Chapter 324 – Lifting
All the barbarians gathered in front of the camp as soon as the sun came up, and Shang also quickly joined them.
Lash and the other barbarians that had come to him earlier stood close to him, showing their allegiance.
Even though the barbarians all stood in front of the camp, there were three distinct camps.
The biggest one wore no collars and surrounded the tall barbarian from the camp. There were about a hundred barbarians in that camp.
The second camp was only comprised of barbarians with collars, and that camp consisted of about 25 barbarians.
The last one was Shang’s camp. There were two barbarians with collars, including himself, and five barbarians without collars. They were only seven.
The collared barbarians didn’t heed Shang’s camp any mind, but the bigger group of barbarians looked with narrowed eyes at Lash and Shang. They saw that Lash stood respectfully beside Shang, which meant that he was Lash’s Leader.
However, they had never seen Shang do anything to show his power. On the first day of the criminals’ arrival, Shang had only walked away, not showing his power or dominance.
To barbarians, if one had the power, one would show it. It was only natural to show that one was the strongest.
The fact that Shang didn’t show his power made them mistrustful.
Shang didn’t heed the barbarians any mind.
Their opinions were irrelevant.
The fact that the barbarians created different Tribes inside the military camp was already idiotic and childish to Shang.
Why would one want to establish themselves as the Leader while being confined in a cage?
Leader or not, when the Mages gave an order, everyone followed.
The Leader had no power, just like all the other barbarians.
After a couple of minutes, the commander over the camp arrived with her typical, cold expression. Behind her were two True Mages.
The commander was the strongest human for kilometers around since she was an Early True Mage.
Right now, Shang was rather sure that he would lose if he were to fight her.
This was the power he had to overcome if he wanted to regain his freedom.
And, for now, Shang wasn’t powerful enough.
The commander looked at all the gathered barbarians for a while.
“The five strongest, step forward,” she commanded.
The barbarians all looked at each other.
And more than five barbarians stepped forward.
From the biggest group, the Leader and three other barbarians stepped forward.
From the other camp, two stepped forward.
And from Shang’s group, Shang and Lash stepped forward.
In total, there were eight barbarians that had stepped forward, and they all glared at each other, except for Shang.
The commander frowned, but she decided that it would be too much hassle to organize several fights.
“Eight it is,” she said.
A thick, black staff appeared out of thin air in front of the commander, and it fell to the ground.
When it hit the ground, a heavy quake washed over the gathered group, and they looked at the staff in shock.
This thing was heavy!
Why did the commander summon this staff?!
“If you can lift this staff, you will be chosen for a special mission,” she explained. “If you do well in this special mission, you will have proven your worth to us, and we will elevate your position and will grant you more power.”
When the barbarians heard that, greed appeared in their eyes, and the barbarians that hadn’t stepped forward regretted not stepping forward.
The commander noticed their gazes and snorted. “Don’t overestimate yourselves,” she said. “I would be surprised if even one of you can lift it.”
Of course, the barbarians took that as a provocation, but they didn’t dare to protest.
“You, step forward,” the commander said to the tall barbarian from the main camp. She knew that he was considered the strongest.
The tall barbarian complied and stepped forward.
Then, he crouched down and took hold of the staff.
And he tried to lift it.
His muscles bulged, and his face became red, but the staff only very slowly moved upward.
The tall barbarian’s body shook, and about ten seconds later, he managed to lift it to his waist.
His arms trembled under the tremendous weight.
“It needs to be lifted above your head,” the commander said coldly.
The tall barbarian gritted his teeth, and he tried to lift it further.
It moved a couple more centimeters, but when it reached his belly button, he had to drop it.
The heavy staff hit the ground again, and another powerful quake went throughout the camp.
The barbarians had been shocked into silence.
How heavy was this staff?!
How was anyone supposed to lift this?!
“Anyone else?” the commander asked.
The other three barbarians from the main camp walked back to their group. The tall barbarian was the publicly acknowledged strongest in their group.
At that point, the Leader of the criminal camp stepped forward, and he also tried to lift it.
However, he barely managed to lift the staff to the middle of his shin before he had to drop it.
This made those two retreat as well, leaving only Lash and Shang.
“You want to try?” Shang asked Lash.
Lash narrowed his eyes and stepped forward.
Then, he tried to lift it.
His entire body shook, and his face became red, but the staff moved upward.
When the staff reached his knees, Lash was already at his limit.
But he kept going.
Lash continued lifting, and even blood started to flow out of his arms.
His eyes had become completely bloodshot, and blood exploded out of his nose.
But he kept going.
When he managed to lift it to his waist, he managed to hold it there for about two seconds.
And then, he dropped it.
The staff hit the ground with tremendous force, and Lash nearly fell over.
However, he had proven his power and will.
His body was still weaker than the tall barbarian’s, but with tremendous willpower, he managed to nearly close the gap.
The commander noted Lash’s tremendous willpower and decided to look more closely into Lash.
And then, there was only Shang.
Shang slowly stepped forward, and the other barbarians looked at him with mixed expressions.
Shang’s group looked with confidence at him.
The main group looked with hostile eyes at him.
The criminal camp looked with ridicule and disgust at him.
Shang didn’t take any of these expressions to heart.
He stopped in front of the staff and calmly looked into the commander’s eyes.
The commander only furrowed her brows.
For some reason, Shang felt very different from all the other barbarians.
She didn’t know how or why, but Shang felt out of place among the group of barbarians.
Shang slowly crouched down and took hold of the staff.
Then, he stood up.
In just two seconds, Shang had lifted the staff to his waist.
The barbarians looked with shock at Shang.
His arms weren’t even shaking!
Yes, his arms were bulging, and they were definitely under a lot of stress, but they were definitely not at their limits!
A glow appeared in the commander’s eyes.
Shang’s biceps curled as he lifted the staff to his chest.
Even more silence.
Shang had pulled the staff far higher than anyone here!
Then, Shang pushed the staff and took a big step forward.
In one push, he had stretched his arms over his head with the staff.
Shang pulled his legs together again and remained standing.
The black staff was extended above his head, and it was stable.
His stance was stable.
His body didn’t shake.
It was perfect.
Shang continued looking at the commander.
The commander looked with narrowed eyes at Shang.
Shang only had one question.
“Do I pass?”