Chapter 340: A Grand History, A Mighty Corps
“You are saying that we have arrived at the ruins?”
“Are you guys joking with us?”
“Are the ruins actually buried under all that mud and silt?”
Ayrin, Stingham and the others were full of doubt as they looked at black uniform wearing referees before them.
Upon arriving at the designated area, what greeted them were not lofty and magnificent barracks, but patch after patch of marsh littered with stunted shrubs.
“This is a Distorted Light Barrier?” Liszt quietly muttered as he rubbed his chin. His expression slowly turned serious.
“Distorted Light barrier?”
A fierce fighting intent emerged in Rinloran’s eyes as he heard Liszt’s words.
He had once read about them in an ancient text.
The Distorted Light Barrier was defensive barrier during the Era of the War with Dragons. As the name implied, these barriers utilized light to conceal things within. In general, these barriers were only set up by powerful and large corps ranked at the dragon slaughtering level.
To be a dragon slaughtering level corps meant that there were at least two arcane teams within the corps which were capable of killing dragons!
Naturally, there would be shocking defences and traps within, ones which perhaps would be even more powerful than them!
“Look over there. It’s actually an even higher level barrier. It’s a Mirroring Refraction Barrier!” Carter exclaimed as he nodded his head in a direction.
Ayrin’s eyes widened as he looked in the direction Carter nodded and saw a frog hidden amongst some grass.
“It is indeed a Mirroring Refraction Barrier,” Liszt nodded in agreement. Afterwards, he turned and looked inquiringly towards the nearby referees.
“You are correct mister Liszt. This is a Mirroring Refraction Barrier,” a referee wearing a yellow crystal helm amplification artifact answered.
“Teacher Liszt and Carter, what is a Mirroring Refraction Barrier?” Ayrin asked foggily.
“It is a kind of defensive barrier which is able to form selected images and scenery. The illusions created by Mirroring Refraction Barriers are much more realistic and difficult to see through than those created by Distorted Light Barriers as the former is mimicking something which is actually occurring elsewhere whereas the latter is creating its own image.”
“It’s a skill for concealment?” Ayrin’s eyes widened as he asked, “So Teacher Liszt, what you are saying is that the ground before us is not actually patches of marsh, it is just an illusion to prevent us from seeing what is within?”
Liszt nodded as he replied, “Correct. If we take several more steps forward, we should be able to enter the barrier and see the true form of the barrack ruins.” He continued, “Naturally, this barrier only works in one direction. This allowed for guards inside to see of enemies outside long before they reached and discovered the location of the barracks. In the past, we might have already been attacked by this point.”
“We can just walk into it?” Ayrin’s eyes narrowed as he observed his surroundings even more closely, yet to his complete shock, he still couldn’t see or sense any of the barrier’s arcane energy fluctuation.
At this moment, two shrill whistles rang out in succession in the distance.
Upon hearing the whistles, the referee wearing the yellow crystal helmet immediately said, “The Dragon Breath and River Bend teams have also arrived, so let us make our way in and begin the competition.”
“It’s about to start?!”
“We must win!”
Ayrin and the others were full of fighting intent as they closely followed the referees into the marshes before them.
After several steps, they all abruptly felt as if they had plunged through a thin veil of water.
They all froze as their eyes were assaulted by a wave of bronze!
“What a massive barracks!”
For the time being, everyone was too shocked to speak.
Several meters before them was a majestic arched bronze-colored gateway over thirty meters tall. It towered over them like a small mountain.
Twenty meter tall walls extended from both sides of the arched gateway as far as they could see.
A sinister aura emanated from the metal from which the bronze walls and gateway were made from.
Behind the arched gateway were countless densely clustered temple-like buildings. Above many were totems covered in flames, blazing suns, and metal masks.
A sensation of majesty and wonder continuously washed over them.
“So much metal… just how much manpower and how many mines were needed?”
“It’s only a Corps’ barracks. Why is it so extravagant?”
Stingham’s mouth gaped open as he made sounds like a madman.
“Idiot. During the Era of the War with Dragons, just a single hill giant was enough to completely flatten a massive mountain. This is nothing,” Rinloran rebutted.
Although Rinloran’s words were extremely true, this ruin was still incomparably magnificent compared to anything they could see today. After all, the dwarves’ underground world, the mountain kingdom of the hill giants, and the dragons’ palace of treasure were now nothing but legends.
