The Elder's watched in stunned silence, not uttering a word. Although they were all Elder's from the War Hall, and had experienced many battles and seen many brutal things, this was their first time seeing something like this.
A moment later, Elder Thame waved his hand, and the protective screen of light surrounding the arena faded. John noticed the formation cease, and hopped out of the arena and to the place where the Elder's were standing.
"That was quite a fun trial, that should count as passing the trial, correct?" John asked with a smile on his face. The Elder's all looked at John with mixed expressions, while Elder Thame tried to think of what to say to John.
After a moment of silence, Elder Thame spoke up.
"...Yes, you pass the trial….But why did you go about it the way you did? You had him dead on the first exchange."
John had expected such a question, as he was sure something like what he had just done was unconventional.
"It's pretty simple. I haven't had a good fight against another cultivator in months, and so I wanted to test my strength and enjoy a battle fully."
"Were you not concerned about him turning the tides?" Elder Thame asked.
"Nope," John replied bluntly.
He knew that giving enemies second chances was a stupid decision, but in a controlled environment like this, John was unconcerned about his enemy. His strength was far below what was needed to threaten his life.
Elder Thame's eyes trailed towards the arena behind John. Blood soaked the ground and walls of the arena, showing what a brutal beatdown it had been.
"Why were you so heavy handed against him?" Elder Thame asked. John's display had been quite a brutal one.
"You said he killed hundreds of innocents right? Isn't that a good enough reason for the treatment I gave him?" John replied quickly.
Although he was not a saint, and never considered himself as such, he also considered the killing of innocents and mortals to be indefensible. He had already decided that the boy would die brutally, and he took full advantage of such an opportunity.
"I suppose it is. Besides, killing your opponent is the goal of the trial, so regardless of how you did it, you passed the trial. However, why did you take the corpse?" Elder Thame asked John.
Upon killing the boy, John had taken the corpse, which surprised the Elder. Only sinister path cultivators used bodies for cultivating, and normal cultivators had no use for such a thing.
John quickly thought of something to say that sounded plausible.
"I always take the bodies of my enemies I have killed. I collect them, sort of like a trophy. That's not a problem, is it?" John asked.
It wasn't a complete lie, as John still had the corpses of all those he had slain in his palace realm.
Elder Thame was surprised by such a response, and thought for a moment before responding.
"No, it's quite a weird and brutal reason, but there's nothing wrong with that I suppose. You can keep his body then...
Besides, killing your opponent is the goal of the trial, so regardless of how you did it, you passed the trial. Congratulations, you are now a member of the War Hall," Elder Thame replied. ...
A large smile broke out on John's face, but the Elders' next words quickly dashed his happy expression.
"As your reward, you are now to be sent to the lowest level of the Crypt for three days as punishment, per the Vice Sect Leader's instructions."
John wanted to say something back, but the Elder silenced him and let him know he had no choice in the matter.
"The Crypt happens to be in this building as well. Follow me!" Elder Thame said and began to walk to a different part of the large cavernous dungeon.
John followed closely behind.
'Compared to the sinister gate and the lightning world trial, I doubt it can be that bad.'
John knew his pain tolerance and mental fortitude was far beyond his peers, and was confident that he would be able to endure whatever was thrown at him quite easily.
Elder Thame walked to one of the dungeon walls. Small runes were visible on the wall, and Elder Thame pressed his hand against some of them in a certain order. The runes began to glow, and a large hidden door suddenly parted directly in front of them.
The parting doors revealed a large staircase behind them, descending even deeper into the earth.
The two of them began to descend down the dimly lit staircase. Every few hundred yards, a door would appear, but Elder Thame continued to walk.
'Those must be the other levels of the crypt. I wonder what's inside.'
John followed the Elder in silence. After walking for nearly another mile, the two of them came to a large door, several dozens of yards tall, at the bottom of the staircase. The door was made of black metal, and covered in many powerful runes.
There were two Elders stationed outside the door, standing guard. They noticed the two newcomers, and stepped forward to inspect them.
"Elder Thame. What brings you here today?" One of the Elder's asked.
"This one is to spend three days down here, per the Vice Sect Leader's instructions," Elder Thame pointed to John at his side and replied.
The two guarding Elder's looked at John in slight surprise, and felt some pity for him. He was clearly on the Vice Sect Leader's bad side, and such a thing would only lead to misery within the sect.
"Very well," The Elder replied.
The two of them returned to the door and tinkered with the powerful runes on the door. After a short moment, the door began to part open, and an incredibly foul aura began to emanate from it.
John paled slightly as he felt it wash over him, as it was unlike anything he had felt before.