After their little skirmish with the snakes a while ago, if there was one thing that all of them were grateful for, it was the fact that they wouldn’t be rushing headfirst into another fight.
They all knew that there was a chance that they could be going head first into a war before coming here. They were warned about that. No one wanted to lose their life for a war that had little meaning to them, though.
Many of them were already risking their lives for war elsewhere.
Still, everyone knew the longer they remained in this world, the more energy would be sapped away from their bodies, even if they just stood there without moving an inch. So whatever the Turtle had planned, they wanted to get it over and done with.
It seemed like the Turtle, the fourth king whose name was Genbu, had prepared a test for them. With the test, the winner would receive the grand prize of forming a contract with the last king. Although many of them felt there was no need for a test in the first place, it was still better than the other option.
The group was following the Turtle as he asked all of them to get on its back. And since Ovin was fine with getting on the king’s back, the rest didn’t hesitate after seeing this.
“Everyone, just hold on tight,” Genbu said once everyone had safely sat down.
“Hold on, we saw how ‘fast’ this Turtle could move; who does he think he’s kidding?” Abdul commented.
The others agreed, and they also noticed that there was nothing to hold onto. They were just on a hard shell. Genbu’s body then started to transform just like before, getting larger and larger by the second.
It was incredible how fast he could change his form, and soon the cramped space on the Turtle’s back had gotten so large that it was hard for them even to see the edge. He was soon as big as his form was previously.
Since he had grown so fast, the others felt the force as he grew, being chucked up in the air slightly, and now they understood what he meant by hold on. Many of them, including Abdul, held on to the horse’s legs for support as the latter stood as if glued to the Turtle’s shell.
While the others had landed back down on the shell, not sustaining damage as they steadied themselves when landing.
“It’s not over yet,” Ovin said.
Adbul had let go of the horse’s leg to wipe his forehead, believing it was all over, but just then, Genbu began to reduce as fast as he had enlarged earlier. Abdul quickly grabbed onto the horse’ leg and closed his eyes.
After a few moments, the Turtle completed the process. Upon opening their eyes, the group saw that they were now all in front of the mountain on the other side— opposite of the one that had been destroyed because of Genbu’s wakening.
“Come on, you idiot,” Layla said, walking past. “I don’t know why, but the Turtle thinks you’re the most impressive one. We need to leave this place with a contract but don’t forget there’s a possibility that he might not make one with any of us.”
When Genbu was smaller, they noticed that he could move far faster than in his enlarged form. In fact, it looked strange because the Turtle was only slightly slower than the horse. Upon entering the mountain, they found it nearly just as beautiful as it was outside.
A lot of them were expecting it to be dark and gloomy, but they were surprised to see that the inside walls were also coloured in the same mystic pattern as the sky and what was even stranger was, it was as if the walls of the mountain were alive and were slightly shifting upward like a river with a reverse stream.
Then finally, they could see what Genbu had led them to a large space. They saw several of what could only be described as turtle shells at the very end of the space, and they were all arranged at the back. The shells were about the same size as a small house.
“You keep your shells in here; are they some sort of fashion statement?” Ovin asked.
The others couldn’t; help but chuckle at the comment. The way they were lined up certainly did make it seem that way.
“No. I shed my shell every once in a while, which is what is left of them. But let me assure you that each one of them is as sturdy and strong as the one I have right now.” Genbu explained as he walked up to the shells.
“Shed? Like a snake? I didn’t know Turtles shed their shells, and how would that exactly work?” Layla questioned.
The others now had a strange image in their head as they imagined a Turtle taking off his shell, but due to Genbu having the ability to resize himself, it did somewhat make some sense to them.
“You, the weakest, come over here,” Genbu called.
The others looked at each other, wondering who Genbu was referring to. In the end, Quinn was the one who walked forward as others noticed that Genbu kept looking towards his direction, and he had referred to the former as weak a couple of times now.
“I have brought the weakest one of all of you to start my test. I would like to assess your strength, your powers, your energy, and your technique. I want you to use all of your power and strike the shell.” Genbu explained.
“Each one of you will strike a different shell in this room, and they all have the same level of sturdiness. This way, you can’t complain that perhaps another person weakened it beforehand. I shall form a contract with the one who can deal the most significant damage to one of these shells.
“Of course, you still have to impress me. If each of you is useless, then I shall form no contract, and just to prove to you how strong the shell is, I have called one of you to test its strength.” Genbu said, giving Quinn a nod.
It seemed like he wanted Quinn to hit the shell as hard as possible to demonstrate its hardness, and the others seeing this were a little nervous.
‘What should I do?’ Quinn thought. ‘Maybe I should just hit the shell normally. How about I use any Qi or my blood powers and just hit the shell at fifty percent? It should be able to take that much, right? These are one of the four king’s shells. They should be sturdy, and it won’t look like I’m holding back.’
Preparing himself, Quinn stood in front of the shell. He didn’t get in any fighting stance or perform any actions he would perform to maximise impact, like in the hammer strike. Not that it would be effective anyway as it dealt internal damage rather than external.
Whatever he did now, he wanted to make sure that the others looked more impressive than him.
“HU!” Quinn shouted out loudly, giving the idea that he was using his full strength. His fist slammed into the outside of the hard black case, and everyone heard a loud bang.
The shell was left perfectly intact. There were no cracks or marks on the shell at all; Quinn had achieved what he was hoping for.
“See, the shell is one of my strengths, and it is what has allowed me to become king in these parts. Although I have to say, you were more impressive than I thought, and I can understand why the Undead king chose you.”
As he walked back and rejoined the group, the other could tell he hadn’t used his full strength or other techniques, and now it was down to them to impress the king.
Samantha lined up on the first shell, Abdul the next one, then Layla, and lastly, there was Owen. These four would punch the shell one after the other, and the Turtle Genbu stood back, observing all four of them.
“Begin!” Genbu shouted.
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