"Arghhh!" a pained shout echoed through the forest as yet another student was eliminated by Sophie.
She ducked and weaved through the focused fire of the enemies on her left side before retaliating by flinging out clumps of dirt to blind their eyesight.
"Frostborn Gauntlet!" Sophie roared as her hands turned an icy blue colour before punching straight through the armour of two Mendolesa warriors blocking her path.
She shot a Servie who was trying to cast a spell, but the quick-witted fairy creature zipped away before her attack could land.
Sophie sighed in frustration but just continued to run frantically away from her pursuers while Astrid slept peacefully on her back.
They say that misfortune does not come alone and just as Sophie and Astrid were moving away from their hideout, several hunting squad surrounded their location.
Worse still, there was a student with a tracking ability amongst them, but Sophie managed to eliminate him once she identified which one it was.
Astrid casted a spell to transform the ground into mud during a critical moment but this mana expenditure seemed to be too much as she immediately fainted.
Sophie was not one to miss opportunities and managed to eliminate an additional five members of the squad before fleeing into the dense jungle.
These opponents would ordinarily not be her match in speed, but the added weight of Astrid was slowing her down.
A sense of danger was felt from behind her and Sophie trusted her instincts enough to promptly tilt her head to the side.
This saved her life as a fierce wave of sword qi narrowly brushed against her cheek which caused a small line of blood to appear.
Sophie's eyes begun to turn as red as the blood dripping down her cheek, but Sophie bit her tongue to snap herself out of this new state.
"F.u.c.k!" Sophie muttered as she halted her footsteps.
In front of her was an enormous cliff with a height that seemed to soar to the heavens.
There were no rocks or foot holds to climb up and it was obvious that climbing would put the duo in a vulnerable position.
"There they are!" came an excited cry.
Sophie narrowed her eyes as one student after another walked confidently towards them.
With her back against the cliff, it would seem that she would need to fight off all the pursuers while trying to protect Astrid.
Sophie tightened her grip on her blaster pistol in her right hand and slowly reached into her left pocket to grab the other one.
It was a real shame that most of her cultivation techniques were only usable with a whip and Sophie had been unlucky enough to not manage to find one among all the crates that she had looted.
Just as she bent in knees in preparation for the fight ahead. something unexpected happened.
"Where did they go?!" one of the hunters yelled.
"I swear they were just here!"
The leading student who had launched a fierce sword attack against Sophie was suddenly looking around as if she had lost sight of the pair right before her eyes.
"Check the surroundings, they can't have gone far!" another student reasoned.
Sophie froze in shock as every single one of the students started to act as if Astrid and she did not exist.
They were both in the open with no cover or trees blocking their figures from the enemy, but it was like their presence had been erased.
Curses and arguments erupted amongst the students as each split up and headed into separate directions to search.
Some even attempted to scale the cliff or feel around its surface in hopes of finding the hidden area that the duo was hiding in.
Sophie did not let down her guard and walked cautiously away from the group but surprisingly enough.no one followed them.
The students did not seem to be under an illusion matrix and there seemed to be no vestiges of mental force used.
Yet Sophie was unable to suppress her curiosity and her golden eyes darkened in colour as she shot one final look towards the group to search for any clues.
Each student outwardly appeared normal but there seemed to be a tiny white fog swirling gently inside their eyes.
Who would be able to manipulate the sight of dozens of qi body cultivators? Even the qi spirit stage was not so powerful.
Sophie was unsure whether or not her golden eyes would be able to handle this mysterious technique.
The duo vanished into the forest while the students who were hunting them had a big argument about continuing the pursuit or to look for new targets.
No one noticed a black-haired girl with glasses silently walking through the crowd and gazing at the direction Sophie just left in.
(30 minutes later)
Astrid was still snoring loudly, but Sophie did not relax her vigilant state until they arrived at the shore of a lake with no people that she could sense nearby.
She checked the holographic map on the device and let out a deep sigh of relief. No eliminations had taken place in this area.
"You owe me for this," came a whisper from behind Sophie's back.
Sophie turned around with a pistol ready to fire but halted her movements abruptly when she saw Qiana lazily relaxing on the ground.
"What happened to wolf girl over there?" Qiana asked nonchalantly but Sophie could see a trace of concern in her eyes.
"Astrid got injured but it's not enough to activate the barrier device. In about two days time she should be fully healed once the spell works," Sophie explained.
Qiana frowned and placed her thumb on a ring which caused a large amount of supplies to suddenly appear.
There were nutrient vials, a whole arsenal of weapons, tents, and various parchments. It appeared that Qiana had managed to grab herself a spatial treasure during the exam.
She rummaged around the crates until she found a needle filled with a purplish solution. Sophie recognised it as a high-quality gene stimulating drug capable of speeding up the healing process.
Astrid groaned in pain when the drug was injected into her body, but Sophie could see the flesh wriggling around the open wounds as they began to rapidly heal.
Qiana had never joined in one of the spars so Sophie had no knowledge of her cultivation level or realm but it obvious now that this plain looking girl was very dangerous.
"I'll stay with you until the exams finish," Qiana declared and then reached for some tents to get them set up.
Her collection of loot from other students may seem impressive but Qiana was not about to claim that she was guaranteed to survive until the final day.
It would be better to group up allies that she could trust.
Well. relatively trust. Qiana never fully trusted anyone.
House Abazin had passed on the family techniques to her, but they were not as powerful as Sophie had assumed. Her family mainly used these techniques for escaping dangerous situations.
The technique required her full concentration to utilise so it would be impossible to either attack or defend with qi without breaking the technique.
Many assumed that the technique was illusion or hypnosis in nature but that would be wrong.
Her technique relied on electrical manipulation.
Qiana was able to modify the electric signals sent to the brain by the nerves in the sensory organs of the body to create a false image in her enemies' minds.
The art was called Lighting Transmission and it only worked on individuals with an electrical nervous system so the liquid- form Quafes were immune.
"Hey Qiana," Sophie suddenly spoke while Qiana was busy setting up the tents.
"What?" came an irritated reply.
Qiana said nothing and continued to build the portable tents but a faint reddish tinge could be seen creeping up the tips of her ears.