All those within the Trial of Pain stared at John's figure in disbelief. He disappeared from their view as soon as he touched the pedestal in the middle, along with the boy he was forcefully dragging behind him.
Many wanted to comment on what had just happened, but the pain they were feeling within the trial made them unable to do so. Just enduring was already pushing them to their limits.
Russell's eyes lit up slightly as he witnessed John's performance, clearly impressed with such a display. A dark expression appeared on Mason's face, but he said nothing and continued to slowly more forward within the trial. The trial continued for the next few hours, and more youths were failing by the minute.
As soon as his hand touched the pedestal in the middle of the trial, John felt his body be pulled into a spatial channel and spit out almost immediately after. The pedestal itself was a transportation formation, and transported all those who passed to the starting area of the next trial.
John took a second to get his bearings after being transported. He looked around, and found himself standing in an empty field. A single Elder sat there in silence with his eyes closed, and the power fluctuating off him was far greater than Elder Ragur's.
The Elder's eyes opened slightly in surprise as he noticed John's arrival.
"You're here quite early, and you seem to be quite alright after the Trial of Pain. Interesting."
John had arrived much earlier than the Elder had expected, and also showed no signs of fatigue or lingering pain from the trial, and instead appeared completely at ease. The Elders' eyes trailed downward and stared at the unconscious boy that was in John's grip.
"What happened here?" The Elder asked curiously.
John looked down at Adam and noticed he was still unconscious. Drool was leaking out of his mouth, making him appear quite stupid.
"He was too scared to join the Trial of Pain, so I gave him a little help," John responded, causing the Elder to raise his eyebrows.
"You dragged him through the entire trial? Interesting" The Elder stated, before closing his eyes and ignoring John once more.
John looked around and found nothing else in the field except the Elder himself.
'I guess I'm supposed to wait here until the next trial starts. Might as well cultivate.'
John set Adam aside before sitting down in a meditative position. His mind linked with his palace realm, allowing him to fall into a meditative trance almost immediately.
The Elder noticed this and slowly opened his eyes once more to stare at John. He inspected John closely for some time and a smile appeared on his face. ...
John sat there in silence and focused on his cultivation. Currently, he was studying the Divine Reaping Scythe, and trying to comprehend the second stage depicted on the page. His scythe comprehension was high enough to unleash the first attack, but John found that he was still lacking by quite a bit when it came to unleashing the second attack.
'This will take quite some time before I'm able to fully comprehend the second stage. And even if I do, I'm sure the Qi requirement will be much greater than the first attack. I might have to be in the Core Formation stage to unleash the second attack.'
John wasn't depressed by this, and was instead quite pleased. The higher the requirements to unleash the attack, the stronger it would be. It was currently his strongest attack, and so John wanted it to be as powerful as possible.
Some time later, a moaning sounded out behind John, and Adam slowly regained his consciousness. He looked around groggily for several seconds before his eyes landed on John's back. His face darkened as he hurriedly stood up and dashed straight towards John.
"You bastard, what the hell was that for?" Adam shouted, rousing John from his tranquil meditation.
John looked up towards Adam with a blank expression.
"What was what for?" John feigned ignorance.
"You know damn well. You dragged me through that trial, and I passed out from the pain. And where are we even? Why are we the only ones here? Did we get disqualified?" Adam angrily asked.
"Disqualified? No, we got here first," John replied in an unconcerned manner.
Surprise appeared on Adam's face. "First? You came first?"
"Yep, and instead of yelling at me, you should be thanking me. If not for me, you would have been an Outer Sect Disciple, but now you're an Inner Sect Disciple. Aren't I such a great friend?" John replied in a magnanimous tone.
Adam stared at John with an open mouth, unsure of how to reply. It was true that he did advance solely due to John's efforts, but the pain had been excruciating, and he was still quite upset about that.
Adam was just about to reply, when suddenly a sound appeared behind him. John and Adam turned around to see June suddenly appear before them. Her face was red, and she was gasping for breath. After several seconds, her face started to return to normal, and her breathing evened out.
She looked around and spotted John and Adam. Her eyes lingered on John for a moment, before she walked to an empty area, sat down, and started to recuperate.
Not long after June, Russell appeared. His eyes looked around and he quickly spotted John. He rapidly dashed forward and appeared directly in front of him.
"Not bad, that was a damn manly display you put on there...let's fight!"