676 First Trial 2
After understanding this point, Dyon didn't hesitate. He immediately picked a random direction and entered the maze. With his every movement, he etched more and more of the maze into his mind.
He had to admit that the mental fatigue of doing such a thing without the support of his soul was exceedingly high. It seemed it had taken for granted the kind of replenishing effect the soul could have on his mind and its stamina. It was no wonder that he could always be so focused, he had his soul to thank.
Unfortunately, his soul was now locked away, and a trial that would have been easy beyond belief to him before, had suddenly become a life or death stake. If he couldn't make it out of here, what would happen? He couldn't exactly use an 'exit' button as though this was a video game.
The terms were clear. There was only a chance to give up between trials and between individual trial challenges. Never during continuous trials.
To that end, whether Dyon was stuck in here forever, or if he found the exit, all of this was up to him.
Even worse, if he wanted to complete this trial perfectly, he would have to do so within a certain time limit. This would affect his rewards.
Some trials had time limits, while others had completion percentages. However, what Dyon didn't know was that the time limit to complete this maze and achieve a perfect score displayed just how difficult it was.
No one would ever think that the God trials were easy. In fact, one could say that they were impossible. And to achieve perfect rewards from them? Such a thing was as difficult as ascending the heavens.
And yet, the time limit for a perfect prize for this maze was… Ten years.
Dyon sprinted without rest. His eyes darted from left to right, constantly scanning his surroundings.
Not only was he calculating the distance he had run, he was also simultaneously drawing a map of the routes he had chosen and the ones he had ignored.
Without a real direction, Dyon decided to go with conventional wisdom and assume that the exit was on the outside since he had started directly in the middle.
It had, of course, occurred to Dyon that he had no real way of knowing he had started in the middle considering what the walls had put him through, but that was a possibility he saved at the back of his mind. He wouldn't forget it. In fact, he was constantly picking up clues to decide whether or not his hypotheses were correct, but at the moment, it didn't seem important one way or another.
This trial, though, was quite a surprise to Dyon. Although he had a lot of information about the Epistemic Tower, one that was wholly lacking was information on the trials themselves. When he had asked his grand teacher, he had remained mum about it.
So, for the first trial to be one of intellect, was surprising.
However, despite not knowing the time limit, Dyon could tell that it must be very long with all of the subtle clues he was picking up on.
A martial artist could live without food for years, even decades at Dyon's level. And, that's assuming that they absorb no energy. And yet, Dyon could feel a constant stream of energy flowing into him to stave off his hunger. This meant only one thing: the trial was possibly long enough for even martial artists to feel hunger to the point of death.
That aside, there was another thing that Dyon noticed. At the moment, the trial was much too straight forward.
Yes, it was true that there were easily thousands of paths, and yes, it wasn't necessarily easy to remember all of them. But, one had to remember that martial artists were able to birth photographic memories within themselves as they improved in their cultivation.
Dyon had already realized that as long as he measured his distance run, and constantly paired it with the map he was memorizing, it would only be a matter of time before he reach the very edge of the maze.
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The concept was simple. All Dyon had to do was maintain his sense of direction and constantly sprint away from the center. If he reached a dead end, he would only have to back track, use a route he hadn't chosen, and continue pushing forward.
Eventually, the map of unused routes he had memorized would merge with his used routes, something made possible by his diligently keeping track of distance and length of routes, and as such, he could constantly ensure that he was moving toward the edge with the most efficiency possible.
There was also a second benefit to this. Because he was keeping track of distance, and also trying his best to maintain either forward or lateral movement, with very little backward movement, he could also begin to measure whether or not he truly began in the middle.
The reasoning was simple. As Dyon moved laterally, assuming the maze followed a circular pattern as dictated by its curved walls, he could judge whether he was moving further forward or not depending on the lateral movement. Essentially, if he found that he could only move forward easily if he coupled it with a left lateral movement, then it was likely that he had started to the right of the maze. The vice versa was also true.
What would this mean? It meant that if he found it easier to move forward when moving laterally in one particular direction, he wasn't actually making his way to edge. Instead, he was making his way to the center! This was because if he started to the edge to begin with, there would be more options in one direction versus another unless he was magically moving straight for the edge.
The question Dyon would have to answer for himself was whether or not this was good. Should he be making his way to the center? Or should he be making his way to the edge?
When dealing with a trial with no instructions, Dyon followed his instincts, immediately choosing the tougher rode. The moment he noticed that it was in fact easier to move forward when he shifted leftward, Dyon began to bias his lateral movement back to right.
When he noticed it became easier to move forward when moving laterally to the right, he again changed his tactics and biased his lateral movements to the left. All this meant was that he had gone too far right and was on the other edge of his starting point.
Dyon's mind worked on overdrive, tearing the maze apart with his gaze as days became weeks, and weeks became months.
If one had to describe Dyon's intelligence, they wouldn't have the words to do so. As Dyon's grand teacher watched from above, he almost doubted himself. Did he make the God trial too easy? Ridiculous. Dyon was simply a monster. A normal individual wouldn't have even considered the fact their starting point was the middle until years had flown by, and yet Dyon did within the first few minutes!
If this was even the Emperor level trial, Dyon would have completed it in a month! If he had his soul strength, even a week would be too long!
However, this trial wasn't over just yet.
As months became a year, then a year and a half, the mental fatigue began to wear on even Dyon.
He had been sprinting none stop for almost two years, but that wasn't the issue. The energy of the world replenished him constantly so that the physical aspects of this trial were done away with completely. But, Dyon's focus was waning. Even his vision threatened to blur.
Without his soul strength to energize his mind, it was a miracle that he had lasted even this long. It was a testament to the strength of mind his soul had built for him before it was forcibly locked away.
At seemingly his lowest point, something occurred that made Dyon laugh bitterly. After almost two years in this dark maze, he had almost hoped that this wouldn't happen. But, who knew that this trial would wait until he was on his last legs to pull this trick.
Just as Dyon moved to enter an opening in the wall, it shifted. Dyon skidded to a halt, watching as the maze and ground beneath his feet whirred to life with a dull look in his eyes.
The entire map that Dyon had spent the past two years memorizing and clinging onto for dear life was now useless.
He had no idea where he was. Maybe he was deposited right in the center? Maybe he was near the edge and didn't even know it?
He could always start again, but he couldn't help but feel that all of his progress meant absolutely nothing. Not to mention the fact there was no guarantee that the walls wouldn't shift again…
The God trial had finally bared its fangs.