" Your test area is now complete! You may proceed to start your evaluation" The mechanical voice said as steam powered pistons made a *Hissss* sound as they moved old levels to reveal a hidden door in the room not present before.
Max walked to the hidden door and could see a vast expanse of tropical forest land on the other side, far larger than the room itself was, in what seemed to be a clear violation of laws of physics.
Max walked through the door and into the tropical forest as the door behind him disappeared and a system screen appeared in front.
[ You are currently undertaking a tier promotion test for the Blood Shaman Class.
Here are the evaluation guidelines
Stage 1 : Mana testing stage - ( Details will be revealed soon )
Clear Stage 1 under 4 minutes - SSS rating
Clear Stage 1 under 4 minutes 5 seconds - SS+
Clear Stage 1 under 4 minutes 15 seconds - S rating
Clear Stage 1 under 6 minutes - B rating
Clear Stage 1 under 7 minutes 22 seconds - Barely passing
Stage 2 - Aptitude testing stage ( Details will be revealed if stage 1 is cleared )
Stage 3 - Will Testing stage ( Will only be triggered if contestant gets S ranking or above in stages 1 and 2 )
Final Rating - Depends on evaluation of stages 1, 2 for ratings lower than S.
Depends on stage 3 for special rewards.
Does the contestant understand?
Max clicked on ' Yes ' although the message prompt was vague as fuck, as except the testing stage names and their general requirements he did not learn much of anything.
[ Stage 1 - Mana testing stage!
Goal - Solve the given puzzle by guiding the small ball of anti-mana through the mana maze towards the mana pit in the centre.
Note - The ball will be repelled by approaching mana. The contestant can only send mana in small quantities with extreme precision to guide the ball through the maze.
For every time the ball is destroyed, a time penalty of 30 seconds will be imposed
The stage will start in 30 seconds, goodluck contestant! ]
Max read the system prompt carefully and then looked at the puzzle box.
It was exactly like the one he had as a child on a keychain where he would rotate the keychain like a gyroscope to get the small metal ball to the centre of the maze.
The only difference was, the maze here was much more complicated and the ball was much harder to manoeuvre.
A quick glance at the maze made Max realise that the structure was bloody complex with many wrong dead-ends made in a way that would force mana to bounce back and become thicker, causing the ball inside to burst.
One needed extreme precision to solve the puzzle and while if one was patient enough with it they could solve it around the 5-6 minute mark, Max had to aim for under 4 minutes and for that he had to be bold.
[ The stage will start in 5..4…3.. 2…1 ]
Max decided to be bold with this, he had tried to solve the puzzle with his eyes alone and chart a path, but there were just too many channels and it was impossible for him to understand them all at just a glance.
So he decided to flood the puzzle with mana once, so that he could get a mapping of every channel and know which one to use later on.
It would cost him 30 seconds, but it was the best way to move forward in his opinion.
[ Stage start! 00:00:00 ]
Max immediately flooded the maze with his mana and destroyed the small anti-mana ball with a pop as the entire structure was flooded with Max's mana.
For someone who could not sense mana just until a year and a half ago, Max had come a long way.
He had not only unlocked his mana veins and started sensing mana, because of his late development of the sense, he was always more cautious towards it, more sensing and more nurturing as just the feeling of being able to sense mana was a blessing for him unlike most people.
This made it extremely easy for Max to send his mana through the Unknown puzzle as if he was sensing an unknown mana circuit, as within 5 seconds he understood the path he needed to take to get the ball to the destination.
[ Stage 1 00:35:45 ]
Max looked at the clock and sucked in a breath of cold air as he retracted all the mana he had poured into it prior and soon the second anti-mana ball appeared within the puzzle.
Very gently Max began to pour a small stream of mana inside as the ball was slowly pushed away from the stream as if it was the opposite pole of a magnet being pushed away by compulsion.
His mana stream was extremely steady and slow, like an injection needle slowly pouring medicine into one's bloodstream as Max guided the ball perfectly in the path that he had memorized.
While pushing the ball up the maze in a straight channel was easy, the difficult part was to make it turn as it needed Max to have extreme precision pushing an already 1 cm thin stream of mana to elongate from the left side more than the right to create a gentle curvature and force the ball to move in a certain direction.
It was a time consuming process and one needed to have perfect focus as a push too hard and the ball would inevitably pop.
The next 3 minutes flew by like they were a second for Max as he was completely focused on the job, his only focus being on guiding the ball to the destination as by the time his eyes ran over the clock he was very close to the deadline.
[ Stage 1 03:44:01 ]
Max yelped, he still had two more turns to go, as he began pushing ever slightly more so that the ball reach the destination faster.
Max was taking a gamble by pushing the ball so fast, if it popped he would need to start from the start again and might not even pass the stage at all, however, he wanted to go big or go home.
Luckily or through pure skill, he did make it and right in time at that as a mechanical voice informed him about his success.
[ You have cleared stage 1 in 03:58:96
Final evaluation - SSS ]
" Hell yeah! " Max shouted in joy as he slumped to the ground covered in sweat and feeling out of breath.
Only now did Max realise that he had been so focused on guiding the ball that he had forgotten to breathe during the test, however thankfully it had all paid off.
For an individual who could not sense mana for so long, completing a mana test with a SSS rating was the definition of how he had turned his life
Feeling teary eyed, Max looked towards the cieling as he said " Brother, Hazriel, are you guys watching? "
Wiping the slight moisture off, Max sighed deeply as he got up and dusted himself off.
The rainforest around him was oddly calm with not a single insect making a noise as Max shrugged his shoulders and decided to ignore the wierd ways in which the system worked.
[ Congratulations for clearing stage 1
Now you shall attempt stage 2 ' Aptitude Test '
Goal - To test your aptitude to become a worthy blood shaman
Learn 3 blood shaman spells from understanding the diagrams inscribed on the three wooden stones in under 3 hours to beginner proficiency for SSS rating.
Learn 3 blood shaman spells in under 4 hours for S rating
Learn 3 blood shaman spells in under 9 hours 22 minutes to be considered pass
Press Yes to begin the countdown when ready ]
Max's eyes fell on three stones about 300 metres away which looked like they had some inscription on them, but no matter how hard Max tried to peer he could not discern the writing as it appeared hazy.
" I guess I can't cheat the system afterall " Max sighed as he clicked ' Yes ' and prepared to attempt stage 2.
Internally Max was really excited for stage2 as he had never recieved a proper blood shaman class spell before.
Although it was not a spell scroll that allowed one to learn it immediately and he had to learn it the old school way, Max was glad he had the opportunity to study the ways of his class.
Max walked up to the three stones and noticed the writings on top of each.
[ Blood Sacrifice ] - Sacrificing the blood of enemy to the Shaman God ' Angakok ' to refill your own mana bar to full.
[ Curse ] - Curse the seven generations of those who try to steal your treasure or items you wish to curse.
[ Medium Of Power ] - Call on the Shaman God ' Angakok ' and become his medium of power.
Use his divine power to wreak havoc on your enemies
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