Xiao Wu dashed through the corridors of the Maze. She could hear panting and heavy breathing coming from behind her so she turned: pretty much everybody except for Fu Yin and Solomon were tired from the long journey.
“Everybody, stop! We need to rest in order to get ready for the ‘pressure’ trial!” Fan Lai shouted and everyone stopped and threw themselves on the ground. Su Tan fell down especially hard and ‘by chance’ fell beneath Xiao Wu and let out a delighted scream.
“Brother Yin” Xiao Wu dodged to the side and spoke to the white haired boy “Is this ‘pressure’ trial connected to the pressure from martial cultivation? Will they now test our cultivation?”
Hearing that, the boy nodded
“Indeed. You seem to be slowly understanding the structure of this maze: the first challenge was the ‘Corridor of Death’, a way to test one’s resource gathering and concentration; the second trial was the trial of the ‘Dark Room’, it would force one to play with the pressure of having your life on the line. These two mainly test one’s wits and state of mind. The last one, however…”
Fu Yin threw her a gourd full of water “Is to test our overall strength! But this is by far the easiest of the three trials. If a person passes, everybody does as well! So relax and enjoy the show as this is my time to shine!”
The boy with pale-blue skin grinned and winked at her. Xiao Wu stuck her tongue out but also smiled: she really enjoyed staying with this new big brother… She was hoping that Cheng Hao could also give him a hand, with such talent, he should have no problem reaching the Reverend stage or, perhaps, even the legendary Ageless Realm! A Realm that hadn’t been seen in their continent for hundreds of years…
“Fu Yin, stop flirting and get over here! We have to study some countermeasures in case we meet those guys from before!” Fan Lai’s voice rang out.
“Sure thing, Leader!”
Fu Yin winked at Xiao Wu “Will be right back, Sis!” He then leaped towards Fan Lai and Solomon who examining a piece of paper with a map showing a special section of the maze. As soon as he approached, Fu Yin smiled smugly towards Solomon as the red haired man gritted his teeth.
A few hours passed and Xiao Wu spent most of that time chatting with her companions. She spoke a bit with Da Bing about spirits which, being still a kid, fascinated her, talked with Yan Rui and Tai Long about what they called ‘the spring of youth’ and then approached the guys she hadn’t got the chance to speak with.
She found out that Liang Ran spoke a different language, so she had no choice but draw symbols on the ground to communicate. He did the same and they soon began a debate wether a sword or a spear would be better in close combat.
The dark skinned boy was a huge fan of the spear while Xiao Wu’s weapon of choice was the Black Dragon Sword, so the debate soon grew to be an elaborate argument.
Although Liang Ran assured Xiao Wu that a spear would be three times as strong than a sword in one on one combat, Xiao Wu retorted that the longer edge of the sword’s blade would allow one to attack multiple opponents coming from multiple directions with much more ease compared to a spear.
Although they only used hand signs and pictures drawn on the ground, the debate went on for a whole hour before they both agreed that the two weapons were too different in their specialty to truly decide which one was better. Liang Ran and Xiao Wu both laughed out aloud as they looked back and saw meters upon meters of the ground had been drawn on by them.
They then shook hands and drank a cup of wine together (Although Xiao Wu drank juice) to consolidate their friendship.
She also got the chance to speak a bit with Baba, although she was the only one speaking, and tried to approach Solomon without succeeding.
“Don’t worry, Puppy there isn’t all that bad… Except he will probably not be enough to satisfy a woman wit that sorry thing…” Yan Rui mocked.
Solomon’s cheeks heated up and his whole face turned red “What are you saying you witch!”
“Ohohoh, you aren’t even denying it…”
“Aaaargh, you damn woman!”
‘Have I seen this situation before?’ Looking at the two people arguing, Xiao Wu thought of Cheng Hao and Goldy and smiled ‘Yep, they are the same.’
“Ahahah” Fu Yin’s laughter rang out from behind her and she turned to see that both him and Fan Lai had finished planning.
“So, did brother Yin find out anything?”
Fu Yin’s expression turned dark and he put his hands on the two nails by the side of his head. His eyes turned a lighter shade of blue, an electrical blue, and the two inverted triangles appeared.
He nodded and said “It seems like those mysterious people have given up the second challenge and instead went to the main route… Apparently, there is a single person, though, that kept going as there are some fluctuations in the surrounding Qi,however that person didn’t seem to belong in that group…”
Fu Yin removed his hands and his eyes turned back into their normal appearance.
“We don’t know if he is a friend or a foe, after all, even though Catacomb said he was waiting for us, he didn’t say he was a friend. Sealed Devils such as him almost never lie, but it doesn’t mean they must speak the whole truth… Instead, they love when people fall for their twisted words!”
“Okay everyone! This trial should be a piece of cake. We will stay close to the entrance, where the pressure is at its lowest and Fu Yin will complete the challenge for us!” Fan Lai spoke out.
The group walked up to a big door and Fan Lai opened it. “As soon as you step past this door, you will feel pressure coming from above. It shouldn’t be too strong but be careful anyways, am I clear? Now, are we ready to get our first prize?”
“Yes!” Everyone shouted, even Xiao Wu yelled as much as she could. “Good I will count to three! One, two… Go!”
Ten blurs flashed as they all entered the room. It was a hall, a thousand meters long and it was completely white. There where a total of ten barriers each a hundred meters apart but they didn’t seem to be the same type as the ones in the corridor of death or the dark room.
