Stationary Enhancement Formation, a rare formation which spent extra resources on boosting the effectiveness of Luck as well, for the first ten rounds of the elimination tournament it was pretty obvious her Luck was higher than any of her opponents.
The first round was a puzzle competition they solved in two seconds with Omniglot Reader and Aalam’s help. The second round was a dungeon dive where Diana was able to bypass every single challenge just with the use of stealth. And the third challenge was a competition to see who could get out of an illusory maze formation first, a challenge Mila’s Sensory Domain allowed them to complete almost instantly.
It wasn’t until the eighth round they ended up in a stage like the one where Mila and Aalam had fought the elf in the previous instance of the Trial Tower, but, while their opponent in that round managed to kill Nitya and Irena, and even had a plague of his own, albeit much weaker than theirs, Helen the yang spirit made their opponent’s plague completely useless against Diana and Mila’s Law of The Healer greatly slowed down its effects. Their plague, on the other hand, killed the young man before he could even find them.
Then rounds nine and ten were the types of trials where they were competing against their opponent in different instances of a challenge, another puzzle and a test to see who could kill 1,718 powerful F rank monsters the fastest, and it was impossible to know by how much they won. Perhaps with the puzzle the opponent managed to solve it within two seconds, almost beating their one.
When they reached the semifinals, however, their luck ran out and they had to compete in an arena battle.
“A group of four.” The man a hundred meters in front of them was short, only around one and a half meters tall, and he was wearing gaudy purple hide armor of some kind. “So, it seems your leader has an Epic or Legendary grade lord skill.”
The man had orange skin which clashed with the purple of his likely stolen armor and black hair, seeming to be a dwarf of some kind. And he was holding a spear, Diana getting a similar impression from him as she did from Isaiah.
They were in a large perfectly circular stone room with a roughly 250 meter radius and a domed ceiling ranging from 25 to 35 meters high, while only Irena on their team was a close combatant, so Diana didn’t like their odds. If their opponent’s Luck was as high as hers, or likely even higher, all his other stats had to be maximized as well and boosted by at least 200%. In the confined space of the room, if they fought fair, they would lose.
So, they of course didn’t fight fair.
All four of them bit down on the antidote pills they already had in their mouths and Nitya cracked the glass container of plague in her pocket, but the man in front of them didn’t seem to care, just standing there and watching them
“You managed to make it to the Trial Tower’s semifinals, yet I don’t recognize you. Which force do you come from?”
As they had planned for this exact type of situation, Nitya, Irena, and Diana all turned to look at Mila, treating her as their leader to make the opponent think she was the one he’d have to kill to win, or at least to confuse the issue. “Our masters want us to temper ourselves without benefiting from their influence, so I am under orders not to say. You can refer to me as Shadow.” She then pointed to Diana, Irena, and Nitya in turn. “This is my fellow apprentice Summoner and our servants Fist and Wind.”
She smiled at the dwarf. “And who might you be, young sir?”
“Prince Cilarmi Cal of the Stormfire Empire, great grandson of the Windfather and apprentice to Zarina of the Living Flame.” The dwarf lifted his spear and pointed it at Mila. “The plague you’ve released seems resistant to my windfire, so I can’t afford to talk with you any longer.” And with that, the dwarf attacked.
But he’d given them too much time.
Using space element mana and her Telekinesis skill, Mila had reached her mind into the spatial storage ring she was wearing and charged one of the five D rank talismans they’d found in Trial IX with half the D rank mana blocks they’d found in the same trial. So, when the dwarf decided to attack, she took out the talisman and a sphere of force appeared around her and Diana.
Irena and Nitya were both left outside, Nitya dying with one stab as Cilarmi’s wind Element Law Larva appeared to be at peak grade, allowing his movement and attack skills to bypass her wind-based defenses. Irena, on the other hand, with her four high grade Law Larvae of the four elements of water, fire, earth, and wind, managed to defend against the young man’s attacks for three seconds and even landed a punch on his right arm when he stabbed her through the chest, doing a tiny bit of damage.
Diana then summoned Helen and Dioscuri and her two familiars left the protective bubble created by the talisman to start battle with the dwarf.
“Did you recognize any of those names he said?” Diana sent to Mila as they watched her flying horse and twin-headed serpent familiars fight not to win against the dwarf prince but to waste his resources as fast as possible.
“The Windfather is an ancient god who followed a similar path to Nitya. He is one of the weaker gods in the universe, but a god nonetheless. And the Stormfire Empire is an A rank force located in one of the universe’s strongest galaxy clusters. Zarina of the Living Flame, an A rank fire mage, is the second most powerful of the Stormfire Empire’s current five A ranks. So, it seems this Cilarmi has quite the high status in the universe.” Mila smiled at her. “From his fighting style, he seems to be following the Windfire Spearman path of the Stormfire Empire’s founding ancestor, and he appears to have peak grade Law Larvae of both the wind and fire elements.
“For the Trial Tower, though, he seems relatively weak for having made it to the semifinals. Not by much, but it is indicative that this instance of the Trial Tower is likely a tad weaker than normal.”
“He’s still stronger than us.” Diana watched as the dwarf tried his strongest attack against the D rank barrier, not even causing a tremor and taking a hit from Dioscuri for his trouble.
“He’s been training for a lot longer than 7 years.”
“Doesn’t this feel a little unfair? I don’t think I could win if not for this barrier.”
Mila laughed. “He could have also released a plague in trial IX and snuck into the vault of a B rank force. There was nothing stopping him. He also probably wouldn’t have a chance to beat us in any type of trial other than the arena.”
After about four minutes of intense combat, the dwarf died and Diana’s team moved on to the finals.
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