Chapter 363: Maze of Purple Clouds
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
With those words, the mood grew somber instantly. As many pairs of eyes surveyed the maze of purple clouds once again, their faces bore far more grave and cautious expressions this time.
The members of each circle instinctively transfixed their gazes on Xu Yunsheng, Li Xingfei and Liu Xiafeng.
Xu Yunsheng and Liu Xiafeng looked on at the maze in thoughtful silence, while Li Xingfei let out a quiet sigh. “After entering the maze, most likely, you can only rely on yourself and will be unable to cooperate or assist each other.”
Her voice rang sweet and pleasing, but to the ears of those around her right now, decidedly less beautiful.
Xu Yunsheng turned and said calmly, “Although we are not entering one by one, but even if we enter together, we’ll most probably be affected by the purple clouds within and be unable to communicate with or help each other.”
The crowd stared at each other for a moment before turning to look at Lin Feng, unanimous.
Lin Feng, appearing composed and detached, remained quiet, while beside him, Zhu Yi spoke. “Everyone will enter the maze together. The Grandmaster has fused Spatial Energy into this maze; countless spatial planes are stacked up within the same dimension.”
“Every single person who enters the maze will be entering a separate spatial plane. You will be the only one in this plane – and so you can only count on yourself to get out of the maze.”
The group of teenagers gasped, taken aback. Looking at the maze of purple clouds before them, fear and anxiety surfaced on their faces.
The expressions of Xu Yunsheng and Li Xingfei turned solemn as well. They had thought that it was just senses, voices, field of vision etc. that would be affected and obscured by the purple clouds, but Lin Feng’s ways were obviously beyond their comprehension.
For every person who entered the maze of purple clouds, it would be like entering an independent space alone. There, he was the only person that existed.
Zhu Yi continued speaking. “Of course, out of considerations of fairness, in each spatial plane, the composition of the maze and the directions of the paths are completely the same.”
“If there are no other questions, you can start to enter. The countdown starts now – one day.”
Gazing at the crowd, Lin Feng’s lips abruptly curved upwards. “Here’s a hint for you. If you think out of the box and strive to be flexible, while remaining true to your heart and see through all illusions, it’s not hard at all to walk out of this maze.”
Hearing this, everyone fell deep into thought once again.
After a long while, Liu Xiafeng, staring at the entrance of the maze, suddenly let out a laugh. “Let’s go. We seek out Masters and learn crafts – isn’t it all for this day?” As his words fell, he strode towards the entrance first. However, there was a figure who was even faster – Ying Luozha.
Ying Luozha, coming to the entrance of the maze, halted his steps slightly as he turned to look at Xu Yunsheng. Although he did not speak, his meaning was clear.
Since their induction, whether it was cultivation and advancement, or Zhu Yi’s small exams, Xu Yunsheng has been the first among the second-generation disciples. All the while, Ying Luozha has been that short of Xu Yunsheng by that little bit.
Sometimes, he did not actually lose out – they could be considered to be neck and neck. However, Ying Luozha has never been able to truly defeat Xu Yunsheng even once.
In the eyes of this dark, bony teenager, as lonely and proud as a grey wolf hunting across the Siberian tundra, among all of the second-generation disciples, Xu Yunsheng was the only one fit to be his adversary. Everyone remaining, including Li Xingfei and Liu Xiafeng, was unworthy to be even spoken of.
Facing Ying Luozha’s challenge, Xu Yunsheng, appearing calm as ever, nodded slowly.
To him, Ying Luozha was a good rival. Without the pressure of Ying Luozha being just half a step behind him, he might not be able to advance so quickly either.
Seeing that Xu Yunsheng has accepted the challenge, Ying Luozha smiled coldly before turning and entering the maze of purple clouds.
One of the disciples, particularly displeased, said to Xu Yunsheng, “Senior Xu, teach him a good lesson!”
Xu Yunsheng smiled slightly. “Don’t worry, I won’t lose.” Despite those words, Xu Yunsheng did not budge, standing in the same spot silently and just gazed at the maze of purple clouds, transfixed.
Eternities later, after everyone has already entered the maze, Xu Yunsheng let out a long sigh and strode in as well.
“Second Senior, they have all been studying mantras under you – you should know the most. Who do you think would be the first to walk out?” At this moment, Xiao Budian said to Zhu Yi, grinning. “Or to put it another way, how many people do you think will be able to make it out successfully within one day?”
“Those that can make it out could be counted on two hands,” Zhu Yi said calmly. “As for the first to make it out of the maze…”
He shot a look at the maze of purple clouds. “This maze of Master’s…it appears simple, but to those disciples, it is a trial of all aspects.”
“First, it will test their sensory abilities with regards to Spiritual Energy. This is determined by their Innate Ability…the stronger the senses, the easier it is to unravel the mysteries of the maze through the Spiritual Energy activity.”
“Next, it will test their Determination. They must be able to remain calm and unperturbed among the chaos of the maze – without emotional fluctuations – in addition to resisting the misleading illusions in order to make the right judgment.”
“Finally, it will see their Intelligence and versatility. If they cannot discern the true hidden secret of the maze and find the correct way – and simply walk on blindly and stubbornly – then just like Fifth Junior said, they won’t make it out in a lifetime, not to mention a day.”
As he said those words, a bitter smile appeared on Zhu Yi’s face. “Although I had taught them mantras previously, but after all, I only spent a short time with them. I do not dare to say that I really know them like the back of my hand.”
