Chapter 349: Limit Surpassing Battlefield
“She’s come out!”
Upon seeing Chris rush out from within the curtain of light, a look of relief emerged atop everyone’s face.
At the same time, the curtain of light which had been obstructing their vision and hearing quickly dissipated, revealing five incapacitated golden metal puppets on the bronze floor within the chamber.
Observing the scene before her, and adding in the golden metal puppet behind her which had been brought out by Moss, Chris asked, “You all were also obstructed by golden metal puppets?”
“Chris, why were you so slow? You must know you were the last to come out,” Stingham preened.
“Is there a difference between coming out fourth and coming out last?” Rinloran sneered, ridiculing Stingham.
“Did you all wait very long?” Chris asked nervously.
“Just several minutes.”
Belo swept his gaze across everyone as he said, “Is this the time for us to be chatting, or should we continue forward?”
“Of course, we continue forward!” Ayrin and Chris shouted simultaneously.
“The members of Holy Dawn Academy’s team have already passed? And all of them succeeded?”
At this time, one of the three-member arcane teams responsible for transmitting information arrived behind Clancy and the others atop the bronze wall. Upon seeing that the six youths of Holy Dawn Academy had all completed the challenge and were starting to continue forward, they were all taken aback.
In response, one of the referees couldn’t help but ask, “How are the other two teams doing?”
“Of Dragon Breath Academy’s six, three have passed, and three are still in battle. Of River Bend Academy’s six, two have passed, three are still in battle, and one has already been disqualified.”
“Holy Dawn Academy’s team was indeed the first to pass! And with all of their members!”
One of the referees sighed, a strange look in their eyes as they said, “Their victory has not yet been determined. Don’t forget about the final challenge!”
“Only one challenge is left?” The referee’s abnormal tone piqued Leonardo’s interest as he couldn’t help but ask, “What exactly is the last challenge?”
“The last challenge within this ruin is known as the ‘Limit Surpassing Battlefield’.”
“Limit Surpassing Battlefield?”
“It seems like we are getting close to the heart of the ruin!”
“We only need to make it through this battlefield.”
Ayrin was moving swiftly as he raised his head and observed what was before him.
It was evident that they were nearing the center of the barracks as the bronze walls which were everywhere slowly disappeared. Before them now were three massive and symmetrical structures reminiscent of their training halls.
From how these three structures were arranged, they seemed to be forming a fortress.
However, a side was empty. The missing fourth building had likely been destroyed during the battle which had caused the downfall of this Corps.
“What kind of enemies will we encounter here?”
Following along the final straight passageway, Ayrin and the others arrived before one of these large structures. Their faces became serious once more.
Standing before them was yet another bronze gate.
Only this time, there was no pillar above the gate, but a single massive word, “Hopeless”.
“If it’s a battlefield, why do they not use battle, but hopeless?” Stingham muttered upon seeing the bleak word. A chill pervaded his body. 
Chris took a deep breath before suggesting, “Perhaps it is because this is the Corps’ last line of defense. Perhaps it is a declaration that since the enemy has reached this place, the Corps’ arcane masters will no longer reserve anything as they have nowhere else to run to. The situation has turned hopeless for them?”
Although it was pure speculation, the aura emanating from the bronze gate and the massive letters before them caused them to feel as if Chris’ guess was extremely reasonable.
“The opponents we encountered last were already abnormal enough, yet this time…” Stingham gulped and stopped speaking. Because he had wanted to say that this upcoming challenge was going to be impossible.
Belo fiercely kicked the bronze gate, causing everyone else’s face to darken.
Disregarding their current situation, Belo had acted impetuously yet again.
The solemn gate slowly opened.
The youths of Holy Dawn Academy, including Belo, all stiffened in shock.
There was no spacious battlefield behind the gate. Instead, they found themselves atop a bronze wall. All there was atop the wall was the entrance to a single circular chute!
