"How far up do you think we are, brother Yue?" Jing Mingfeng asked Yue Feng as they walked.
"We've walked a fair way horizontally and had a few repeated walks, so it's a bit hard to estimate, but I'd wager we're a bit over half a kilometer up the mountain, what says you?"
Jing Mingfeng nodded. "My guess is about six hundred meters, there's not much of a difference between our guesses. Hehe, it's only been an hour but we've made it up this far, what good luck!"
"Yes. We've already reached the farthest area we go to our last two times." Yue Feng smiled. "If we keep going forward, we should be able to get to the top eventually. This method is very effective, I'm feeling very confident now."
"Careful now, there's a barrier up ahead!"
Zheng Kai called out in warning, prompting everyone to focus up ahead and connect their soulsense with Zheng Kai. Through their connection, they were able to see a transparent 'barrier' that stood a hundred steps away.
They walked up to it only to see that the path diverged into two opposing directions. "Another fork, should we go left or right, Ol'Bai?"
Every single time the group met a fork in the road, it was decided by Bai Yunfei that he choose what paths to take. The reason, he said, was because that he had very good 'luck'.
As speechless as the group was about it, Bai Yunfei's choices were surprisingly leading them onto paths without dead ends. It was about every three or four out of ten choices that they'd bump into a dead end.
Bai Yunfei looked at the two paths and immediately spoke whatever direction popped up in his mind first. "Left."
The group didn't argue. They turned onto the path left and headed down that direction. Now that Zheng Kai's soulsense could reach three hundred meters away, he was able to get a far better read on the area around him with better details. Before, he was only able to sense a single barrier within a hundred meters, but now that his range had effectively tripled, he was able to sense at least two barriers at any given time. He also knew to turn left or right whenever a barrier would appear right in front of him. That meant Zheng Kai could sense three or even four spatial barriers whenever they needed to turn. Path by path, the group was systematically going through the channels of the maze and eliminating the dead ends to get onto the right path.
After walking for half an hour without going through even a single barrier or being teleported away to an unknown part of the maze, the group was finally starting to feel the proper sensation of walking 'up' the mountain. In other words, they were on the right path, and the group couldn't feel any happier about it.
"Eh? Be careful everyone, there's someone up ahead!"
Zheng Kai warned in a hushed tone, though everyone else was already sensing the multiple sources of soulforce.
"Eh? It's gone?" Quicker than it appeared, the soulforce disappeared from their senses, much to the shock of the entire group.
One of the auras they felt had simply just vanished without a trace.
"Were they transported away?" Jing Mingfeng guessed. Only one aura had disappeared through. There was still another three auras there. If the first aura really did walk into a spatial barrier, the other three should've vanished with them.
Since this was the only path forward, the group couldn't exactly shy away from it. They continued onwards, but it wasn't even another fifty steps when another aura vanished out of thin air!
"Who are you people, come on out!!"
A terrified scream echoed through the air. Though just a bit over two hundred meters away, the absolute terror and dread were very palpable to hear.
Everyone stiffened in alarm at the voice. Spurring their soulforce, the entire group started to rush forward.
Another warning and another scream. Yet again, another soulforce disappeared without a trace!
By now, Bai Yunfei's entire group was completely alarmed with what was going on. They advanced another fifty meters to reach the spot where they heard the voices and looked left to right to see for themselves what was going on.
The very first thing to register in the eyes of the group was the terrified speaker who cried out earlier. It was a man in golden robes and shining with an equally golden light. Floating in the air in front of him was a golden shield to protect him from anything in front while he himself retreated backward.
As the group was trying to figure out what exactly it was that was scaring this person, they all suddenly noticed a small black light flit across their eyes!
The black object wasn't very large—the size of a pinky finger in thickness at most—but there was a faint sinister feel to it as it whistled through the air with seemingly little energy.
But the metal-type soul cultivator looked terrified. His face drained of blood as he screamed. The golden shield in front of him swelled in size as it tried to protect its master as he fled to the side.
As if it had a will of its own, the black beam of light turned direction along with the metal-type soul cultivator. It swiveled around the shield with unexpected swiftness and flexibility to chase after the soul cultivator, but it was stopped by the golden shield!
There was a faint metallic echo before the black beam of light shot through the shield as if it was a rotten piece of wood. Piercing straight through the golden shield, it shot straight through the right side of the man's chest!
The black beam of light exited out from the other side of the man's body with a black trail of light behind it as it turned around and flew back the direction it came from…
From start to finish, Bai Yunfei's group was completely bewildered by what they saw. Eyes wide open, their soulsense followed the black beam of light as it flew away from them.
In practically two moments, the small beam of light was already three hundred meters away from where it used to be. Then standing right there was a black shadow that no one in the group had even noticed beforehand!
The shadow grabbed hold of the black beam of light with one hand and walked forward. He took only a few steps before he noticed several presences behind him and turned around!
A surprised murmur arose from his lips before his figure disappeared from sight. The place where he stood had been coincidentally a spatial barrier, meaning he had been transported away from the area before he could properly face the group…
The group stared at the spot where the figure had disappeared from, their eyes still wide open from their shock.
For a good while, no one said a thing on what they had just witnessed.
"What…what was that?" Jing Mingfeng muttered after a very long period of silence.
"Let's go see!"
Bai Yunfei ran off towards where the man had fallen up ahead.