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   Chapter 23 Lion King Castle

The Legend of Innate Mage By Odom Characters: 8245

Updated: 2019-07-10 00:14


Life was as fragile as glass if it were to be handled by the disciples from the three major factions.

Ricky had knowingly prepared for a life full of danger, yet he knew that if he fell at the mercy of core disciples or Elders, his life would quickly collapse into peril.

Fortunately, they couldn't dare act rashly inside the fields of the Snow Sect.

"The Outer Competition is about to begin," mumbled Ricky, lost in his thoughts. "It'll be inevitable to go out and train if I were to hope for progress. The only problem is, I'd be facing ambushes by large groups of disciples of Blood Purification," he sighed. There was no use in pondering over the outcomes of his possible demise.

The only thing he could do now was to dedicate all his time to improving his strength.

The following day, Grace came back and gave him a token. He appraised its blood-red color and the engraved lion's head on its surface with curiosity and slight bafflement in his gaze.

"Master, what's this?" Ricky asked.

"The token of Iron Blood Trial in Lion King Castle!" she exclaimed in enthusiasm. "That's where I'm going to take you."

He grew more confused and sheepish at his lack of knowledge. "That castle… Master, I'm afraid I haven't heard of it."

"Let's talk as we walk along."

Grace summoned a Snow Vulture as their ride, and left the Snow Sect together.

On the way, she briefed Ricky on the origins of the Lion King Castle and the Iron Blood Trial.

A demi-immortal had built the castle in the far north of the Snow Sect hundreds of years ago.

It had saved an innate spiritual animal; a holy lion with the blood of the heavens, comparable to the intrinsic spirit of human beings.

To repay this act of kindness, the lion set up the Sacred Blood Pond in the Lion King Castle.

He swore an oath; a promise to be fulfilled every fifty years, where the lion grants three drops of blood essence to fuse with the pool and condense it to three pieces of Sacred Blood Crystal. Later on, it was proven that it helped warriors to enter the Innate Spiritual Realm.

It turned into a hugely coveted item, and so to qualify one's entry to the Sacred Blood Pond, one must complete the Iron Blood Trial of the Lion King Castle and secure one of the three top spots in the test.

However, with this year's trial marking the end of the spiritual lion's promise, the chances of surpassing the numerous participating applicants may prove to be slim.

"Lion King Castle… Sacred Blood Crystal!"

Ricky paid no heed to the downside of Grace's narrative. He was excited; his focus solely settled on the image of him acquiring the desired crystal.

The benefits were crucial for his current state, and he would do his absolute best to receive it.

"You must understand; rare goods attract the greed of many, especially the ones who nurture it. The biggest predators will be there, so we only have ten plausible places to join in for the Iron Blood Trial that will still be within the protection of our Snow Sect," Grace continued gravely. Seeing her expression, Ricky felt the firmness of his resolve and gratefulness for his master swell in his chest.

"Thank you, Master!"

He knew he was indebted to her, aware of how much time she must have spent to grant him the opportunity to enter the exam.

He finally understood why she seemed so busy these days, given the countless interested outer disciples in Snow Sect alone.

"If you want to thank me, complete the trial first and take one of those Sacred Blood Crystals!" she said, glancing at Ricky's determined expression.

"Master, don't worry. I'll definitely come back carrying one!" He swore, his eyes reflecting his grit.

"Don't be too arrogant, there'll be warriors who've reached the eighth or ninth grade of Skin Refinement. It'll do you good in keeping that in mind."

Upon hearing his master's counter, Ricky deflated.

He was sensible enough to realize that those were warriors his present self could not yet defeat. Still, he was better off trying.

"Seems like the Iron Blood Trial will be harder than expected."

He gritt

ed his teeth as anxiety began to gnaw at his heart.

...

Despite traveling by way of flight, it took half a day for Ricky and Grace to arrive at their designated area.

They chose to descend in a dense forest, figuring that their ride would've caused a commotion if they were to appear in public. After all, it was common knowledge that only core disciples from Snow Sect had Snow Vultures of Bone Reinforcement as their rides.

Ricky looked around in wonder, his mind replaying back to the origin story he had been informed of earlier.

Lion King Castle's name was derived from its location in front of the Lion King Mountains, and was famous for its roaming beasts and the story of the rescued lion serving as the meaning behind the famous title.

Regarded as a middle and upper class force in the Snow Sect, the estate was mostly visited by a few warriors who sought to hunt rogue animals within the region.

But now, one would have never considered thinking the place as tranquil after being greeted with the bustling energy of thousands of men. An unsurprising sight, as the day of the Iron Blood Trial and the opening of the Sacred Blood Pond drew nearer by each passing hour.

Ricky and Grace paid two silver coins as an entrance fee to the castle.

"In Stone City, we only pay ten copper coins for entrance and exit. Their income must be around tens of thousands of silver coins here, given the enormous gap in price," he mused in amazement.

"That's not a big deal. There are even cities that demand gold coins." Grace cast a sidelong glance at him and playfully smirked, "It's sad, really, that your current status isn't even worth half a gold coin." He groaned in sorrow, "I can't even disagree with you, Master." She said nothing but simply patted him pityingly at the back. Sighing dejectedly, he mumbled, "I guess I have to make it a goal to earn money from now on. Otherwise, I won't be able to enter cities in the future." The two started looking for a place to stay in, and settled down as soon as they found vacant rooms in a nearby inn.

All that was left to wait for was the day of the Iron Blood Trial.

Ricky spent no time in sitting still. He prepared tediously for the day of battle, wasting no breath for breaks as he trained relentlessly.

But, what made Ricky a little nervous was that he had to pay for the cost of these days, which was almost 1, 000 silver coins.

As he honed his skills, Grace's reminder for him replayed in his mind. Connie and the people from Casting Faction were attending the Trial, and if he didn't watch his back, he might end up in big trouble.

Three days passed, and the atmosphere within the castle oozed with rising levels of competitiveness and the clashing wills of all competing warriors.

The awaited tournament had come.

The people in charge of the Lion King castle stood on an elevated stage, calmly looking over the massive crowd with his piercing gaze. The one in the front was a middle-aged man of rough stature, sporting a beard and thick brown hair akin to a lion's mane.

His aura was domineering, his silence exerting intimidation and disquiet to whoever may dare try belittling him. He was without a doubt, a man who had reached the power of Bone Reinforcement--the owner of the Lion King Castle-Benson.

At the same time, the attention caught by the appearance of his benevolence quickly shifted to the approach of a foreboding presence coming from the sky.

The horde trembled in fear as they all simultaneously felt the energy of an evil spirit advancing towards them at high speed.

It stopped abruptly after gaining enough distance from the warriors and manifested in the shape of a cloud bathed in ominous dark red light. The emergence of the subject made even Grace show dread in her eyes.

Its form shifted; shaping to an image of a lion before it adapted the structure of a man in Blood Robe.

They were all entranced with the foreign entity's air of despotism, leaving the whole castle in muted terror.

Right in front of them, lay the undisguised strength of an overpowered spirit.

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