The person before Kieran was tall and buff but he had an ugly and vicious face.
Underneath his wide mouth, there was a bunch of rotten teeth. He held a long bloody knife in his hand and the head on the floor made him look more ferocious as killing intent was erupting from the man.
Kieran looked at him calmly. Not only because his strength was enough to handle the situation but because the little clues that the man gave away.
He might look ferocious and was erupting killing intent but it was just for show, there was no real intent to kill within.
Even though Kieran was berated by the man, he didn't feel any discomfort or nervousness from the gaze.
In other words, the man was putting up an act and as for why?
The Sanctuary Trials!
Other than that, Kieran couldn't think of anything else.
"The moment I stepped onto the ship, the trials had begun? Then is this one of them as well?"
Kieran's glanced over at the head beside his leg, Azinder was clenching his teeth, seemingly suffering quite a bit before he died.
If it was the real trial, Azinder wouldn't die. In fact, the one who was thrown into the sea was also part of the trials.
Yet, the blood on the head was real. Kieran wouldn't mistake the smell of fresh blood with his heightened senses.
For the head itself though, Kieran took it up and the moment his finger touched it, he knew whether it was fake or not.
"A fake head made out of clay?" Kieran asked in shock.
The way the man threw the head to Kieran was rough, it bumped on the floor and rolled over and with the fragileness of harden clay, it should have broken the moment it was thrown on the ground. No doubt something was stuffed inside the clay head.
"When did you realized all this?"
The man who barged in with the ferocious look couldn't help but lowered his bloody knife when Kieran started to check the clay head. He asked Kieran with an inconceivable gaze.
The voice that came from the man though... it was Azinder's!
Since he was discovered, there was no need for disguises anymore. Azinder removed the disguise on his body and returned to his original looks from before.
"Where did I show my flaws?" He couldn't help but ask.
Whether was it the timing, or the distributions of props, Azinder thought it was flawless.
The other trial goers that fell victim to his trick proved that as well.
But for Kieran
The meeting before made Azinder feel that Kieran was a tough one, therefore he decided proceed with his plan himself, yet he still screwed up.
"There was no killing intention, or should I say it was just for show. So can you tell me what is going on here?"
Kieran could only guess about half of the situation but he was hoping to listen to the complete version of the story.
"The moment all the candidates stepped onto the ship, the trial had begun! Let me reintroduce myself, I am the elementary overseer, Azinder!"
Azinder shrugged helplessly and reintroduced himself, though he didn't extend his hand for a shake like he did before but instead performed an old salutation of the ancient knights.
"2567." Kieran stood up and replied with a similar salutation.
"The famous Bird of Death and the Fiery Devil is much stronger than I expected! Congratulations! As the only candidate that discovered my flaw, you have passed the initial trial!" Azinder said with a smile.
"Discovering the flaw was the criteria to pass the initial trial?" Kieran asked.
"Of course not! Courage, Justice, Wisdom and Empathy, if the candidates show anyone of the virtues, they are allowed to pass! But, the sad thing was, the other candidates that shared the same trip didn't have all these virtues. They are cold by nature, unwilling to lend a hand to the sailors aboard in times of harshness, they also lacked true courage as well! If without sufficient benefits, they are just a bunch of cowards and when more benefits are involved, they will be blinded completely!" Azinder shook his head.
"Only one of those virtues will do?"
Although Kieran didn't know a lot about the Sanctuary Holy Knights, according to his guess, it wouldn't be this easy,only having one of the virtues to pass the initial trials.
"Well, if a few hundred years ago, a candidate would need to possess all four but now"
"The reason that the Sanctuary had gotten through 1,500 years safely and without being affected by the disruption of the inheritance, it was not because its location was secluded enough but also sufficient adaptability!"
The moment Azinder revealed the story behind, he wasn't showing a proud face but instead it was a little helpless mixed with a slight sense of awkwardness.
Though, Kieran could tell Azinder was still hiding something, he understood the situation well and didn't press the question.
If he'd press the question with his current identity, he would get nothing in return and on top of that, he will cause awkwardness in their seemingly friendly conversation.
Kieran then swiftly switched the topic.
"Can you tell me more about this trial? Other than having the title of a reserve knight, Boller never told me anything else." Kieran asked the question that bothered him the most and the one thing he wanted to know.
"Of course! As the candidate who passed the initial trial, 2567, now you have the right to know everything. We'll be carrying on with our journey soon and by sunset tomorrow, we will reach the trial island, also known as Final Island by others. Then, you will have to face the trials and tests further ahead!" Azinder said.
Kieran instantly raised a brow. "So this is all I am allowed to know for now?"
Kieran heighted up his tone, emphasizing whether Azinder missed out anything.
Azinder's explanation was not informative at all.
"Yes. This is all you need to know for now. In fact, for the upcoming trials and test, even I as the initial overseer wouldn't know what lies ahead, but I can give you a personal tip, best rest up your energy before landing on Final Island." Azinder was quite serious this time around, but he didn't explain much more.
He bent down and picked up the clay head before heading out.
After the cabin door closed, Keiran was the only one left in the cabin.
He was thinking about the matter with furrowed brows.
He was rather dubious about the phrase "even I as the initial overseer wouldn't know what lies ahead" that Azinder mentioned, because it contradicted the personal tip that he gave.
Though, it wouldn't be right to say that he was lying, it might be him giving tips because of his previous experience as well.
Whichever it was, Kieran knew the main course was waiting for him. What he had just experienced was just an appetizer.
"Final Island?" Kieran muttered the name that felt ominous.
The ship then set sail once more and was sailing faster than before.
No doubt, there was no need for concealing anymore since Azinder has completed his mission.
The ship sailed full speed ahead, moving through the icy sea and the dark night.
As the sun rose and set again, a small island was within sight.
The sunset glory bathed the icy sea and the island which was also covered in ice with red warmth. The island looked like it was on fire from afar and also looked like a blood jade.
Kieran who was already on top of the deck and was inspecting the island before his eyes.
What he saw though had shocked him for a while.
A person that shouldn't be there appeared within his sight.