Fu Yin smiled and dashed forward. Although his first his expression was serene, when he got past the first barrier it changed into a frown. He turned “Fai Lan! The pressure didn’t decrease even though I made a breakthrough! It seems like it varies in accordance to our cultivation! Most probably, it is made to test one’s battle prowess, not strength like we thought!”
Fan Lai also frowned “So I guess it doesn’t matter which person we send, the pressure will be the same. Suddenly, Su Tan dashed forward and got past the first five barriers. She then stopped and threw herself on the ground “Aaaah!”
She curled in pain as pleasure filled her face. She rolled on the ground as she screamed “Aaaah! My god, this place is heaven!”
Fan Lai sighed and turned to face the remaining seven companions “Why don’t we have a race? The first one to get to the other side will be the one to choose his prize first!”
“Fine to me!” Yan Rui smiled and then whispered in Xiao Wu’s ear “I will help you out if you come to my room tonight!”
Xiao Wu gulped and impatiently asked “Senior Fan Lai, when do we start?”
Fan Lai smiled “Fu Yin, you cannot move before we reach you! Ok, Three… Two… One… Go!”
Xiao Wu madly dashed as she tried to run away from the chasing Yan Rui. She was so fast that she arrived at the first checkpoint before anyone else. She gritted her teeth and prepared to bear the pressure… Pressure? Xiao Wu was confused: she had passed the first barrier but she didn’t feel much pressure.
She didn’t notice at first but after a while she understood that the so-called ‘pressure’ was actually steadily being absorbed by the two Martial Ways in her Pseudo-Core.
‘Lucky me!’ The girl smiled and kept speeding down the hall.
“Hey sis, you look comfortable! It seems like the only one who can keep up with you is me!” When she passed the second checkpoint Xiao Wu looked to her right and smiled “Brother Yin, what are you talking about? I still haven’t used my full speed yet!”
Now the distance to the end of the room was much closer: third checkpoint, fourth checkpoint, fifth, …” When she reached the ninth checkpoint she still didn’t feel any pressure, Fu Yin also looked pretty comfortable and they both run to their limits, passing through the last checkpoint together. At that, the barriers disappeared allowing everyone to reach them.
Fu Yin smiled at a freaked out Fan Lai “Leader truly has good eyes. This child is no genius, he is a true monster!”
Xiao Wu pouted and punched Fu Yin in his gut “Who are you calling a monster!”
Although the girl acted angry, both her and Fu Yin knew that she wasn’t. Instead, they both began to laugh. Xiao Wu’s laugh was really pleasant to the ears and mostly anyone closed their eyes and focused on listening to it.
“Ahem!” Fan Lai interrupted “Let’s keep going. The exit is in front of us, after we pass by one last room, we will be Outer Sect disciples!”
Everyone in the group nodded as they trembled from the excitement: they have been preparing for years just for this one moment! Fan Lai opened the door and they all walked past it.
When the group got int the room though, their expression changed: in front of them there was a man wearing a black robe, he wasn’t tall, he was only a bit taller than Xiao Wu was.
“Senior! We have arrived!” Fan Lai bowed deeply “We knew that those few trials wouldn’t stop someone as mighty as you!”.
Xiao Wu approached Fu Yin and asked “Is that outer mysterious eleventh comrade, your master?”
Fan Lai heard her question and he was about to answer “Ye-”
“Ahahah!” Fu Yin’s laughter interrupted both of them ” You are finally here! Now, Die!”
Fu Yin’s voice was cold and ruthless. He looked up and waves upon waves of killing intent emanated from his body, forcing everyone to back away from him. He kicked off the ground and grabbed the air. When he did so, streams of gaseous Qi appeared from his body condensing into two drill-like spears.
‘Aura! Fu Yin is an Aura Grandmaster (Note: Aura Student < Scholar < Master < Grandmaster < Sage)!’ Seeing the two, three-dimensional objects condensed from aura, Xiao Wu stared wide eyed.
The two cold blue eyes devoid of compassion stared down at the robed person as he approached at high speeds.
Before anybody could say anything, he had already flown in front of the person as the flight limit had been apparently removed.
Fu Yin ignored the exclamation of surprise from his victim and stabbed both his troath and his upper left chest, where the heart was, completely piercing through his body.
“Stop! What are you doing!” Fan Lai finally shouted out. Everybody was shocked and they realized that they couldn’t react in time before Fu Yin had already killed their apparent friend.
Fu Yin slowly turned, his white robe now completely drenched with blood. When he removed the two spears from the body, it fell down and a fountain of blood shot out from the two wounds.
Solomon grabbed Fan Lai’s shoulder with one hand and removed the massive blade from its sheath with the other “Watch out master! He is the traitor!” At those words, Xiao Wu breathed in ‘Brother Fu Yin was the traitor??? But why, he was so kind to me! And wasn’t that guy Fu Yin’s master? Why would the disciple kill his master, especially such a kind master that helped him so much!’
Fu Yin’s cold and ruthless eyes stared back at Solomon as he shook his two spears “I betrayed no one, he was simply not my comrade to begin with. He hasd never been. I killed him and that’s it. And now…” He lifted one of the spears and pointed towards the group, “You are next!”
Author’s Note: aaand, that’s it for today. Mm? What? Cliffhanger? Yeah, there’s gonna be quite a few of those up ahed. And I did post 15 chapters as I promised. Yup, prologues and epilogues count as well. Just kidding, I’m going to post seven chaps some other day, but I just want to leave with this cliffhanger here. See you next time!