Chapter 122: Conflict!
“So how have you girls been handling this exam?” Sophie asked curiously.
“I hate this stupid desert,” Qiana groaned as she took a small piece of cloth from her pocket to wipe away the sweat on her brow.
“It’s too damn hot. The sand gets everywhere, and we keep getting attacked by mechanical dogs every fucking hour.”
Perhaps the only positive from this whole stupid test was the private time that she had spent alone with Astrid.
Not that Qiana would ever admit this.
“We encountered an ambush yesterday when several of those dogs buried themselves under the sand,” Cleo remarked.
“Really? How many did you kill?” Astrid’s eyes sparkled as she pestered Cleo for more details.
It was under this lighthearted atmosphere of telling jokes and stories that the girls travelled closer and closer to the oasis.
Sophie was glad to spend some more time with her friends.
She was the only one in the poison cultivator class and it was pretty lonely to not see her companions as often as she would like.
It was also a relief to see how well Cleo had fit into the group’s dynamic although there did seem to be some tension between her and Astrid.
“Wow look how beautiful the water is,” Astrid gasped in amazement as she ran ahead to jump into the crystal-clear water.
The green trees merrily swaying in the wind stood out among a sea of endless sand dunes.
Purplish red fruits hung from their branches releasing a fragrant scent that attracted small insects to land on their surface.
In the center of this unique forest was a small lake with water so clear that any observers could directly see the sandy floor.
Astrid dove headfirst into the water and happily swam a few laps around the edge of the lake as she waited for the rest of the group to catch up.
“Girls you need to join me!” Astrid waved cheerfully as she threw water droplets at her incoming friends.
“Hell yeah!” Sophie did not have to think twice before she joined Astrid in the water.
“Watch out for anything suspicious,” Cleo called out warily as she eyed the seemingly safe oasis with concern.
If this training camp had taught her anything…. it was to never let your guard down.
“Okay I will,” Sophie promised as she swam awkwardly.
Her spider appendages were a bit too cumbersome to use in the water and they ended up throwing her slightly off balance.
Qiana and Cleo refilled their water pouches and started to chat informally as they both decided to act as lookouts.
The red sun still shone down harshly but the tall, leafy trees provided enough shade so none of the girls were feeling too uncomfortable.
Astrid had even tried to eat one of the fruits growing on the trees and found that it tasted like rotten meat.
She spat it out immediately as the other girls laughed in amusement.
“One more hour to go,” Cleo checked her wristband as the timer slowly started to approach the end.
“Thank god,” Qiana muttered in relief.
This training camp had been an interesting experience and Sophie was really excited about her new life on the campus.
Parties, new cultivation techniques, life with Cleo in a private apartment and finally seeing Moon again!
Through the soul bond with her darling pet, she could tell that her furry little bat was missing his mom.
“Someone’s coming from the north east,” Qiana suddenly spoke up and broke the peaceful atmosphere.
Astrid and Sophie swam to the shore immediately and left the water.
“How many are there?” Cleo whispered in a serious tone.
“Seven,” Qiana replied as she slowly withdrew the dagger attached to her hip.
Sophie’s golden eyes sparkled as her vision zoomed towards the seven outlines approaching from the distance.
“Three humans, three Mendolesa and one Servie,” Sophie informed them.
“Each of them are carrying swords of different styles or lengths. If I had to make a guess, I would say that they might not be friendly.”
The humans were holding lightweight swords molded after the traditional curved swords created by the Japanese people in the ancient earth era.
The three Mendolesa warriors wielded heavier weapons more akin to claymores or broadswords with devastating power.
What was interesting was that the Servie was not holding a sword but rather a curved sickle that gleamed menacingly in the sunlight.
“Alright let’s set up an ambush,” Cleo took charge and directed the girls to different positions.
“Qiana I need you to hide and wait for the right moment to eliminate whoever is the leader of their team.”
The quiet girl nodded, and her figure abruptly vanished as if she had never been there.
Sophie was unnerved to discover that even her illusion piercing eyes were unable to find Qiana’s location.
“Astrid you cast an invisibility spell on yourself and Sophie while I will act as bait to see if they have bad intentions.”
