The gloomy room was small and cramped with unorderly-placed black boxes. The illumination was no longer a problem as the participants were using their techniques, showering the air and ground with colorful lights.
In the first minute, two Mermaids were knocked down and disqualified. The Trippy Pumpkin was rapidly rolling on the ground or circling in the air, their speed was too fast to follow. They let out unpleasant cackling, their eyes-sockets releasing a sinister glow.
The MoonStar team targeted a motionless pumpkin at the far back of the room, sitting on a medium-sized black box. Bora shot an arrow at it but before it was able to hit, the Trippy Pumpkin sprung into motion, flying straight at him.
Pink ice surged from the ground, trying to freeze the flying pumpkin but it slowed down before shattering into pieces. Ho Qing was about to use his Phoenix Fire but was suddenly attacked from the side.
John, from the Ancient Federation, appeared next to Ho Qing and punched. Before his fist could land, however, Ardor appeared, thrusting his sword at the black-haired youth. The sword released a milky-white twirling Sword Essence as it clashed with John’s fist. The two participants were pushed to the back.
“What are you doing?” Solemnly said Ardor, his eyes fixated on John.
“I want to fight Ho Qing. Do not b.u.t.t in.” Calmly and truthfully answered John, displaying a friendly smile.
“We’re in the midst of a trial! Back off!”
Bora too, wasn’t pleased with John’s ambush. The tanned Bora was jumping from one spot to the other, trying to avoid the crazily flying Trippy Pumpkin, which was relentlessly pursuing him.
“Language, Cristina.” Interrupted Lucy, giving the infuriated girl a chilling glare.
Though still furious, the girl snorted and swallowed back the curse words she was about to say. She was cheering for her friends, of course, and certainly didn’t like how John attacked out of the blue.
Arthur shifted his gaze to a tall and slim man wearing a jet black robe. He was standing alone, his hands behind his back and seemingly enjoying the show. This man was John’s guardian, Paul of Irfondor, the Head of Combat division in the Ancient Federation. Paul had long greasy brown hair and, at first glance, didn’t look like a kind person.
When he was looked at by the Parasite, he turned his head and gave a friendly wave without forgetting to display a soft smile that didn’t suit him at all.
’It seems that hoping to cooperate with the federation is no longer feasible.’
Lucy spoke to Arthur using the Telepathy skill. She glanced at Paul for a split second before directing her attention back to the large screen.
’We’ll see about that. They’re interested in Ho Qing.’
’We’re giving them no one.’-Lucy
She angrily snorted, making Isadore twitch and look at her with confusion. He thought he unconsciously said something inappropriate thus annoying Arthur’s wife. For the next ten minutes, he kept throwing cursory looks at her but, fortunately, she didn’t say anything.
Back in the Fifth Trial stage, things became more heated. All the teams started acting and fights broke out. You couldn’t even see who’s attacking who, or what’s really happening. The place was blinded by bright spells and techniques, whether it’s Ho Qing’s scorching flames, the Elves’ Nature Magic which filled the place with thick roots and large leaves, or the Golden-white Light unleashed by the duo from the Holy Church Team.
John seemed to have forgotten about the trial, he was in full pursuit of Ho Qing, repeatedly shouting at him, demanding they fight. Unfortunately, the place and time he had chosen were- quite literally- the worst. The room was too small and the explosions continuously happening did not break the walls, nor the roof and the ground. The black boxes were unbreakable and the Trippy Pumpkins were ferociously attacking everyone.
In just ten minutes, three more Participants were disqualified. When Gutcha appeared, one of the flying Pumpkin shot at him but was easily stopped his b.a.r.e hands, which was enveloped by sinister darkness. The Pigolo tutted and nonchalantly threw it against to the side, causing it to release a deafening shriek.
