(Correlated with the manhua's chapter 23)
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Mo Fan screamed, instinctively casting spells around him to catch the attention of the beast as it chased Xiao Hou's broken body to where it shot him.
Yet, by the grace of the Heavens, Xiao Hou landed just in front of the stone stairwell, where his friends dragged him to safety.
Its target lost, the giant wolf turned back to Mo Fan, who'd begun running to the stairwell as soon as Xiao Hou was safe.
"RRAAAAAAARRGGHHHH" The beast bellowed, pouncing toward Mo Fan. Yet, meeting it in the air were three full power fireballs which he prepared while it was distracted, but cost him nearly all of his magical energy, the rest of which he used to cast a speed-enhancing spell.
To the wolf's and Mo Fan's surprise, his attacks had been the straw to break the camel's back, as one of the monster's front paws which had been struck broke. When the beast landed some ways away, it took too long whimpering and stumbling to gather its balance to catch up to Mo Fan, who made it to the stair well and immediately collapsed into a meditation posture on the steps.
Seeing how it had lost all of its prey without capturing any, the beast howled in rage before awkwardly stumbling out of view from the stairwell entrance.
In the stairwell, Xu Zhaoting lifted the meditating Mo Fan to place him farther up the stairs in case the demonic wolf came back to dig its way in.
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"Everyone! The beast can't reach us because the walls are too narrow, but we'll eventually need to head up toward the surface to escape! Follow Mo Fan's example and enter meditation! We'll need all the magical energy we can get!"
After speaking, Xu Zhaoting didn't bother waiting for everyone to follow his orders before sitting down in the lotus position to refine magical energy.
"Sounds like a plan."
"I'll get right on it!"
"I'm with you there!"
Others agreed, entering meditation.
As soon as Mo Fan entered the stone stairwell, he fell to the hard ground beneath him, exhausted and out of magical energy. However, instead of meditating like everyone thought he was doing, Mo Fan first entered his soul realm.
*"After this intense battle, surely I'll be able to break through to the next level!"*
Mo Fan looked upon his star clusters, which glowed as though filled with LED lights.
*"Yes! This is it!"*
Having confirmed that his odds of leveling up were through the roof, Mo Fan began his meditation, but fed the magical energy to his star cluster rather than store it for use—something he would not have done in such a precarious situation had he not been sure of what was to come from it.
It had been just a few minutes since they entered the stone stairwell that became their safe zone, but a few students were awakened from meditation by abnormal sounds.
"What's that damned-"
The student who began complaining froze mid-sentence at the sight of the giant demonic wolf overhead attempting to dig through the solid stone of the cliff walls to widen the gap… And it was making progress.
"DAMN IT! EVERYONE, GET UP!"
A few students screamed at the sight of the ferocious monster and hastily prepared attack spells.
Mo Fan shouted, rising from his meditation.
"We don't have anything to worry about! Just sit down and meditate to refill on magical energy. I'll make it leave."
Despite Mo Fan's assurance, few calmed down.
"Oh? And what are going to do about it, Mo Fan?" Mu Bai scoffed. "It was focusing on attacking and chasing us earlier, which is why we could even damage it at all! Now that we're trapped, and Xiao Hou is injured, it can focus on whittling away at the walls while avoiding damage! Unless a professor or combat instructor arrives, our chances of living through this are minimal!"
Irritated, Mo Fan clapped back, "Jeez, Mu Bai! Shut up with the doom and gloom! I already said that this is likely part of the test!" He glanced at Xiao Hou, who was cradling his ribs in the fetal position a few steps from where he stood. "Even if it isn't, I'll carry Xiao Hou myself."
Then, without waiting for Mu Bai to respond, Mo Fan lifted an open palm to the monster digging at the cliff walls above.
"How could this be?!"
To his classmates' collective shock, Mo Fan blasted a fireball directly at the wolf's snout, burning through its flesh, causing it to howl and retreat.
"Damn, he's already level two?!" Mu Bai growled through his teeth.
Watching the groups who'd made it to Herbage Valley…
"Boss! A fire-element student at level two! Can you believe it?! Wow, that is some talent! Why don't we just call an end to this exercise? No point in it if there's a level two mage."
Zhankong nodded to his subordinate. "I suppose. This exercise was only supposed to judge how the students would react to an overwhelming force." Then turned to Baiyang, the subordinate who'd summoned the wolf.
However, when Zhankong saw Baiyang's expression… "What is it? Speak!"
Baiyang's lips trembled as he stumbled over his words.
"B-boss! The connection, it…my connection to my contracted being was cut! I can't feel it anymore!"