With a snort, Xue Shi plunged his spear into the legs of every one of his attacks, making is impossible for any of them to walk.
“Don’t get any more funny ideas or I’ll kill you…” Xue Shi said before he stored away his spear into his interspatial ring and walked toward the black gate and sat down cross-legged.
“This guy is dangerous, best to not provoke him.” Zhang thought after he saw Xue Shi’s battle conclude.
“However it serves them right for fighting ten on one…” He also thought as he began to meditate once more.
Before long small groups of contestants began to appear, all of whom were astonished once they caught sight of the ten disciples of the Silver Wing Sect, who were laying on the ground with blood stained clothes.
Some overly righteous people even tried to reprimand Xue Shi for what he had done but with creases on his eyebrows, he either ignored them or sent them smashing into a wall once they had managed to successfully make his blood boil. But overall, Xue Shi was able to restrain himself and no one was killed or crippled.
After roughly a hundred people were present, and after being pestered by a few dozen people, Xue Shi withdrew his blood red spear from his interspatial ring and stabbed it into the ground beside where he sat.
“Anyone looking to pick a fight… I won’t hold back anymore! If any newcomers arrive and pick a fight with me, I’ll have to kill everyone here and simply wait for another two hundred and ninety-seven people to arrive.” Xue Shi declared.
“Phew, we’re not included in his possible kill list.” Zhang thought with a flash of relief on his face.
Although Zhang did not know if Xue Shi was serious or not, the declaration gripped everyone in fear and when new arrivals came they would be told to mind their own business and not pester Xue Shi.
When there were finally three hundred people in the room, the black gate suddenly began to glow and change colors. From its previously pitch black color the gate turned into a pure white color as it opened to allow the contestants inside.
“A cultivator’s purpose is to always stride forward, however sometimes we must overcome the past before the future can arrive. Overcome the shadow that haunts you and move forward and you will that you have triumphed.” A voice rang into everyone’s ears once the gate was fully open.
“Let’s go.” Zhang said to Cai Cao before the two of them sped into the gate while everyone else was still a tad dazed.
Seeing our duo rush into the gate the other contestants soon followed one after the other.
“Don’t cause me any more trouble…” Xue Shi said with a click of the tongue once everyone was gone, and only the ten disciples of the Silver Wing Sect and himself were remaining in the room. With a wave of his hand, Xue Shi sent ten red colored pills flying toward the ten injured people lying on the ground.
“Recovery dans…” One of the members of the Silver Wing Sect said as he the pill landed in his hand. Unlike Zhang who had luckily amassed a large number of contribution points in the Misty Mountain Sect, for regular members of the Silver Wing Sect like these ten, recovery pills were things they simply did not possess.
After giving out the ten recovery pills, Xue Shi charged into the gate.
“You’ll regret this you bastard…” One of the members of the Silver Wing Sect said despite Xue Shi’s goodwill toward them.
Upon entering the gate, Zhang and Cai Cao and the other contestants found themselves in an endless looking white room or rather a white world that seemed to be borderless. However, a sudden flash of blinding blue light soon changed the white world into something entirely different.
In a flash, the contestants found themselves no longer in the white world but on an open plain in front of a small city.
“It can’t be….” Zhang murmured as he saw recognized the city.
“This city was burned to the ground; this isn’t possible…” He continued to mumble as he saw the city where he was born and raised, the city where his clan had thrived in for generations.
While a flood of memories appeared in Zhang’s mind, some of the other contestants were equally stunned, with Cai Cao being one of them.
“That tower… Why is it here.” Cai Cao said as he recognized a familiar looking tower sticking out from behind the city walls.
“Mother! Mother!” One of the contestants, a young man in a set of white and violet robes yelled as he charged into the city gates.
“Brother Huang, what are you talking about? You said your mother had died many years ago.” A young girl who was dressed in white and violet robes said as she ran after the young man.
“What the fuck! I killed you! I killed you! How could you be here!” Another contestant roared as he spotted something in the distance.
“What are you talking about?!” Someone asked.
“Th-the Three Headed Lava Viper that nearly killed me… It-it’s heading this way.”
Soon after, all of the contestants broke out in panic as they each spotted something familiar to them.
“Shu dogs! Prepare to die!” A loud roar rang in Zhang’s ears as drums began to beat in the distance and the thousands of flags with the would Zhao appeared.
Before Zhang could react, thousands of soldiers clad in green armor carrying banners with the word Shu on them charged out of the city gates.
“Kill the invaders! Protect the city!” The soldiers carrying the banner of the state of Shu roared.
“It’s them... The Zhao…” Zhang murmured as his pitch black sword appeared in hand before he ran off in the direction where the banners of the of the Zhao Army were coming from.
As Zhang ran forward he soon found himself clad in the armor that he was given when he was forced to join the Shu Army.
“This time, I won’t fail to protect you all… This time, I won’t be weak…” Zhang muttered as he looked back at the city as he charged toward the soldiers of the Zhao Army.
“Damn, Lava Viper! I’ll have your head today!” One of the contestants roared.
In a matter of minutes, all of the contestants had all ran off as they saw lost friends and family who they longed for or hated foes whom they wished to slay.
“Brother Hong Chi, this is interesting. Very interesting.” Sect Master Yu Yang said as he watched the large crystal screen in the middle of the colosseum.
“The Gate of Chains is an ancient treasure that we had acquired not too long ago with the power to allow a person to relive a moment in their past. I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of world everyone’s past would create.” Sect Master Hong Chi said.
“It seems like that youngster is dictating the majority of the things that the gate is showing.” Sect Master Yu Yang said as he watched Zhang charge into battle.