Rosea somersaulted, leaving a trail of rising pink ice behind her, which was able to block dozens of thick vines coming at her. Just as she landed on the ground, one of the Imoogi youngsters appeared behind her and spun around, kicking her in the side of the abdomen. Rosea let out a groan as she smashed in the wall, her robe becoming colored with blood-red. The attacking Imoogi wasn’t that better either as he was struck by an arrow in the c.h.e.s.t then engulfed in phoenix flames. He howled loudly and before he could be injured any further, Gutcha appeared again and brought him outside.
The Imoogis weren’t happy with this but they didn’t continue attacking the MoonStar team. Eirz, the Imoogi youngster- miraculously- was able to catch a Trippy Pumpkin that passed right before him. He hugged, thus getting dragged around along with it, his body crashing into the ground. After a few seconds, the pumpkin calmed down and laid still in his arms.
The host resurfaced again, snapping his fingers, which made what remained of the Imoogi Team to vanish.
Seven Teams remained, but only five Trippy Pumpkins were still flying and rolling around. Rosea and Bora were injured, though they weren’t the only ones.
Twenty minutes in, John grew tired of pointlessly chasing after Ho Qing. He shot at one of the Pumpkins, taking out a glistening silver chain from his Storage Ring. The boy made it looks effortless as he swung the chains, easily wrapping them around the Pumpkin. He tugged the chain and pulled, quickly grasping the rocketing Pumpkin in his hand. Soon enough, he too, was teleported outside of the room, officially becoming the second “winner” of the Fifth Trial.
“That one is ours!” Yelled Cosima, one of the two girls of the Demon Team.
She was madly chasing after a Trippy Pumpkin, a dark purple aura was swirling around her body, dramatically boosting her speed.
She was forced to stop as a rain of arrows descended upon her. Cosima retreated to the back and glowered at Bora, who was panting heavily.
After he made sure the demon girl was out of the way, he took out a golden net from his ring and, with some effort, threw it in the air. He managed to predict where the Trippy Pumpkin will fly off to and successfully entrap it.
Even while it was trapped by the golden net, the pumpkin thrashed around. Were it not for Rosea and Ardor, who assisted Bora, it would have escaped. The pumpkin was first frozen in a large pink cube of ice then it was enveloped by Ardor’s milky-white sword essence.
Ho Qing, however, was a distance away, busy dealing with the other Demon girl. She was Cosima’s senior and considerably stronger than her, nonetheless, she was incapable of defeating the stoic red-haired youth. His Phoenix Flames were endless, covering a third of the room and pushing her farther and farther from her target.
Eventually, Bora and Rosea were able to catch the Pumpkin. Bora was ecstatic whereas Rosea was too tired to celebrate. She was impatiently waiting for Gutcha to appear and take them away, which he certainly did, a few seconds later.
Isadore happily clapped his hand and laughed. Even though they were lacking two members, the MoonStar team was able to complete the trial, becoming the third team to catch the Trippy Pumpkin. However, their departure made the other teams more restless and aggressive. They no longer hold themselves back, they started using their trump cards and going all-out, hoping to catch that damned creepy-looking pumpkin.
“Excuse me for a moment, your Majesty.”
Arthur stood up and left, first teleporting to where his team was to praise then appearing close to Paul of Irfondor.
The Head of the Combat Division, Paul, wasn’t surprised to see the parasite. He was busy talking to John, patting his shoulder and congratulating him.
“Mister Arthur MoonStar, it’s a p.l.e.a.s.u.r.e to formally make your acquaintance. I am Paul of Irfondor, Head of the Combat Division of the Ancient Federation.”
“Arthur MoonStar.” Bluntly said Arthur, neither offering his hand nor using polite speech.
“About what happened with John. On his behalf, I apologize. He’s still too young… you see.”
“Sir, I apologize.”
Both Paul and John apologetically bowed, though the latter didn’t look the least bit sorry. He still had the same expression, seemingly not afraid of anyone or bothered by his provocative actions, both after the Fourth Trial or in the Fifth Trial.