Ayrin, Stingham, and Rinloran simultaneously thought of the underground passageway which Lotton had brought them through on their way to the Land of the Undead.
“What is this…” Moss wondered as he peered through the entrance of the chute. “Like this, any invaders would either have to completely destroy this structure or go through this chute. Can you imagine going through this chute? Being attacked by countless people without being able to respond. Isn’t this really putting oneself into a hopeless situation?”
“The Corps’ own members probably didn’t use this chute. There is likely a secret passageway or some other construct for them to enter and exit.” Ayrin swallowed audibly as he said, “Perhaps this is why the other district was destroyed so thoroughly?”
“Stingham,” Rinloran abruptly shouted.
“I understand,” Stingham replied frustratedly as tears began to well within his eyes. Closing his eyes, he jumped into the chute.
Rinloran jumped as he shouted, “What are you doing Stingham? I was going to say that if you wanted to, you can stay here and look after Moss and observe the situation. After all, only three of us have to pass for it to be considered our victory.”
“Why didn’t you say so! How was I supposed to know?! I hate you!” Stingham’s wails rang out from within the chute.
“Haha, this…” Ayrin laughed and scratched his head.
“Having arrived here, and as a member of the team, I will not stop here, even if I am injured,” Moss said as he looked at Rinloran.
“You are a true brave warrior. Even if you fall, you must fall on the battlefield!” Ayrin exclaimed as he waved his fist towards Moss in a encouraging manner.
“Hmph!” Belo snorted as he entered the chute.
Chris, being more focused and cautious, walked to the entrance of the chute and shouted into it, “Stingham, have you reached the bottom yet? What’s down there?”
But the only response was the sound of wind being displaced as Belo shot down the chute.
“Neither of those fellows are very reliable. So I’m going to head down first. Chris, wait a little bit and then shout again,” Rinloran said before also jumping into the chute.
A good half a minute later, Chris shouted into the chute once more.
But this time, the only response was complete silence.
“Perhaps sound cannot be transmitted up from below. Only by going down will we know what is occurring, so I’m also going to head down now. Chris and Moss, follow behind me.”
Ayrin took a deep breath, his eyes filling with fighting intent once more. Afterwards, he stepped into the chute.
Upon entering the chute, Ayrin immediately felt a suction force pulling him down the chute much faster than he had expected.
Furthermore, the chute was not as long as he had expected. After several seconds, light assaulted his eyes once more as he fell into a spacious and empty chamber.
As his eyes adjusted to the light, his pupils abruptly shrank.
He was surrounded by a curtain of thick black light, forming a circular area of about sixty to seventy meters in diameter around him.
The ground was littered with various metal and crystal fragments, fragments which appeared to be broken parts from various clockwork puppets!
It was basically a graveyard of metal clockwork puppets!
Based on the many kinds of fragments, it was evident that this Corps had created and used many different and complicated kinds of puppets. It was definitely not limited to the ones which they had encountered.
Shooting up like bamboo shoots between all these fragments were many black crystals.
These crystals looked somewhat feeble and gave him a feeling of softness. They were extremely opaque and reflective. Ayrin could see his figure reflected in every surface.
A strange feeling emerged in Ayrin’s heart.
Stingham, Belo, and Rinloran were all nowhere to be seen.
He raised his head and looked at the curtain of black light around and above his head.
There wasn’t a single hole.
Could the chute have sent each of them to a different place?
But then where was the exit?
Ayrin pondered silently.
Indeed, there was no obvious exit!
Ayrin moved towards the curtain of black light. He wanted to try touching it.
But at this moment, a strange and tempestuous arcane energy fluctuation surged around him!
“What is the meaning of this?”
Ayrin’s eyes widened as the strange black crystals begin to melt like heated oil around him.
The arcane energy fluctuations filling the space were being released by these melting crystals!
The black crystals melted and formed small fluid droplets which flew across the metal and crystal fragments at an astonishing speed.
A black figure gradually took form before Ayrin!