Refining a totem required a complete skeleton. Therefore, Konrad skinned the Stolas Beast of its useless parts and carved the ritual circles as instructed by the Flame Mark before placing the skeleton at the center.
He then powered the ritual circles with his demonic energy, causing the skeleton to shrink until it could fit within a palm while eldritch glyphs rose and embedded themselves within it.
The ritual carried on for some time. Green light shone from the miniature skeleton's empty eye sockets, and finally, the ritual came to an end.
When conducted by the barbarian tribes, such rituals required blood sacrifices. However, thanks to his demonic energy, Konrad didn't need to resort to such means.
He then erased all traces of the ritual and took the Stolas Beast Totem within his palm.
Not everyone could possess more than one physique. The number of physiques one could bear was directly linked to the bloodline's level and might.
As a Pureblooded Incubus, Konrad's limit was three. When he increased his bloodline level to Dream-Weaver, he could unlock another slot. He sat cross-legged, placed the totem against his chest, and absorbed it within. His eyes shone with violet light while the refining process began.
Just like with the Anzu Beast Totem, he entered a trance-like state during which he seemed oblivious to his surroundings.
A green stream coursed through his veins, transforming his insides to accommodate the Stolas Beast's power. By the time the refining process ended, the poison attribute was added to his list. Be it sight, smell or hearing, his sensory abilities drastically improved and he obtained formidable resistance against poisons beneath the Transcendent Rank.
However, just like with the Anzu Beast Physique, his cultivation wasn't enough to fully control his new abilities.
He stood up and resumed hunting. The Monstrous Beasts in the surroundings no longer fit his appetite. Therefore, he headed deeper into the third level to challenge mid-level Monstrous Beasts. By the end of the first day, his kill count was twelve low-level Monstrous Beasts and eight mid-level Monstrous Beasts. As for high-level Monstrous Beasts, he avoided them.
Although demonic beasts beneath the Accursed Rank couldn't harm him thanks to his Transcendent Rank Physiques, destroying high-level Monstrous Beasts without Man-Breaker or a fourth circle spell was a nigh impossible task.
Worse, assuming he did manage to bring them down, bringing such trophies to the outside world would do him more harm than good. How was he supposed to explain his ability to slay such creatures with his current cultivation level?
Questions would rise, and investigations would follow. Nothing good would come out of it. As the first day came to an end, Konrad went down to the second level to check the situation.
There were hundreds of Voracious and Superior Beasts within the third level and thousands of Lesser and Intermediate Beasts within the first. Exterminating them all within three days using one-hundred-eight contestants who mostly were at the Grand Knight Rank was no mean feat.
To speak bluntly, it was impossible.
Upon realizing what they were dealing with, those who became aware of the seemingly endless number of demonic beasts quickly sent words to the higher levels. However, their worries were neglected by the stronger teams eager to accumulate points.
This all changed when the Stolas Beast's appearance within the third level forced everyone to return to the lower levels.
They were now all desperately seeking and slaughtering the demonic beasts en masse.
Feeling the extermination cloud looming over their heads, driven by their higher intelligence and stronger survival instinct, the Superior Beasts of the second level banded together in packs and went down to the first level to meet the foreign oppressors.
Beasts of various races lined up within the first level under the leadership of the Superior Beasts for a brutal counterattack.
At the beginning of the second day, the roars of the beast legion pierced the sky, alarming all contestants.
"What the hell is going on?"
"Why is the earth trembling?"
Dawn was barely announcing itself when confusion began spreading within the contestants.
Indeed, as the beasts gathered, the earth trembled, and the sky darkened, bloated by incoming flying beasts.
It was thanks to those winged creatures that the contestants realized the avalanche of problems coming their way.
And witnessing the scene, even Konrad had to take the situation seriously. He activated his Origin Sight to scan the whole beast army from a distance. What he saw almost made him panic.
"This can quickly turn into a carnage."
Around three hundred Superior Beasts, five hundred Voracious Beasts, two thousand Intermediate Beasts, and five thousand Lesser Beasts stood together.
Originally, due to the limited range of his Origin Sight, Konrad couldn't get an accurate estimation of the three levels' population.