“As of this point, the competition has already formally begin, so please listen carefully to what I am about to say. Otherwise, you will only be wasting your own precious time.”
The yellow crystal helmet wearing referee was extremely serious as he said, “The barracks which you have entered belonged to the Devil Corps, one of the strongest clockwork corps during the Era of the War with Dragons. The barracks are completely surrounded by walls which form a perfect circle, within which there are four gates. These gates precisely face each of the cardinal directions.”
“The defences within the barracks are completely symmetrical, so regardless of which entrance one enters from, they will experience the same things.”
“As of right now, the Northern district is completely ruined. It was probably destroyed by the invading enemy who eradicated this clockwork corps during the war.”
“As for the other three districts, they have barely been touched. The only difference between now and the past is that there are arcane teams or clockwork warriors guarding them. Still, the place is full of dangers. Remember, these defenses were designed to have the ability to kill five gate arcane masters. Furthermore, in order to guarantee that all three teams do not enter the final destination and also to provide you battling experience against unique opponents and strategies, the Office of Special Affairs has done its utmost to repair many of the clockwork warriors which have been scattered throughout the district. It will not be easy, and the level of danger is extremely high. Therefore, we are providing the option for you to choose to forfeit if you feel like you are lacking the ability to proceed with confidence.”
“As for rules. Teams are confined to their own assigned districts. The first team to arrive at the designated area in the center will obtain the Heart of Fury. Furthermore, because this competition is to test the strength of the entire team, at least three members of the team must arrive at the designated area to be considered winners. Remember, only together can you succeed. You must move as a team. A single person quickly rushing through everything will be considered as a disqualification for not following the rules.”
“Also, to allow each member to experience more tempering, as well as per the requests of your Holy Dawn Academy, which have been agreed to by the other two academies, all of the teams will consist of all six members. Furthermore, while all six members will travel and explore together, the combat levels will be individual. All members must complete the fight before the team is allowed to continue moving forward. If a member is injured and unable to continue, they will be withdrawn from the competition and treated by a nearby medicinal squad. However, as I mentioned before, you cannot have more than three people withdraw. Otherwise, the team will be automatically disqualified.”
After reading through the rules and making several suggestions all in one breath, the referee looked at Ayrin and the others and asked, “Do you all understand? Are there any questions?”
“What did you mean by individual combat levels? Will there be some sort of construct which will isolate all of us?” Ayrin immediately asked.
“Some areas will only let one person enter at a time. Other areas will isolate you upon entrance using arcane energy. Either way, once you enter, there will only be you and your opponent. You will only be able to see your teammates again after you pass. If they are still in battle, you will be able to watch their battles,” the referee quickly replied.
“I understand.” Ayrin nodded.
“If there are no more questions, then you all should immediately depart and enter the gateway before you. Ah, but before you enter, you must hand over all of the artifacts on you. We need to do a final check.” The referee continued, “The rules are still the same as before, you are not allowed to use any amplification artifacts.”
“… This means… we cannot bring the Treasured Book of Sealing… or even the faerie dragon… All of the good stuff that Ayrin is carrying cannot be brought in,” Stingham muttered in frustration. But in the next moment, he suddenly had a thought as he circulated arcane energy and caused Lover’s Corpse to appear over his body. His eyes brightened as he looked towards the referees and excitedly asked, “This is also an artifact, can you guys take this off of me?”
“We already know about your situation. It is rather unique. But because Lover’s Corpse cannot be removed from your body, and because of its special ability, we have decided to consider it as your Materialization. However, because of this, the Office of Special Affairs has slightly increased your difficulty to ensure that you all are all on the same line,” the referee replied without any hesitation.
“You guys also cannot take it off?” Stingham became extremely frustrated as he said, “And I had thought you could…”
Black lines emerged across everyone’s faces as Rinloran scathingly said, “Idiot. You actually had an idea like this! We are about to face danger, yet you actually wanted to get rid of your armor!”
“I still have another question,” Stingham abruptly spoke once more.
“What is it?”
“This ruin is so close to River Bend Academy, so I just wanted to ask and make sure… You guys wouldn’t have any bias towards River Bend Academy and secretly increased the level of difficulty faced by us and Dragon Breath Academy, right?”
“Idiot, stop wasting our time!”
Rinloran couldn’t hold back any longer as he kicked Stingham in the ass and sent him careening through the bronze metal gateway.