The 8 students finally saw just how destroyed everyone looked with their faces that seemed like they hadn't eaten anything in days.

"Are you all okay now?" the prince asked.

"We are doing much better, your highness," one of the people answered with a weak voice. "I'm glad you were fine, your highness."

"I got lucky," the prince said. "Anyway, continue resting, and don't worry about the competition. The 8 of us made it through to the next round."

The few students that were gathered couldn't believe it. "What? You… you guys joined? How many?"

"8 of us," the prince answered. "4 of them are even the new students that joined just half a year ago."

"And you all made it past the first round? That's…"

All the students were surprised. They talked for a bit while the teachers went to complain to the Light Dance academy staff. Someone had poisoned them and as the host, it was their responsibility to make sure that didn't happen.

It had nothing to do with Ning though, so he went back to the room and started absorbing Essence. He had used a bit already, so he needed to catch up.

"You!" a voice called for him just as he was starting. He opened his eyes and saw the prince in front of him.

"Yes, prince?" he asked.

"I didn't see any storage artifacts on you. Have you not brought anything?" the prince asked.

"I only had some clothes to bring with me, and they're over there in that closet," Ning pointed.

The prince frowned a bit. "And… how are you planning to restore the Essence you used today? Isn't Pure Essence notoriously hard to absorb?" he asked.

"Well, once the night falls and the moon comes out, I can start absorbing moonlight Essence," Ning said.

"That's still slow, isn't it?" the prince said. "You don't have a moonlight core. You have a Pure core."

"That… is true," Ning said. "But I can't help it."

"You may not, but I can," the prince said. He waved his hand and a white crystal with a slightly blue hue came out of his storage.

"Take this. It's about 90% pure," the prince said. "You did well today in the competition, so I'm giving this to you. I hope you'll continue doing well from here on out as well."

"Thank you, your Highness," Ning said with a great smile as he took the crystal. He wasn't going to refuse anything that was given to him for free after all.

He started absorbing the Essence once they were done with dinner. The group had special people test the food before eating it this time around after learning from past mistakes.

Once they were done, Ning finally started absorbing Essence until about midnight. Once his Core was full, he stopped, putting the remaining crystal into his closet and going to sleep.

There was absolutely no point in trying to absorb everything when he would most likely need it again the next day over as well.

The night passed and the sun came back up along with the other moon in the sky. After having their breakfast, the group left for the arena again. This time around, everyone could go.

Of course, not everyone could take part.

The eight split away from the group, taken away by the teacher to the hall where they waited for the competition to start again.

The competition started in the 24th match. After 5 matches, it was the Prince's bodyguard's turn to fight.

He easily won against an Essence Manifestation rank opponent without even using his Essence Soul. All he used was the fire sword on his waist, not letting anyone know what he was capable of.

It was a long while before another person from their group had to fight. Their next match was Tenn against another Essence Manifestation realm participant. Due to how the competition was structured, there were only 6 such fights possible.

His was the 41st fight and he fought his damn hardest to win. Both fighters were equal in almost every regard, so the victor came down to the judges after the time was up.

The next one up was the Princess.

Ning wondered what the Princess was going to do as she only had Moonlight Essence. While quite pure, it was still an elemental essence, a sub-type of light essence. As such, it certainly didn't have access to a lot of skills.

Ning got to see nothing from her fight, unfortunately. The princess just wasn't pushed far enough to use any skills that were notable in the fight.

She used her light sword and won against her enemy easily.

The next person to fight was Yorsha.

The red-haired girl went over to the stage and waited for her fight to start. Her enemy was another person with an Essence Soul, so from the very start, she had to bring out her all to win in this match.

Her opponent, a ma with long black hair was someone who was much older than her and looked strong as well.

The battle started and the man attacked. He laughed water attacks at her.

Suddenly, the water turned into steam, exploding as its volume expanded at once. Even through the thick steam, one could see a slightly red haze inside it.

A layer of fire had appeared around Yorsha's body, spreading a meter around her. While the fire itself didn't look strong, her opponent couldn't help but get terrified as the temperature of the arena increased sharply.

The temperature continued to soar even though the man poured as much water as he could to drop it. The girl simply increased it relentlessly.

Some people in the crowd recognized what she was doing. The legendary skill known as the Burning Sun that belonged to the Ulyrus family, the ruler of the Redraven region was something these people had not expected to see today.

So, when the young man gave up in the end instead of potentially getting burned, no one could blame him for it at all.