Ten figures ran through the corridors and halls of the gigantic maze where the Outer Sect Exam was held.
At the front were Tai Long, the burly man that dressed as a woman, Fan Lai, holding a map and guiding the way, and the servant Solomon who followed his master like a shadow.
Behind them were Xiao Wu, Fu Yin the blue-skinned teenager, the busty woman Yan Rui and the snake-eater Liang Ran.
Finally, watching their backs were Ba Bai, the fatty, the older woman Su Tan and the short man wearing green, Da Bing.
As they dashed through countless corridors and stairs, they saw no other groups such as them or heading towards their same direction.
‘So, we are actually the only ones that seem to have greatly prepared just for this moment…’ Fan Lai pondered as his lips arranged into a bright smile.
He looked around and then turned to speak “Okay everyone, when I tell you to, follow my exact footsteps! There are mechanism hiding in the walls, so be careful!”
After a few more turns the boy stopped, at the same time raising his hand to stop those behinds him as well “Look! If we are not careful, we might end up like that!”
The corridor was at least a thousand meters long, yet, mountains of corpses lined up near the entrance and after a few steps, there were no more piles except from some rare cases a few tens of meters in.
The only exception was one body, laying a few meters from the exit of the death trap, just a few meters before the corridors stopped.
Seeing that one corpse hundreds of meters from the piles of dead bodies, Fu Yin furrowed his brows and smiled amused “It seems we are not the only ones with this piece of information…”
During the time she had ran through the maze, Xiao Wu had the chance to speak with and come to know this strange boy in front of her.
Due to her conclusion, she knew as a fact that the words he spoke were most likely true: while speaking with her or others, Fu Yin had never lied. Even if he had, she did not notice it in any way, so she believed him.
Solomon spoke up “Why do you think that, Junior Fu?” The burly man wearing crimson clothes looked at the young boy, his eyes showing a bit of discontent and, also, fear. Although he referred to Fu Yin as his junior, it could be seen that he still deeply feared the pale blue-skinned boy. More accurately, he feared his strength.
The boy ignored the gaze, simply lifted one of his hands and pointed towards the one body laying on the ground, much further than the others.
“It is because of… him. I find it highly unlikely that a lone man would be able to gain this much information. Even with our cultivation and large numbers we had to spend two whole days to get through this trap the first time. We also lost a few friends in the process…” the boy’s face darkened when he said that: it could be seen he had a few bad memories of the event.
“As for him… He is not only alone, he is also much weaker than any of us here, are you telling me he was able to decipher this death trap in only a few hours? I can’t feel clearly from here, but…” Fu Yin put his hands on the two nails sticking out from his temples.
Sparks appeared and his eyes suddenly turned a brighter shade of blue as two inverted triangles appeared in them “I can see weak Inferior power fluctuations on his body. He is most likely no more than a mid level Inferior stage cultivator…”
At that, Fai Lan’s face also turned darker as he furrowed his brows. Solomon still either didn’t understand or didn’t give up as he gritted his teeth and asked “So what? Couldn’t he just have been lucky to find a map to this place?” The man waved his hands “Maybe one of the senior that passed this trial before gave him one! Or, much simpler, they just flew there! Flight talismans aren’t all that rare…”
The white haired boy shook his head “There is something suppressing our ability to fly in the Maze. Baba, an expert on controlling the air around him to fly, barely has enough strength to leap at our same speed. An Inferior stage kid would never be able to fly across that distance, even with a talisman.”
“As for the first question… Only we know the way to the other side. This is a shortcut that we found by chance, just like those poor souls…” The boy looked at the bodies laying on the ground, hundreds of arrows piercing their bodies and spikes helping the sharp darts in their job.
“The first time we attempted the Trial, we had the luck to stumble upon this place and make a map of this while everyone else simply followed the main route. We are the only ones that are able to pass through this place. You should know that, right?” Fu Yin looked at Solomon with his piercing gaze and he smiled strangely.
Solomon trembled but noticed that the white haired boy had lost all his interest in him.
“Now that begs the question…” Fu Yin looked at Fai Lan.
“… Who gave him the information? No, not him. Who gave them the information.” Following his junior’s train of thoughts, the brown-haired young man thought aloud for everyone to hear it.