“That is simply because compared to the others his experience is more vivid and had not been dulled by time. If they can look past the events that had happened and find the exit, then they’ll be able to move on to the last stage.” Sect Master Hong Chi said.
While Sect Mater Hong Chi and Sect Master Yu Yang were conversing, elsewhere in the audience in a section closed off for very important guests, two other men were talking.
“Uncle do you recognize that?” A youth said to a middle-aged man beside him as he pointed toward the crystal screen.
“Definitely… Report back to the clan that we’ve definitely found the person we’ve been looking for.” The middle-aged man said.
With his sword drawn and his blood boiling, Zhang’s cultivation base exploded as he began to open his channels and connect with the great flow of essence in the air.
“Now I have power... Now I won’t have to watch everyone die…” He mumbled as the black sword in his hand slashed through the armor that the soldiers of the state of Zhao like paper. Unlike his previous engagement with the Zhao army, Zhang was now a cultivator and possessed a high-level sword that couldn’t even be compared to the weapons that regular people used.
Soon enough rivers of blood began to flow as Zhang effortlessly cut down one enemy soldier of the other with no sign of stopping.
Not too far from where Zhang was, many dozens of contestants were each battling their own opponents. Some were fighting demonic beasts while others were fighting hated foes. There were some who found themselves in the warm embrace of their loved ones only to have to witness the tragic events that had taken their loved ones away in the first place.
Tied by the chains of the past, everyone immersed themselves in trying to prevent the past from repeating itself.
Xue Shi was fighting a massive red color lion, Cai Cao was bound and brought back to the tower behind the city walls while Zhang was slaughtering the invaders who turned his home to ashes.
While Zhang and the other contestants were immersed in the past, a strange occurrence was happening. Within Zhang’s interspatial ring the glowing pendant that was a part of the statue of the Zhou Clan’s ancestor began to glow even brighter as it flew into the air and sent an invisible pulse of energy into the air that reverberated from out from the black interspatial ring and throughout the Gate of Chains.
Before long, black clouds began to form and thunder began to rain down from above as something massive appeared high up in the sky.
“Tha-that’s a mountain!?” Someone yelled as something that appeared to be an upside down pierced through the clouds.
Once dozens of upside-down mountains broke through the clouds, a terrifying roar echoed throughout into everyone’s ears.
“What’s that!” Some people in the audience yelled as the ground beneath them began to shake as they saw something scaly slithering in the clouds on the crystal screen.
However, before anyone could get a good look, whatever was lurking in the clouds inside the Gate of Chains released a second roar causing the crystal screen shattered.
“What!? How could a mere illusion do this!” Sect Master Hong Chi yelled as the countless pieces of broken crystal rained down onto the ground.
By now everyone inside the Gate of Chains had ceased what they were doing and focused all of their attention to the skies.
Suddenly everyone felt an enormous pressure fall upon their bodies as a humanoid figure could be seen descending from the clouds while thunder continued to crackle in the background. As the humanoid figure levitated in the clouds Zhang could feel a piercing gaze scan over him from above.
“Return home…” The figure’s voice echoed out into everyone’s ears as everything in front of them began to slowly fade away.
The chains that bound Cai Cao slowly faded away as if they had not been there in the first place as the tower he was locked in disappeared, the red lion that Xue Shi was locked in combat with turned into nothingness, the loved ones and hated foes were no more as everyone found themselves back in the white world they had previously been in.
It seemed as if the Gate of Chains did not have enough power to maintain the world that had been conjured and deactivated.
“What just happened…” Zhang muttered before he felt something tug on his robes. Looking down he spotted Little Red.
“What is it, boy?” Zhang asked as he looked at Little Red. With a bark, the pup directed Zhang’s attention to a small gate that appeared a short distance away from where everyone was standing.
Of course, Zhang was not the only one to notice as a few dozen people began to race for the gate.
As the people who noticed the gate raced to get to it, a blue light enveloped the white world once more as the Gate of Chains restarted.
While the gate tried to fabricate a new world, Zhang and the few dozens of people before him all managed to run into the exit, which they found led them out into the colosseum. Before anyone noticed, Zhang placed Little Red back into his sack.
“Congratulations! You all pass onto the next stage of the tournament! You’ll now be led to a resting area while we wait to see if anyone else passes onto the next stage.” Sect Master Hong Chi said from his balcony.
“We did it.” Cai Cao’s voice could be heard as Zhang felt a pat on his shoulder.
“There was probably some malfunction or something but if they say we move on then who am I to argue.” Zhang said with a laugh as he and Cai Cao and the other contestants were directed to the rest area.
While they were leaving a large crystal screen could be seen floating into the colosseum from above as hundreds of disciples of the Red Cloud sect could be seen sweeping up the fragments of the crystal screen that had been shattered not too long ago.
As our duo walked toward the rest area, an abundance of thoughts filled their minds. Despite showing no indication of being affected by the events shown to them in the Gate of Chains, both Zhang and Cai Cao were reminded by events that they tried to keep out of their thoughts.
After briefly reliving what they had hoped to never relive again both of them couldn’t help but ponder about the future.
“Investigate all of the contestants… We must find out why the gate malfunction.” Sect Master Hong Chi said to a disciple of the Red Cloud Sect as he watched Zhang and the other contestants walk to the rest area to watch the remainder of the second stage of the tournament.
“Right away master.” The disciple replied before walking off.
“To have relations to something that can interrupt the gate and shatter the crystal screen, it would be best to either become friends with this person or separate ourselves from them.” Sect Master Hong Chi said.