33 Trial Complete
The only warning Zoey had was the whoosh of something flying through the air behind her. She activated her shield array and tried to dodge, but was not fast enough. A fist sized fireball impacted her left shoulder from behind and exploded on impact, sending her tumbling to the ground. The heat from the fireball was strong enough to nearly toast her shield array, but her gear held up admirably. Had she not activated her shield array the moment she sensed the attack, she would have been severely hurt. She didn't have any time to recover before she heard another whoosh or air signaling another fireball flying at her back.
This time she was able to react and dodge in time, rolling to the side as the fireball impacted the ground. The sound was not very loud, like a rubber ball hitting rock and then bursting into flame, but the power was definitely there as Zoey was peppered by rock shards as she rolled away. She managed to get back to her feet before the next attack came at her and was easily able to dodge the next few without having to rely on her shield array. The fireballs seemed to always come from her blind spot. No matter how she turned, the source was always perfectly behind her head and flew directly at her. They came in one second intervals at first, and she was able to easily dodge them after she got used to the speed and angle of the shots.
Eventually the fireballs started coming in faster intervals. They got faster and faster until there were two fireballs coming at her every second. This put Zoey's speed to the test as she was forced to react and dodge extremely fast. In order to give herself an edge, she began to use the stalagmites in the cave to block the fireballs. She had to be quick though, if she just hid behind the rocks the fireballs would change their angle to hit her making them unpredictable.
Like this, an hour passed. Zoey was zigzagging between the rocks and stalagmites constantly avoiding the fireballs coming at her. Then, the fireballs stopped abruptly. Zoey looked around, panting slightly from exertion. Even with her excellent physical condition, being forced to dodge and sprint through obstacles for an hour would tire anyone out.
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She made her way to the end of the cave and found that another chest had appeared along with the next way down. She sat on the chest to catch her breath and ate some dry rations from her inventory. The trial she had completed was clearly an endurance trial. Knowing that, and the theme of the first trial being survival, she guessed that the next trial would be a similar theme or challenge.
Once she was rested, she opened the chest to see what her reward was this time. Inside she found two items, a book and a small black, glassy orb. She took the items and brought up her inspection menu to check what the items were.
[ITEM: Scythe Mantis Reaper Technique
[DESCRIPTION: An ancient magical technique designed by, and for the Vekt. This technique will allow any Vekt to become a fearsome reaper of death, able to conceal the user and bring forth the deadly skills of the Scythe Mantis.
[ITEM: Rank 2 Null Stalker Essence Stone
[ELEMENTAL AFFINITY: Dark, Null
[DESCRIPTION: The essence stone of one of the most feared creatures that crawl the dark crevasses of the world. Immune to magic and deadly up close, never attack this creature without being at least two ranks higher than it.
Zoey placed the items into her inventory. The book she could give to Nito as she couldn't use it anyway. The Essence stone would be extremely helpful as it was a Rank 2 essence stone and was dark element as well. She now had two Rank 2 stones. With eight more she would be able to get to Rank 3!
Once again she had gotten some nice rewards from the trial. She headed down to the next area filled with anticipation for what else she would find. This stairway was considerably longer than the others had been. By the time she got to the bottom, it was several hours later. The area here was a large open arena marred and scarred by many battles, and clearly intended to be the end of the dungeon.
Zoey could see countless remains littering the floor of the massive arena. obviously this trial would be harder than the others had been. It had to be as the final challenge. From her vantage point she could tell that all the dead challengers had suffered gruesome deaths. Crushed skulls and bones, scaterd and smashed equipment... All of it told a tale of valiant challengers being mercilessly cut down by a ruthless opponent. She would have to be ready.
She sat down on the steps and removed the Rank 2 Null Stalker essence stone from her inventory. She held it in her hand as she contemplated her next move. Absorbing the stone would not get her anywhere close to rank 3, but it may be able to get her another ability rune she could use to augment her gear. If she wanted every advantage she could get, absorbing the stone was a definite yes for her.
She made her decision and closed her eyes, focusing her magic essence like before and beginning the process. The tattoos on her arms lit up with magical light as she used her essence to drill a hole into the essence stone and slowly started to absorb the pitch black essence within. It flowed through her veins and slowly made its way to her essence lake inside her inner world. As the first drops of essence dripped into the lake, the deep, machine-like mechanical sound echoed in her mind again signalling the activation of her Dark Star Runic Blood innate talent.
"UNKNOWN ESSENCE SOURCE DETECTED
The mechanical voice from before spoke as well as the process began. A few moments later her interface appeared again and showed her the changes to her abilities and talents.
[ZOEY: INNATE TALENTS:
[1. DARK STAR RUNIC BLOOD
[a. Transformation: Trigger Unknown
[b. Ability Assimilation
[c. Ice Venom Rune
[d. *NEW* Null Field Rune
The only new item was the Null Field Rune. Like the Ice Venom Rune she had received before, she selected the ability to learn what it's function was.
[Null Field Rune:
[Active Effect: Able to nullify all magic when active.
Zoey smiled as she read the description. Jackpot!