As it did, the two pieces merged and repaired itself and the puppet landed on its own two feet with no sign of damage. In fact, the aura this one puppet emitted had doubled and now, red and purple wisps of energy floating from its body.
The six that had successfully destroyed it the first time, now found themselves in a grim predicament. The leader of them had an especially dark expression. Having just questioned the strength of these puppets, he wanted to swallow those words.
He did not hesitate to call for a retreat and the six split apart, taking different roads. The arena rumbled once more, changing the terrain into a new maze of sorts but the puppet paid no attention and began chasing.
Just as this battle had just begun, others have started to challenge these puppets.
There were no instructions and rules given to them but it was clear to see that one thing mattered, survival. Whether through battle or retreat, they could not leave the arena.
The other four puppets were scattered throughout the arena and each one had been challenged. To the east of the arena were a puppet that had been smashed up and taking much more damage than its counterparts. It was surrounded by a group of ten incredibly different cultivators. Each of them used increasingly stranger weapons from a giant writing brush to paper talismans. There even seemed to be one using giant shears similar in size to the brush. Despite these odd choices, their teamwork was more than perfect. Each of them had a clear role: attacking, defending, restricting. The six arms of the Ivory Asura Puppet could not quite keep up with them.
In the west, there was a rather shocking scene to behold. Two puppets working together against only one person, a body cultivator.
Short hair and a muscular frame, he was by no means a giant but he was not small either. He wore a sleeveless uniform, an orange color that was accented with white. With his arms revealed, it showed black tattoos that were tribalistic, shapes and patterns that circled around his forearms, spreading into his shoulders. His expression was calm but fierce, thick and sharp brows combined with gentle eyes made for a strange combination. Nonetheless, the opponents in front of him were not simple.
Against these puppets, it seemed that he might not be able to hold on. What made it even more dire was that these puppets seemed to understand each other, attacking in a quick tempo and trying their best to knock this one disciple away. However, their attempts were less than successful.
While others were knocked away like flies, he stood firmly and endured the strikes, waiting for an opportunity. Using nothing but his fists to guard against the onslaught of attacks until both puppets charged forward and attacked simutaneously.
He smiled at the incoming attack and his hands and feet glowed red like fire. In quick succession, this body cultivator executed three moves.
"Step of the Red Giant!"
He stomped forward, causing a massive shockwave that broke the stone floors. The puppets that charged at him lost their footing and were pushed back. The pressure caused tiny fractures on the surface of their bodies and that was not the end of it.
As this disciple stepped forward, he raised his fist and punched straight and fast.
"Fist of the Raging Sun!"
The fire-like glow radiating from his fist seemed to ignite and a fist-shaped fire flew forth. It set the puppets aflame, seemingly hot enough to start melting them. With his third move, he brought out his other fist which he changed into an open palm.
With the closest puppet in front of him, he placed his palm on the puppet's chest and pushed.
"Palm of a Shattered Star!"
The palm strike did not seem powerful but as he spoke those words, the puppet was thrown back, taking its partner with it. The already damaged exterior of their bodies slowly fractured as pieces fell from their bodies. Hurtling towards one of the artificial mountains, their bodies slammed into it and suddenly shattered in pieces.
It seemed that with each strike, this man injected turbulent energy into the puppets which would erupt upon the final strike.
As the first puppet shattered, a glowing white gem fell from its body, twinkling in the light. Though the second did not meet the same fate, it was one hit away from splintering apart.
His face was white and full of sweat but he looked extremely satisfied. The strength it took to use those three moves had drained him greatly. He stepped forward albeit weakly and looked at them before picking the gem up. The broken pieces of the puppet have already begun gathering together at his feet. With the gem in his hands, he crushed it, releasing a beam of light that moved him out of the arena.
That light could be seen from everywhere and the crowd cheered loudly. Nobles and high ranking elders, commited that person's face to their memory as the Grand Elder paid a bit of attention to that beam. However, his observant expression did not show anything.
"That light, what does it mean?"
In the south, MIng Yue saw that beam of light as she and the other two ran off.
"A puppet has been successfully defeated and whoever did it will be exempt from the first three rounds. Depending on how it was done, they might be able to become an Elite Disciple after this."
Xukun gave a quick explanation that surprised Ming Yue.
"To think there was a requirement like this in play", she exclaimed but Xukun quickly stopped her form having nay thoughts.
"Those puppets are extremely difficult to destroy. Even with my current cultivation, I would surely lose against one of them. With the three of us, perhaps we have a chance but it's too risky."
Just as he finished those words, a shadow loomed over them as an axe slashed across the air.
"Stop talking and focus on getting away!"
Anqing's face was hurried and desperate as she pulled the other two away from the Ivory Asura Puppet that chased them. They did what they could to slow it down, corrosive poison from Anqing and sword strikes from both Xukun and Ming Yue. However, none of it was quite effective on the puppet for it repaired itself as the attacks came. They did not have enough time to form a decent strike. No matter how quick they were, this puppet seemed to gain on them .
"This isn't working", Ming Yue looked behind her, finding that the puppet was unperturbed.
They ran about, travelling through the rough terrain, jumping over stones and keeping steady on this uneven ground. Those that saw them being chased, avoided them like they were cursed. At the same time, they had a feeling of relief over this as they were not the ones being chased. But that feeling of relief had come and gone in mere seconds for the puppet's purpose was to take out as many disciples as possible. Not to mention, it chased after three people but it did have six arms, one of which had a whip.
The sound of it cracked in the air like thunder as the puppet waved it about.
In seconds, the whip wrapped around the bodies of several disciples, throwing them out of the arena. It took only a moment and that was a moment of opportunity for the trio turned around, power welling up in their bodies as they attacked.
The puppet's remaining five arms attacked having sensed their charge to which Ming Yue dealt with swiftly. Acting as the vanguard, she clashed against the remaining five arms. Having empowered her sword, the layer of sharp winds that covered the blade grinded into the puppets arms. She pulled the blade back and smashed it onto the arms once more.
"Second Wind: Tempestuous Storms"
Upon that impact, the winds suddenly burst out and blasted the forearms apart. She followed with a flurry of strikes, pushing the puppet back and allowing the other two to attack with no fear.
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