Just as Xuefeng replied, three black dots appeared in the sky. All of them enlarged at the same time and each produced a metallic figure which dropped to the ground.
Thud! Thud! Thud!
Three metal golems created holes in the arena as they smashed to the ground. They moved flexibly as if they were not made from metal and straightened up, staring at Xuefeng with their red eyes.
"Cool!" Xuefeng exclaimed, getting even more excited. He felt as if he was about to play one of the fighter games from his past.
'Please pick your fighter.'
The robotic voice called out to him and the three golems stood still, waiting for his decision.
"Can I receive some information about the fighters?" Xuefeng asked, seeing that each golem was different.
Each had a different size so he didn't want to choose blindly. Thankfully, the Spirit didn't disappointed him
'Sure. The size of the fighter determines their dexterity, strength and durability. The biggest one will have better strength and durability while lower dexterity. The same concept applies to the smallest fighter. By sacrificing the other two traits, he gains on speed and flexibility. The middle one has everything in balance.'
"How about the hole in their chests?" Xuefeng questioned, noticing another detail. Despite being different, all fighters had a similar-sized socket in their chests.
The Trial Spirit paused for a moment before finally replying.
'One is supposed to choose it afterward but since you already asked, I can explain it now.'
As he spoke, nine pillars grew from the ground. Each had a colored crystal on top.
'Each crystal represent a different element. You can only choose one element and later fill the crystal with your Qi which you need to control the golem. To pass the trial, you have to win all rounds without using up all your Qi. Naturally, if your crystal breaks during battle, you will lose as well.'
The Trial Spirit explained and added, 'Please take note, the bigger the fighter, the more Qi is required to control it. I suggest on paying attention to the amount of Qi left. You can not refill the crystal until the last round.'
"Oh, thanks for the advice," Xuefeng bowed in gratitude and asked curiously, "I wonder, isn't it Metal Inheritance Trial? Why can I use other elements?"
The Trial Spirit didn't shy from the answer as he explained.
'All elements have the same origin. Only mastering all of them together will give you real strength. We don't think of elements as separate as thousands of years ago, there was only one element. Unfortunately, it was too hard to master so a decision was made to split it into nine. This way, one could master each smaller pieces to one day connect them all into one true element-'
"Fate," Xuefeng finished for him.
'Indeed. Fate. Anyway, one need to know how to control Qi well to master Metal Element. This is what the trial is testing.'
Xuefeng finally understood why one could pass the trial without Metal Qi at all. It was all about the control. Even if one had Metal Qi, they still needed to control it well to succeed.
'What do you think? Which should I choose? I'm think the middle one would be best,' Xuefeng asked in his mind, getting advice from the experts. 'You said you will teach me skills. Which Element shall we pick?'
'Pick Earth Element and the biggest golem,' Ming decided without much hesitation.
'Are you sure? We will be really slow,' Xuefeng questioned but Ming assured him, 'Don't worry, we don't need speed. We need power. I will teach you some Forbidden Arts which will balance things out.'
Xuefeng wanted to ask her more details but the Trial Spirit hurried him.
'Please, pick your fighter.'
"I pick the biggest one and the Earth Element crystal," Xuefeng chose, trusting Ming's decision.
Without waiting, two holes appeared beneath the two unwanted golems and they fell into nothingness together with other eight pillars. Only the big guy and a green crystal were left behind.
'Please prepare yourself for the battle. One minute till round one starts.'
He was about to be thankful to the trial Spirit for being so kind to explain everything to him yet he never heard anything about one minute countdown.
"Damn," Xuefeng cursed and quickly grabbed the green crystal into his hand. 'Ling, put as much Earth Qi inside as you can!'
'On it!' Ling reported and he felt as if a whirlpool appeared inside his stomach.
All his Earth Qi got momentarily sucked away from his Dantain and transferred into the crystal. Having extra time, Ling began creating new Earth Qi just to give Xuefeng an additional advantage. The crystal could hold much more Qi than a normal human could produce so it was perfect for him.
Taking this opportunity as Ling was still busy, Xuefeng questioned, 'What do you mean by Forbidden Arts?'
'I meant arts that are forbidden from usage because they are too overpowered and deadly. If you use them in the Upper Realms, you might be targeted by everyone,' Ming replied simply, having no worries in her voice.
'...' Xuefeng didn't know how to comment on that. She literally give him the exact reason why they shouldn't use those arts as if that would convince him.
She seemed to guess his worries as she quickly reminded him, 'Did you forget that you have the Elemental Bracelet? All Gods will try to find and kill you the moment they feel the bracelet existence. You can't run away from them so it's best to have something to fight them.'
'I'm done! The crystal is full,' Ling called out, cutting in their conversation and sided with her mom. 'Xuefeng, remember that the arts are just the tool. How and where you use them is up to you. Those arts were forbidden because people misuse them, doing bad deeds. You are much better than them.'
They were right.
He thought of the women he loved and didn't hesitate anymore. He needed something to protect them and right now, he was weak.
'Alright, you are right. Let's do this,' Xuefeng finally agreed.
'Fifteen seconds left.'
The Trial Spirit announced and Xuefeng walked up to his golem, ready to insert the crystal into its chest. It was more than three meters tall so he jumped and smacked the crystal into the socket.
The golem flinched as if he was struck by the lightning and Xuefeng spread the Earth Qi throughout the golems body, trying to fill all the empty space. Xuefeng already had experience with his clones so it wasn't that big of a challenge.
Xuefeng tested the golem, making two steps forward and smiled. He could move the metal golem without much problems as if it was his own body. Although it was slow as he expected, he could feel the power he would have in the giant fists of his.
'Round one will start in three... two.... one...'
The Trial Spirit counted down and they heard a big dong throughout the arena, announcing that round one started.
He thought he would fight many opponents from the start but only one hole appeared in the sky on the other side of the arena, spawning a similar looking golem, having a red crystal inside of his chest.
'I'm creating the art for you now. Give me a second. I never did it in the past. You can keep the golem busy for a moment.' Ming called out just when the enemy golem launched itself at them, running at full speed like a bull.
'Damn, I thought you have it already,' Xuefeng cursed again, not expecting the change of plans and quickly sat down cross legged. He closed his eyes and at the same time, the golem's eyes opened, shining with bright green light.