Thunderstruck, everyone rounded onto Zheng Kai with wide-open eyes, "Someone's controlling it?! No way!" Bai Yunfei exclaimed.
"I felt the same way." Zheng Kai replied quizzically. "As I was saying, this pocket was said to be unopened for at least a thousand years or so. What kind of person would be able to live for that long? Furthermore, we never saw even a single soulbeast on our way here, didn't we? And this pocket's unsteady nature has already seen to it that only Peak Late-stage Soul Exalt are allowed entry."
"But that spatial barrier." Bai Yunfei replied.
"I can only guess that this is some sort of 'array' that adapts based on the number of people walking in. I heard long ago that many of the strong were capable of constructing arrays that were 'intelligent' in nature. They could do many things depending on many different factors. Those arrays are mostly gone now, but it still remains to be seen if this is one of those types of ancient arrays."
Arrays. A long-lost relic of the past that was very rare on the continent. The way to 'create' these arrays were long lost to the world, and very few arrays were even made, much less survived the passage of time.
It was said that the Five Elements Schools had a set of arrays for their own special elements and were known as the highest quality arrays known to public knowledge. There were also a few major families or schools that had their own arrays, such as the protective array of the Underworld School, which too, was a relic from the ancient past.
Bai Yunfei thought back to the way how the Illusion Stones had been placed in very specific coordinates. It was something similar to an array, but it wasn't quite there yet.
"If it's something that old, do we even have a chance of unraveling it then?" Bai Yunfei asked.
It'd probably take a Soul King erudite in order to crack the code behind an array this mysterious. But everyone in the pocket was people of the next generation of soul cultivators. As powerful as they were, they hadn't the skill or knowledge to unravel the mysteries of long before.
"Can't say. I think I might have a guess actually."
No one expected Zheng Kai to say that, but it was Jing Mingfeng who voiced the question. "What? You know a way to bypass this array, brother Zheng?!"
"A way to bypass it?" Zheng Kai smiled in self-deprecation. "It's only just a guess. I'd need to try it out a few times before I have anything solid to go on. Shall we test it out then?"
Bai Yunfei and the others nodded. All their hopes were on Zheng Kai right now since he was the only person proficient in space. Hopefully, he'd be able to unravel its secrets and find a way to bring them to the top of the mountain.
Time trickled slowly by as the group traveled through the mist once again. Several times had they been transported by the barrier, but with each repetition did Zheng Kai learn more and more about the barrier. There were times where he'd cry out loud at a realization, much to the shock of the others before growing silent again to think. No one dared to interrupt his thinking process either and chose to just follow behind him silently.
After well over an hour of walking in the unchanging scenery, even Bai Yunfei had had enough. If it had been an ordinary mountain, they would've at the top a long time ago. But they were still at the waist of it and were still an unknown measure of time away from it.
Zheng Kai cried out. Everyone stopped. Only when Zheng Kai said 'stop' did everyone know there was a barrier in front of them.
Zheng Kai looked carefully at the area in front of them, his soulsense scanning the surrounding area for any fluctuation in energy or something. He extended his hand outwards as if groping or pressing against an invisible wall.
It was taking Zheng Kai a little longer to research the barrier this time. After one long minute of silence, he strode rightwards ten steps with a bright eye. He gave a knowing look at Bai Yunfei and the others and then strode forward.
Following right behind him, the group noticed a slight difference this time. Jing Mingfeng noticed it first when he saw his footprints still there even after ten steps into the area where the barrier should've been. None of them had been transported anywhere.
Zheng Kai called for them to stop again after ten minutes of walking. His right hand extended outward for that same motion. Then like if turning the handle of something, he motioned for everyone to head a hundred meters to the left and then back onto their original direction.
This stop and go path forward continued for an hour, but no longer were Bai Yunfei and the others feeling tired. They were all looking very excited!
They hadn't been transported even once since Zheng Kai first started his strange motioning!
"Has Zheng Kai figured out a way to bypass the spatial barrier? Are we really going to be able to head up to the mountain peak?!" Everyone had the same excited thought on their minds.
Aside from Zheng Kai, Bai Yunfei had been the one most 'thorough' on his investigation of the mist around them. He was also the first to realize that the mist was getting thinner and thinner, much to his own relief.
It really did seem like the final portion of the misty mountain was coming to the end. Would they really be coming to the peak of the mountain soon?!
After another twenty minutes of walking, everyone realized then a bright spark of light up ahead!
"Damn! You're kidding me?! Are we really out of the mist?! Are we at the top?!" Jing Mingfeng was the first to voice his shock.
Yue Feng looked similarly excited. "Could it possibly be?! Let's keep going!!"
Their footsteps quickened. The white light was getting brighter and brighter, and everyone's mood getting lighter and lighter. The fog was already very thin and faint, and soon, everyone could see a rough outline of the skies above!
At last, everyone could see clearly what was in front of them and as well as what was around them. There were a few boulders and plant life on the ground, and the sun was shining brightly in the sky above them.
"Haha! We're really out of there! Are we at the top?!" Jing Mingfeng hooted out loud with joy.
As he took one step forward, Jing Mingfeng had barely any time but to utter a quick squalk of confusion before face-planting into the ground!
Bai Yunfei and the others had all been extremely excited just like Jing Mingfeng when they stepped out from the fog. But when they took that step forward like Jing Mingfeng, they too felt their expressions stiffen on their face.
Feeling as though the sky was spinning and the earth shaking, everyone's feet buckled and dropped them mercilessly to the ground. Something strange had dropped onto their minds, forcing them to lose their sense of balance and dropping them to the ground!
Bai Yunfei stumbled forward from his sudden loss of balance, but his reaction was quick and he was able to stagger forwards two steps and reorientate himself.
By the time he was able to do so, he looked back up only to have his eyes open wide at what he saw!
"Damn!! No way?! What in the world is this?!" Zheng Kai cried out in shock at the same time as Bai Yunfei noticed.