Though plenty of soul cultivators were at the foot of the mountain, none were able to solve the mystery behind the fog. Instead, they focused on reaching the top and claiming the Extreme King Pills for themselves, even if that meant ignoring the competition
Because of that, a temporary truce had been established amongst the participants. It wasn't likely that they would meet each other in the mist anyway, so this type of cooperation worked best for everyone.
However, the allure of the Extreme King Pill led more and more people to the mountain, despite the numerous failures that only served to increase the anxiousness of every participant. Their moods soured as it became ever more likely to meet each other within the mist. With each successive failure, the participants grew ever more restless.
The fights started for different reasons. Some saw it as an opportunity, whereas others saw it as a means to get rid of the competition. Others simply wanted to steal whatever they could get their hands on.
It was then that a person, much akin to a reaper, had made a name for themselves amongst the other soul cultivators in the mist. Rumors of the reaper quickly spread like wildfire throughout the rest of the cultivators, and soon the mountain was covered not only with a blanket of mist, but also one of paranoia and fear.
No longer was it safe traverse the mist, as those who traversed the mountain was as likely to be scared as a bird was to the twang sound of a bow being released. If someone were to meet another in the mist, they would attack first out of self-preservation, even if the other side meant no harm. To strike first was to be safe, and since there were already people 'preying' on others, the entire mountain soon descended into madness.
The soul cultivators who sought to ascend the mountain were very similar in strength, thus the battles between them were especially intense. Even just two Soul Exalts fighting could result in a large amount of elemental energy being released, which would result in the destabilization of this dimension. As of right now, one or two occurrences wouldn't be much, but currently, dozens of fights were breaking out all over the mountain.
And then, to make matters even worse, two soul cultivators decided to take their enemies down with them by self-destructing!!
The self-destruction of two Late-stage Soul Exalt was a force to be reckoned with. The resulting discharge of energy was much too large for the dimension to bear, causing its destabilization to accelerate!
Bai Yunfei's group was shocked by the fact that two soul cultivators had decided to self-destruct. Zheng Kai's eyes were honed in on the black spots appearing throughout the pocket around them, "Watch out!!" He shouted in warning, "Those are spatial fractures!!"
A hundred meters away from the group, several jagged black lines were appearing in the air. The cracks made their way towards Bai Yunfei's group, sucking in the fog around them!
Zheng Kai's warning was the signal everyone needed to snap out from their stupor and move backwards.
The fractures of space quickly traveled down to the ground, devouring the earth so as to leave naught but a bottomless crater in its wake….
"Another one! Look out from behind and to our right!"
Before the group could even relax, Zheng Kai had called out another two warnings!
"Ah!! Ahh!! Ah…"
As the group frantically tried their best to evade the incoming fractures, they could hear several screams echoing from the other parts of the mountain!
"Damn! Here comes another…and another! Be careful!!" Jing Mingfeng shrieked as he dodged a tendril from the distortions. "Hey now, brother Zheng," Jing Mingfeng looked disgruntled, "didn't you say we had plenty of time still? So why does it look like the pocket's about to collapse any second now?!"
"Do you think I'm from the Fate School?" Zheng Kai fired back, "I'm not some oracle who can divine the future. How should I know people would decide to self-destruct in here?!
"It might seem bad, but it's just the area destabilizing around us. The pocket should stabilize itself in time, which means the spatial fractures should disappear and return back to normal. The entire pocket won't collapse that ea—"
A strange sound began to buzz while Zheng Kai was reassuring the group. It was coming from the very space itself! Before they had assumed that the mist was swirling around itself, however, that was not the case. In fact, it was the space itself that was swirling!
Flustered, Bai Yunfei looked to Zheng Kai, "Now what's going on?"
Zheng Kai looked a little speechless at the sight in front of them as he replied. "Bro… don't make me out to be a know-it-all, even I don't know everything…"
He looked like he was scowling in exasperation.
"If the spatial energy in the pocket is starting to flow strangely, then that means…"
"Then that means…?"
Bai Yunfei had been looking at warping singularity before them for an answer. When no answer came, Bai Yunfei glanced back to Zheng Kai.
His eyes widened.
The Cataclysmic Seal was brought into this world, and formed a barrier around him. As he gripped onto the newly-materialized Fire-tipped Spear, Bai Yunfei looked around himself with a wary eye.
Why had he reacted so strongly?
It was because Zheng Kai was gone!
Not only was Zheng Kai gone, but the rest of his group was as well! They had disappeared into thin air!
Not a single person was left but him! He was the only person here!
"Damn! What's going on here!?" Bai Yunfei's used his soulsense to scan the area wildly for some sort of clue. He couldn't even connect to them through a mental link. Something was clearly off.
The world around him was already changing while Bai Yunfei tried his best to understand the situation. Meanwhile, just five meters away, two whirlpools spanning two meters wide and two meters tall had formed out of nowhere!
"What's this?" Thought Bai Yunfei.
The two whirlpools that had formed on his left and right side weren't nearly as chaotic as other examples of the pocket destabilizing that he'd seen. They were calm in their flow. In fact, both whirlpools had very very distinct images imposed upon them!
On the left, the whirlpool seemed to be the peak of a stony mountain.
Whereas, on the right, the whirlpool seemed to be a small plain littered with tiny stones.
Bai Yunfei stared at the two images suspiciously. His eyes flickered back to the image on the left as he realized something.
"Is this… the mountain peak?!"
Bai Yunfei was at a loss for words at the realization—the whirlpool on the left was showing him the peak of a mountain!
That was right!
It was showing the peak of the very mountain he was standing on!
An apprehensive look appeared on Bai Yunfei's face, "Could this be… a spatial tunnel?!"
Was this tunnel showing him the way to the mountain peak? Did this mean… he'd be able to teleport straight to the top if he walked through it?!
His group had spent practically an entire day trying to traverse the spatial maze. Sweat and tears had been shed for their group to learn the secrets behind the mist. And now, a gate to the top of the mountain had suddenly appeared right in front of him?