“If he were alone he would have been many times more careful, he wouldn’t have fallen for an easy trap such as that one, especially if he had a map with him. He probably was part of a group and was unlucky enough to accidentally trigger the trap that killed him”
Fu Yin nodded, also agreeing with Fan Lan’s thoughts “Thankfully for us, we are lucky that once one gets to the other side they can’t come back through this route, thus the body could not be removed. Truthfully, a chain has the same strength as its weakest ring… He was careless, so he unconsciously betrayed the whole group by dying here” the boy with pale-blue skin shared his thoughts.
“Now, as Leader said before…” He looked at the nine people standing in front of him “Who gave them the information?”
Silence filled the room as each and every person looked at each other: some gazes showed incredulity, others ridicule and others hostility. Solomon’s gaze lit up and looked at the young ‘Xiao Li’ that had just joined them, his eyes looked like they were about to spit out flames.
Xiao Wu was about to say something, however Fu Yin was faster “Xiao W- Ahem, Xiao Li doesn’t know anything about the map, so she just cannot be the traitor. That only leaves us nine brothers, oh what a dilemma this is! Da Bing! Liang Ran! Yan Rui! Tai Lon-”
“Don’t call me with such a manly name! Call me Mei Mei! Or Rou Rou!”
“… They also didn’t know the location of any of the traps, as we had decided as a group to only give information to some of our members. That leaves only me, Leader, Solomon, Su Tan and Baba”
Fu Yin lifted his head towards the four people he mentioned beside himself “Baba and Su Tan also aren’t the culprits, as they only knew the location of a third of the traps and there aren’t any corpses on the other parts of the information they didn’t receive. Only me, Fan Lai and Solomon knew the complete layout. Me because I am the strongest in the group, Fan Lai because he is our Leader and Solomon because he is the second strongest (Sorry Baba your practically useless in combat) as well as Fan Lai’s most trusted servant…”
Fu Yin closed his eyes and pondered for a bit before opening them again “Both you and I have no way of knowing or proving which one of us three is the real culprit or wether we are in this together, so this is my suggestion” He smiled.
“Da Bing, Su Tan and Baba will guard Solomon. Liang Ran, Yan Rui and Tai Long-”
“Call me Mei Mei or Rou Rou!”
“Will guard over Fan Lan. As for me…” Xiao Wu furrowed her brows ‘He won’t be asking for me to watch him, right? On the other hand, there is nobody else!’
The boy winked at the crowd and his next words completely blew away Xiao Wu’s previous thoughts “You can only be trust me and hope I wasn’t the traitor. After all, we have no people here with enough strength to suppress me anyways!”
The girl sweat-dropped ‘So eccentric and cheerful… I bet you and Brother would go along pretty well…’ She lifted her head and listened to Fu Yin as he finished his speech.
“Also, have Xiao Li guide us with the map. He’s the only one you can fully trust as of now! Of course, all these precautions will be useless if one or more people have banded together to do this. Still, if that were the case, we would probably have no chance to survive this anyways…”
Fan Lai nodded “Fu Yin’s arrangement is the one that I believe is the most correct in a situation such as this, especially” he looked towards the white haired teen “since I trust you are not the betrayer. I am sure you won’t let me down… This time, right brother Yin?”
Xiao Wu was confused: did something happen between Fu Yin and Fan Lai in the past?
Fu Yin laughed and nodded “Of course! You can count on me, I won’t make the same mistake twice!”
Although she felt she had just missed something important, Xiao Wu looked at the white haired boy in amazement: the boy had seen a fault in their opponents’ schemes, calmly analyzed the whole situation and gave out a seemingly reasonable solution, all that simply after seeing a single dead body!
It almost looked like… He had prepared everything beforehand! But that couldn’t be it, right?
“Stop right there!” Solomon suddenly shouted as put his hand on his katana’s hilt “You think I will just agree with what you said! Master, don’t trust that guy! Remember that he already betrayed us once! Master shouldn’t-” Fan Lai interrupted Solomon by raising his hand.
He turned towards this servant of his “Solomon, if he truly is the culprit, we will deal with it then. I’d like to think that even a monster like him isn’t able to take care of all of us at once…” The young man sighed “Of course, I hope things won’t have to come to that…”
Fu Yin bowed to Fan Lai “Thanks for giving me a second chance. I won’t fail you!”
The leader of the group nodded and smiled gently. Finally, he hit his chest “Okay! Let’s go! Keep the formation that Fu Yin told us. Xiao Li will be in front and will guide us through the rest of the exam! Good luck everyone!” Fan Lai handed the map to Xiao Wu and then gestured her to go.
Xiao Wu dashed through the corridors, each of her step accurate and gentle, her body moving like the wind: she had learned to move like this by jumping on the rooftops each time she would come back from absorbing the Purple Qi from the East.