After all, each level stretched across dozens of square miles and the beasts were scattered with the strongest occupying larger territories.
But now that they all banded together under the leadership of the strongest Superior Beasts, their might became evident. If a battle really broke out, the only people facing extermination were the Holy Flame Empire's nobles.
The cloud of almost one thousand winged beasts alarmed all of them. No matter where they stood, they could clearly witness the scene.
The demonic beasts were not willing to sit and wait for death. Thus, now the hunters became the preys.
Of the one-hundred-eight contestants, Konrad excluded, there were forty-four Arch Knights and among those, twenty at the second step or above.
Individually, there was no superior beast those Arch Knights couldn't slay. However, even if they all joined force, they couldn't slaughter the three hundred leading Superior Beasts.
"This is nothing like the previous competitions. The numbers are abnormal. Is the Holy Flame Church trying to get us all killed? Knowing these numbers, why is it that this time they specifically asked us to slaughter all beasts within the first and second level? Even if it were only the first, it would be impossible. Now we've antagonized all the Superior Beasts of the second level, leading them to gather this army."
Koloman despaired. It was impossible for the Holy Flame Church not to know the current composition of the Prism World. It was also impossible for them not to know what would happen.
A trap. Like sheep, they'd driven themselves into a deadly trap. But what was the church's goal?
"If we can slaughter the leading Superior Beasts, their army will disperse. The problem is that we're scattered while they're all together.
And even if we formed one group…slaying I don't know how many Superior Beasts within that army is…impossible."
Holger concluded upon assessing the situation.
At that time, a stampede of thousands of demonic beasts marching in one unit began. And the earth shivered.
"Run! We must flee the forest!"
That same thought swirled through the minds of all the contestants. A barrier surrounding the forest prevented the demonic beasts from escaping it regardless of their cultivation level. Therefore, as long as they managed to exit, they were out of danger.
Most of the contestants only used the competition as an opportunity to temper themselves and challenge their rivals. Not many truly hoped to seize the Holy Flame Baptism quota.
They were not going to throw away their lives for a simple competition. Alas, even fleeing came at a price.
The nearly one thousand "man" strong horde of flying beast flew to survey the limits of the Prism Forest, and although it was too vast for them to completely cover, they could at least pluck some of the fleeing contestants.
The advantage of flight quickly showed itself. Spells from Voracious and Superior Beasts came crashing from above and tore through a dozen of the fleeing contestants.
However, even their screams were muffled by the advance of the army.
Even the von Jurgen team readied itself for a getaway. Although they couldn't change the situation, they would have no problem fighting their way out if need be. In any case, Holger had been ordered by Konrad to feign injury for the next round. Therefore, he had no misgivings.
It would be best if they all failed.
However, he was bound to be disappointed.
"With your bloodline level, you can use your demonic energy to directly subdue beasts beneath the Accursed Rank. You can directly brand them with the mark of servitude. Unfortunately, you don't have a reliable space treasure at hand to hide them."
"Why didn't you say that sooner? That's easily solved."
Konrad entered the system and exchanged 150,000 exp for a low-grade Arch level space treasure whose shape could be changed at will. He also used the opportunity to trade 270,000 exp and promote his Hundred Flowers Scripture to the Arch level. His exp count dropped to 11,953,225.
He then sat cross-legged to wait for the chaos to subside.
Soon enough, all the contestants fled the forest, leaving only the still vigilant demonic beasts to patrol the surroundings.
Satisfied, Konrad stealthily stepped toward the center where the leading Superior Beasts gathered and emerged from the shadows.
As soon as he appeared, their ire fell upon him. But before they could make a move, vast demonic energy erupted from his body alongside demonic glyphs that barreled into them, subverted their minds, and forced them onto their knees. Without a sound, three hundred Superior Beasts lowered their heads and chose submission.
Using them, Konrad lured in the thousands of patrolling beasts and subdued them all the same. The scene was a marvel.
He then packed all of them into his new space treasure which he shaped into a mini-paper talisman and hid within his sleeve.
Afterward, he returned to the third level to carry on recruitment.
Since he'd already started, he might as well do it thoroughly.