“I can only say that the first to walk out of the maze will only be one of those four – Xu Yunsheng, Ying Luozha, Li Xingfei and Liu Xiafeng.” After a slight pause, he added, “Personally, I am leaning towards Xu Yunsheng and Ying Luozha.”
Listening to their discussion, a smile appeared on Lin Feng’s face as well as he turned to gaze at the empty space next to him. “Nanhua, Shihao, any interest in choosing a few disciples to assume your mantles too?”
Two fissures cracked open in the air as Kang Nanhua and Miao Shihao treaded out. Kang Nanhua, smiling, shook his head. “A gentleman does not covet what others love. I don’t think I’ll participate.”
Miao Shihao chuckled as well. “I do not have the time or mood to guide disciples now. If I really want disciples, Shihao will comb the ends of the world – from the tallest mountains to the deepest seas – to personally select a kid that I fancy most, that is the most suited for my mantra and my Tao.”
Gazing at the maze of purple clouds, he said lightheartedly, “But now, I am rather interested as well in who could be the first to walk out of your maze, my Lord.”
Lin Feng smiled slightly. “Then, let us wait with bated breath.”
Right now, the dozens of people – including the kids – were all inside the maze. However, because of Lin Feng’s control of Spatial Energy, every one of them was within an independent spatial plane.
Since they could not count on others, there were only blue-sky ideas and contrarian thinking left as each and every one of them pulled tricks out of their sleeves.
Some employed a more rational method, trying to mark each turn in the maze. Once they meet a dead end, they will return and attempt another path.
Li Xingfei was an example of such an approach. The maze was gigantic to the extreme, as if its borders stretch on infinitely; although her patience was excellent, but faced with endless forks and dead ends, even she was worried.
Especially during one particular time that she retraced her steps, with her sharpness, Li Xingfei realized that the marks she left behind have been tampered with. If she has not realized just in time, she would probably have taken a wrong path and be completely lost in the maze.
Li Xingfei gasped out in fear. Her previous marks has always worked perfectly well; if she has developed complacency as a result and lowered her guard, then this sudden move would be a deadly strike.
For this approach of leaving marks, as long as there was an error in one that was not caught in time, and you just continue walking on according to the marks, your errors will snowball until it was no longer possible to turn back.
Li Xingfei, being naturally alert and meticulous, realized it early and corrected her errors. However, many who has used the same method as her wasn’t able to find the problem in time and simply never thought that this maze will sneakily tamper with the marks and coordinates left by visitors – they ended up so confused by the maze that they could not even tell which direction they were walking in anymore.
As time progressed, the maze was no longer satisfied by just tampering with marks and was so shameless as to even forge marks, placing marks even at paths the visitor has never entered. As a result, some disciples were irreversibly lost within a dead path; they couldn’t even return to the entrance, not to mention finding the exit.
Some used the method of exploring while leaving marks, but others chose a more intuitive approach – walking purely based on instinct.
It sounds absurd, but in fact, despite nominally depending on instinct, it was still fundamentally based on sensing the flow of Spiritual Energy in the maze.
Liu Xiafeng used such a method. As he foraged ahead, every time he encountered a fork, he chose a path based on his first impression almost without hesitation.
“This method can work.” A smile appeared on Liu Xiafeng’s face. Walking until this point, amazingly, he did not meet even a single dead end. Every choice made at a fork has led to the correct path.
No bumping into dead ends, no wasting time on unnecessary routes. This way, Liu Xiafeng was naturally rather efficient in his progress.
“No matter how large a maze is, as long as it is not as ridiculous as to be truly boundless, there will definitely be a day you clear it.” Liu Xiafeng thought, but god knows that after what seemed like an eternity of walking, there was still little visible result. He did never encounter a dead end, but the maze seemed as if it was truly limitless.
“The flow of Spiritual Energy in the maze is misleading me.” Liu Xiafeng was fast to realize that he has fallen victim to the maze of purple clouds’ trick. “There are some crossroads in the maze. I definitely took a lot of repeated routes, and that’s why I still can’t make it out – I might even have been walking around in circles within an area.”
He did not become despondent; neither did he lose his temper. This teenager, who appeared sloppy and careless, was actually extraordinarily calm.
Taking a deep breath, Liu Xiafeng started to turn around and walk in the direction he came from. This time, he was even more careful; when he encountered overly prominent Spiritual Energy flows that pointed a particular way, he took the opposite path instead.
After expending some time, Liu Xiafeng walked all the way back to the entrance of the maze. He let out a sigh of relief – at least he did not become completely lost within the maze. However, he was worried as well; he wasted much time for naught, and ended up back where he started.
There were pictures projected in the air for every single spatial plane of the maze, forming images for Lin Feng and the rest to follow the latest developments.
Looking at the different states of the disciples, Lin Feng and his disciples, as well as the observing Kang Nanhua and Miao Shihao, were slightly amused. Xiao Yan shook his head repeatedly and chuckled. “As expected, it’s not that easy.”
Beside him, Zhu Yi suddenly let out a slight laugh. “The two of them – they have definitely been competing since induction.”
Following his gaze, everyone saw the two images that were showing the forms of Xu Yunsheng and Ying Luozha.
Those two, walking in the maze, coincidentally chose the exact same method to identify route and direction.