“I will hold up my hand and point three fingers in the air to signal to start the attack.”
Cleo explained the rest of her plan as Astrid and Sophie listened carefully.
The Mendolesa girl thought that it was a good idea although she would have preferred to simply beat them up directly.
Oh well… she would give her best friend’s annoying girlfriend some face.
“Verto novis invisiblis!” Astrid chanted as the magical runes on her back lit up.
This was a common camouflage spell that would last until either Astrid’s mana ran out or the person who received the spell was hit by an attack.
Sophie felt as small tingle as if her body were being covered by a soft blanket.
She looked down at her hands to find them….
“Hey Astrid…. err… did your spell work?” Sophie asked hesitantly.
“Of course, it did. No one can see either one of us,” Astrid replied proudly.
Sophie observed the Mendolesa girl who looked exactly how she did before the spell was cast and could not help but suspect that Astrid was joking with her.
“Yeah I can’t see either one of you,” Cleo also joined in the conversation.
Maybe it was her golden eyes? Sophie thought that they could only see through illusions, but it also appeared that magical spells also had no effect.
But then what kind of power was Qiana using to obscure her vision?
Sophie tried to find the dark-haired girl by sending qi into her eyes to enhance her sight, but she could still not even find a trace of Qiana.
“Okay… get into position. They will be here in five minutes,” Cleo requested as she adjusted her posture to give off a weak disposition.
Astrid darted into a nearby group of trees while Sophie stood right behind the princess in order to quickly respond to any immediate attacks.
Ambush or not…. Cleo’s safety was the number one priority.
No one touched her.
Sophie’s eyes darkened with a pinkish glow as a deep feeling of possessiveness threatened to overwhelm her.
Small droplets of blood appeared on Sophie’s legs as she tightly slammed her fingernails into her flesh.
The resulting pain managed to snap her out of the strange state.
Sophie sighed in relief as she controlled herself just in time.
“Oh, look at the oasis!”
“Finally, we can get some rest.”
“Look someone is there already.”
The group of students arrived at the oasis with great momentum as they chatted casually among themselves.
“Hello there. Are you all here to get some water as well?” Cleo smiled weakly as she timidly asked a question.
Growing up as a royal princess…. one needed to learn how to act!
She was the very image of a soft and delicate girl which caused the approaching students to let their guard down slightly.
“Don’t worry we don’t plan on fighting,” one of the Mendolesa girls bared her fangs and replied politely.
“We will just get some water and wait for the exam to end,” a handsome boy rested his hand on his sword as he spoke.
“What a relief,” Cleo spoke in a naive and innocent tone as she secretly raised three fingers into the air behind her back.
Truly these students….
…. were poor actors.
Sophie’s spider appendages moved without hesitation and blocked the incoming blow directed at Cleo.
One of the students had evidently gotten tired of pretending and had sent a sharp burst of sword qi towards Cleo’s heart.
Sophie’s sudden move had broken the invisibility spell cast on her body and the seven students were astonished to find a hybrid girl appear out of thin air.
“It’s a trap!” one of the Mendolesa warriors yelled in surprise as he unsheathed his sword.
“Flamma circulus dissiliunt!” Astrid roared as the magical runes on her back glowed with a fiery red colour.
She released the invisibility spell and poured her mana into this strike.
A flaming magical circle with mysterious symbols appeared under the group’s legs and a pillar of fire erupted from the ground.
Two of the Mendolesa students were not fast enough to avoid the blaze and their barrier devices activated under the intense heat.
Unfortunately, it would be foolish to think that this would be enough to eliminate the entire team as only the most elite students were qualified to attend this training camp.
Sword cultivators in particular had the deadliest attacks that could defeat even those of higher cultivation levels.
The five remaining students recovered quickly, and the three humans launched a variety of different sword styles and attacks towards Astrid.
Moonlight Sword Dance!
Sakura Petal Rain!
Blood Storm Pierce!
The other two students used movement skill abilities to close the gap between themselves and Sophie to unleash their most powerful sword strikes.
This was not going to be an easy fight.