Her upper body also didn’t stay still as she waved her arms around, enabling her to change direction as well as switching the position of her body’s center of gravity.
Her feet would barely touch the ground before she leapt again. She felt no pressure from the fact that she was essentially walking over a deathtrap. Instead, she was even calmer than she had been when she had been running on the roofs in the Sixth Ring.
“Xiao Li! Slow down, we can’t keep up!” She turned in mid air and she saw her eight companions struggling to keep up with her speed.
She smiled in her mind ‘I am proud of my speed and flexibility, I would be more shocked if there was anyone who could keep up with me. To me, this is a walk in the park!’
Wait, eight companions?
“Man, you sure are agile! If you weren’t a little girl, I’m sure somebody would have mistaken you for our secretive eleventh companion!” Fu Yin was standing right beside her, his left foot barely stepping on the safe spot.
Had it been just a few millimeters off to the left, he would have already turned into a pale-blue kabab. It truly looked as if… he had learned the locations of all traps beforehand! He surely never ceased to surprise her…
“Wait… Didn’t they not know what he looks like? So, how do you know that he is a boy?” Xiao Wu hid her surprise and instead questioned the boy beside him.
The youth smiled as if he had just remembered a funny story “You see, the first time he showed up he was wearing some kind of mask, so we couldn’t see his face. At the time, he had only showed Fan Lai his true appearance. When he had told us he was a boy and someone asked if he could prove it to us, he pulled his pants down and nonchalantly showed his thing… Yan Rui almost went crazy and raped him on the spot. Had it not been for his incredible strength, right now he would probably be lying somewhere in her hut all dried up!”
Xiao Wu’s cheeks reddened as she thought of the scene. She still was a kid but she still knew that there were some things that shouldn’t be shown to others.
‘I could totally imagine brother Cheng Hao doing it though… Knowing him, that would be nothing for that eccentric brother of mine…’ She imagined the boy pulling down his pants and…
“Woah… to do such a thing, that’s just like him!” Her whole face turned red and apparently Fu Yin found her reaction funny as he laughed out loudly.
“As for me… I somehow grabbed his attention, so he taught me in private and made me his disciple. Of course now I also know what his appearance, his true appearance, not the one he showed Fan Lai, is! I am sure that if I were to tell you what he looked like, you would probably pass out on the spot!”
Fu Yin smiled and Xiao Wu also chuckled.
Solomon’s brows furrowed as he watched the two people at the front laughing and chatting together. After pondering for a while, he turned and told those nearby “Those two seem pretty close! Don’t you think that maybe they might be the traitors? After all, we don’t know anything about this Xiao Li…”
Fan Lai was a bit in the front but he still heard his words so he shook his head “No, it is not like that. I only got to recruit brother Xiao Li by chance, there is no way he could have expected this to happen. Also, remember that they are just kids, brats tend to get along!”
The boy laughed out loud and soon everybody also chuckled and even rebuked Solomon for looking too much into it. Of course, that stopped when the burly man almost picked up a giggling Da Bin and a chuckling Liang Ran and threw them on top of the closest trap.
After a while, Solomon’s face darkened but he did not speak anymore. He lifted his gaze and looked at Fu Yin’s face a few meters away. The pale boy noticed his gaze, fiercely grinned and looked back. The boy mouthed pretty quickly ‘Got… Them… Uh? That… Fan… Lai… Put… His… Trust… In… The… Wrong… Person!’.
In less than a breath, he had already spoke out all these words, however the Fiery Dog picked them up nevertheless. Solomon trembled and turned but nobody except for him had seen the white haired boy’s actions… As if he had planned to only show him and him alone!
He inhaled, enraged at the taunt and began emitting killing intent. Two hurricanes of fiery bloodlust emerged in his eyes as he muttered “If you dare to do anything to block us and make years of planning and sacrifice go to waste, I will kill you myself!”
During that chaos of people jumping, laughing and sprinting, nobody noticed that Fu Yin had actually thrown a piece of paper behind him. The paper flew as if a mysterious force dragged it, and it landed near the entrance without touching the ground. On the piece of paper, a map was depicted. It was incredibly detailed and showed the position of all the traps laid in the corridor.
On the paper’s back there were also a few words: “As promised, the correct route is shown on the map. I will go with them, but there has been quite a bit of trouble… Might have been discovered. Please, hurry up, Master!”
Author’s Note: woah… that escalated quickly.