Chapter 48: Heavenly Secrets
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Chapter 48: Heavenly Secrets

“I have fifteen Heavenly Whispers. Confirming the path shouldn’t take too many,” Ain thought. Closing his eyes, he turned his mind to Wisdom Root, using his will to stimulate Wisdom Root’s Heavenly Secrets ability.

What is the correct path here?

Just as Heavenly Secrets activated, a faint rippling shockwave reverberated across the world. Deafening shouts intermixed with cryptic whispers manifested inside his head. Unlike his previous failed attempt, Ain realized that this phenomenon was limited to the confines of his consciousness. A tiny portion of his aether served as fuel. His body, mind, and soul were drowned in a soothing chaos. Within this contradiction, he intuitively knew that only one Heavenly Whisper was consumed.

Like a cerebral injection, a stream of information infused into his mind. It was a revelation, an answer to his inquiry. Before elation at the successful use of Heavenly Secrets arose, Ain’s eyes widened in surprise. For a second, he stared at the empty white void to his left. Then, without hesitation, he walked off the edge! Unexpectedly, there really was a hidden path there! This path only existed if one committed to their judgment and walked off confidently. This final part of the passage was meant to test Ain’s trust in his own intelligence! And he’d undoubtedly failed!

If not for Heavenly Secrets, Ain’s test progress would’ve stopped here. Due to urgency, he continued moving without pause. However, a parallel line of thought spawned to reflect on himself. Confidence and trust required a foundation to be built upon. The greatest foundation in his case was personal ability. It could be strength, intelligence, wealth, or anything that empowered him. In the face of unparalleled ability, doubts would dissipate like the wicked darkness under the brilliant sun. With Wisdom Root, Ain possessed the tools to construct a robust foundation. Only, he lacked experience. His foundation hadn’t weathered the test of wind and rain yet. He hadn’t fully explored his limits yet. “Only by proving my abilities to myself over and over again will I gain confidence,” he realized.

Determination spawned within his eyes. Time. All he needed was more time. Time would resolve everything.

Stashing these thoughts away, Ain rapidly ascended the white maze. He overcame three more obstacles before reaching a square platform with another white slab. Oddly, there was only a single stairway ahead from this platform. Realizing the strangeness, he quickly glanced at the white slab. A single word was inscribed on it – Repeat. Together with the single stairway, Ain instantly realized his task. “I need to repeat the route I’ve taken to get here.”

Observing the upcoming sections of the maze, he determined that, once again, every path continued beyond his vision. Numerous intersections were still present throughout, but every alternative path was unending. He couldn’t discern a path using the now nonexistent dead ends. This task was solely reliant on memory. Of course, with Wisdom Root, Ain was in no trouble. His memory was perfect.

Keenly realizing his advantages, he smiled wholeheartedly while zooming through the maze. He climbed up and down stairways, sprinted across straight bridges, and teleported through portals. When the timer approached fifty minutes, he’d finally replicated his previous path. He arrived at a new square platform at great heights. There were only two unblocked paths, devoid of any dead ends, connected to this platform. Glancing around, Ain discovered two dummies floating in the center.

“Clothes?” He said strangely. The two dummies wore luxurious outfits each. They appeared to be battle robes with different designs. One primarily supported the elegance of green while the other embodied a golden greatness. Each outfit corresponded to one of the paths. His task was to determine which outfit was better. “What does this have to do with intelligence? The answer is completely subjective,” Ain stated, bewildered by this strange problem. “Does it have a weird gimmick like before?” He thought while investigating the vicinity. There was nothing suspicious.

In regard to the outfits, frankly, neither was to his taste. The color contrast in them was lacking. Especially the whites and blacks. They could definitely use more. Thinking this far, Ain discovered his derailing thoughts. He quickly reeled them in. No matter how he racked his brain, he didn’t have a single inkling about the answer. Ultimately, he had only one easy solution. “I’ll use Heavenly Secrets again.”

Tasting the sweetness once, Ain’s thoughts immediately shifted to Heavenly Secrets. Rather than wasting time or making the wrong choice, he decided to invest another Heavenly Whisper into this test. “If I obtain first place in this test, I’ll receive ten Heavenly Whispers from the quest. It’s not a loss,” he thought. Closing his eyes, he once again activated Heavenly Secrets. The thundering roars, escorting the hushed whispers, resounded in his mind once again. Another Heavenly Whisper was consumed. As a stream of information surfaced, his eyes twitched at the answer. “Both paths are correct. There’s no right or wrong answer…”

This question tested his intellectual flexibility and courage. With only a single correct path so far in the test, would he entertain the possibility of two correct choices? In fact, he did. But once again, he didn’t trust himself. Furthermore, he couldn’t just dismiss the possibility of bias in this question. What if whoever designed this question had a certain preference?

