The ground beneath their feet was stone and dirt, and the surrounding air was a crimson mist for as far as the eyes could see. Left or right, only those three things could be seen.
Already ten minutes had gone by since Bai Yunfei and his group of four entered the mist. Their travel pace was practically a crawl so that they could slowly take in everything they could. But even after walking hundreds of steps it didn't seem like anything had changed. If not for the linear motion they were walking in, the group would've thought they were walking in circles.
What they could sense however, was the auras of the other groups of soul cultivators walking nearby. It was fuzzy with all this mist as interference, and as time went on, those auras drew farther and farther away until they couldn't be felt anymore.
It was as if Bai Yunfei's group was the only one on the mountain.
"Ah'Kai, how's it looking?"
Having been looking around the place intently, Bai Yunfei decided to ask Zheng Kai for his thoughts.
Bai Yunfei and Zheng Kai were standing at the front of the group with Yue Feng and Nangong Yuexia in the middle and Jing Mingfeng taking on the responsibility of being the vanguard. He was also tasked with the mission of leaving a deep impression of his foot every few steps or so so to mark their way.
Prompted by Bai Yunfei's asking, Zheng Kai shook his head to share his thoughts. "Can't sense anything. I don't even sense any spatial energy."
"We've already walked for half a kilometer around," Yue Feng piped up from behind them, "If we convert that to height, we must be about three hundred or four hundred meters above ground level around. Aside from our eyesight and soulsense being hindered, I can't really sense anything different. Are we just lucky, or is this the right path?"
"The mist is getting thicker and thicker. We're most likely at the midway point as you say. Let's keep going then."
It was going exactly as Jing Mingfeng said it would. Not only could they hardly see ten steps away, they couldn't even use their soulsense to scan past a hundred meters.
This feeling was exactly like what Bai Yunfei felt back in Black Cloud Valley, and that was extremely perplexing to him.
"You know, if not for the fog being white instead of black, I would've thought we were back in Black Cloud Valley…" Zheng Kai muttered to Bai Yunfei.
"Oh? You've been to Black Cloud Valley before, brother Zheng?!" Yue Feng spoke out in surprise.
Zheng Kai nodded. "Yes. We were there befo—wha?! Hold on, stop!"
He came to a screeching halt, startling everyone in the group into listening to what he said.
Heart skipping a beat, Bai Yunfei stared at him, "What is it?"
Zheng Kai looked around himself warily, his face very pale and suspicious, "We just….walked into a spatial barrier…."
Everyone in the group cried out. Jing Mingfeng whirled around at once to confirm it for himself, "It's true! My footprints are gone!"
"But…." Bai Yunfei was thunderstruck. He scanned the area in desperate hope for a clue, "How is this possible? We didn't sense any spatial energy before this!"
"Haha….speak for yourself. I felt a sliver of it the moment we stepped across." Zheng Kai looked even more surprised than Bai Yunfei, his eyes were glistening with excitement. "This is crazy, an undetectable transportation barrier, who could do such a thing?"
"Then where are we now? Should we try and walk back to where we came in from?" Jing Mingfeng asked, "We could at the very least confirm the distance traveled, can't we?"
"We're most likely brought down to a lower level than where we used to be. Have you noticed that the mist around us isn't as thick anymore?"
He turned his head back to look up, "I think we should keep on going and try a few more times. There's no danger here so far, so we might as well try a few different roads."
And so the group decided to walk ahead again. This time, they were far more cautious and careful by stopping every hundred steps to concentrate on sensing for any spatial energy.
It wasn't until another twenty minutes when Zheng Kai cried out again that everyone stopped. Jing Mingfeng looked behind for his steps as soon as he heard Zheng Kai, "The footprints are still here, we haven't been transported!"
"Of course. But if we walk just a few steps more it'll be gone." Zheng Kai stared grimly at the space ahead. "If I'm right, then right in front of us is a spatial barrier!"
"Really?!" Bai Yunfei quirked an eyebrow, "You can sense it?!"
"I'm not a hundred percent sure….but should we try it out??"
Bai Yunfei and Yue Feng looked at one another for a moment before they nodded.
They were already transported once down the mountain. The peak was out of his grasp for now so it was well worth a shot to try it out.
"Alright, follow closely, everyone!" Zheng Kai nodded to Bai Yunfei and the others before stepping forward.
"Nothing...nothing….nothing...let's keep going…"
Zheng Kai remarked on the changes he was feeling with each step he take. It wasn't until the fifth step that his eyes shined with light, "It's changed!!"
The hearts of everyone skipped a beat. Jing Mingfeng, whose hand had been on Yue Feng's shoulder the entire time, let out a cry of surprise, "Damn!! The footprints are gone! The ground is different!"
Confused, Bai Yunfei put a finger to his chin to think. Even though he had been focusing so much on trying to sense for any external energies, Bai Yunfei hadn't been able to sense it. If not for Zheng Kai, Bai Yunfei would've even known they walked through a spatial barrier.
It wasn't just shock that was in Zheng Kai's eyes. He was also excited for some reason, like a young child staring at a new toy for the first time in his life. "This isn't a 'single-layered' type spatial barrier, it's a 'channel' type barrier….and taking in account for the spacing between us all? It's not a coincidence….this barrier adapts from case to case?! How in the…?"
"Ah'Kai, what are you talking about? What's a 'single-layer', what's a 'channel'? What do you mean adapt?" Bai Yunfei groused, not quite understanding what Zheng Kai was talking about.
"Normal transportation barriers are like doors. In those cases, Yue Feng who was in front of us wouldn't have been able to see us. But this was different. That's because this barrier has 'thickness' to it. It was only after we walked through the entire depth of the barrier that it transported us to somewhere else."
"It can get that complicated?"
"Yes. But the most important thing is that this time the thickness of the barrier was as long as our group itself. It's too unlikely to be a coincidence, that…that means…"
As if he couldn't even find the words to describe this strange phenomena, it took Zheng Kai two seconds to actually say what he wanted to say.
"That means there's someone intentionally controlling the barrier!!"