This Intelligence Test unexpectedly revealed Ain’s numerous shortcomings. Making a mental note with bold letters, Ain ignored the outfits and rushed onto one of the paths.

Just like that, he continued navigating the maze until the white world suddenly flickered. One moment, he was rushing upside down on some stairs, and the next, he was surrounded by darkness, standing on nothing. It took him an instant to adapt. “The test ended?” He realized.

Indeed. One hour had elapsed and the test finally concluded.

“What’s my score?” Ain wondered curiously. At this moment, golden words suddenly carved out the darkness as an androgynous voice reached his ears. “Congratulations, Ain Weisman! You’ve passed the Intelligence Test!”

Hearing this, a small smile graced his face. He’d passed Arcane Heart University’s first recruitment test. He waited for a follow-up from the voice, but nothing succeeded the congratulations. The golden words in darkness were also a commendation followed by his score. “8,325 meters…”

Just as he noted the score, his vision suddenly blurred. True darkness consumed his consciousness. Inside the Cyberspace Simulation Interface, Ain opened his eyes. “I’m back,” he thought. Before he could think further, a notification arrived from Wisdom Root.

[Quest: Supreme Intelligence (Completed)]

[Description: Obtain first place in the Intelligence Test.]

[Reward: Heavenly Whispers x10]

“First place!” He exclaimed internally. He’d really obtained first place. Reveling in the joy silently, he looked out the silver pod’s glass window. The lighting in the auditorium was still dim. The timer on the window displayed four minutes remaining. That was the true conclusion of the first test.

Ain reviewed the Intelligence Test while waiting. Soon, the timer reached zero. The auditorium brightened as shuffling sounds of opening pods echoed. Following suit, he also exited the pod, wiping away the smile on his face. As more participants left their pods, the originally silent auditorium grew noisy.

“Damn it! The Alchemist Test is impossible! How do you expect me to concoct elixirs so fast!?”

“Sigh, this was already my second attempt…”

“I was so close. I’ll train hard and definitely pass next year!”

“Don’t count on it. The test will be even harder during your second attempt.”

“Sob…sob…”

Ain glanced around quietly, listening to the bitter and disgruntled voices. As per the statistics on Cyberspace, the first test eliminated a vast majority of the participants. A sorrowful clamor filled the air. The proctor on stage, Mr. Brighton, said loudly, “Congratulations to the ones who passed! The top scores for each test will be displayed on the screen! The second test will begin soon so remain seated! Those who failed can exit the auditorium quietly!”

With an intangible authority, Mr. Brighton’s announcement easily suppressed the commotion. The failed participants unwillingly left the auditorium. Tears painted several faces amidst the exiting participants. Arcane Heart University, one of the greatest educational institutions in Dawnstar, represented unique opportunities, an elevated status, and immense power. Watching them slip through their hands was heartbreaking. In fact, most of the failed participants were greatly talented. It was the university’s bar that was just too high!

Ain silently sighed to himself at this sight. What would his reaction have been if he had failed? With his state of mind before awakening as a spirit master, he’d only feel a tinge of fleeting bitterness, nothing more. This bitterness couldn’t triumph over his life that was already so disconsolate and gloomy. However, now, he couldn’t be sure. Would he feel sad? Would tears accompany his sorrow? He wasn’t one to cry easily, though. Shaking his head, Ain disregarded these useless thoughts. He’d passed, and that’s all that mattered for now. Brushing away some loose hair, his attention turned to the top scores.

“Intelligence Test… first place… Ain Weisman.” He smiled faintly. The on-stage screen displayed the top ten for each of the six test categories. His name was listed first in the Intelligence Test. Glancing down, second place was Stephannie Strauss. He wanted to know the score difference but unfortunately, the scores weren’t listed. He glanced through the other five tests as well, memorizing all the names. The first place in the Combat Test was Frans Vaughan. Interestingly, the top ten for the Spirit Cultivator Test was mostly empty. “Only two participants passed the Spirit Cultivator Test…” He murmured.

Once the exiting traffic settled, the participants with enrollment tokens entered the bright auditorium.

The use of Heavenly Secrets wasn't anything substantial. I wonder when it'll be used next...

Anyways, leave your thoughts in the comments!

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