Darkness enveloped her consciousness as her soul felt like it was being absorbed by a hungry demon. Struggling against the throbbing pain, Yu Liang fought her way through the lonely pitch black abyss. The primal instinct for survival had always been hard to ignore, but a stronger force was motivating her.
This would not be her final resting place. Her existence had not extinguished its full purpose. With sheer determination, she dragged her heavy feet toward the dim light she hope was at the end of this lifeless dark road.
Her body jolted from the prickles of pain like needle stabbing her skin. Her eyelid slowly fluttered open. She remained stilled, providing adequate time for herself to adjust as the blurry fog began to dissipate from her head.
Yu Liang detected other movements beside her. Scrunching her fair brows, she supported her sluggish body on one elbow to observe her surroundings. Upon seeing her five-year old younger brother, Yu Tian, blinking his adorable two round eyes at her, Yu Liang finally released the breath she was holding. This was good, they both made it alive and that was what mattered.
With the heaviness of her heart settled, she took the moment to survey the premises. There were about five hundred other people, some waking up to take note of their surroundings like her, while others still unconscious.
If her guess was correct, all of them should be on the first floor of the so-called “Divine Chaos Pagoda.” Yu Liang was together with her brother Yu Tian, when a suspicious old man suddenly appeared before them and declared she had been one of the selected for the Divine Chaos Pagoda trial.
Before she could even retort, a beam of glowing white light embraced her and she was transported here. If Yu Tian didn’t have a death grip on her at that time, he wouldn’t be here with her and would have been left to fend for himself while she was trapped in this pagoda tower.
At that thought, Yu Liang narrowed her eyes dangerously. Before her thoughts could wander any further, a small hand tugged her back. She stared into Yu Tian confused and worry eyes, and forced herself to give a small smile. “Don’t worry, I’m here” She assured him.
The commotions around them drew their attention. All of the other selected candidates have regained awareness and were now acting like monkeys, jumping here and there, while demanding answers. Yu Liang smirked, at least we could enjoy a live comedy play of human monkeys. An abrupt uneasiness filtered under her skin. Were they all humans?
Her eyes locked onto a young man in his prime isolated away from the group of monkeys. Her apprehension replaced with curiosity. His postures were elegant and refined, while his aura was dominating, yet also noble.
Dressed in a red brocade with a jade pendant hanging on his waist, the air surrounding him seems dangerous and alluring. What contradicting forces! He was like an entity from another realm, making those in his presence wanting to prostrate before him. The human monkeys gave the feeling of having committed a great offense of being in his mere presence.
She was graced with only his back, so Yu Liang had no idea what his facial features might be, but with such extraordinary disposition, his looks must be no less than phenomenal.
A loud scream disrupted her appreciation of the young man and snapped her out of her daze. She slightly scowled at herself. Turning her attention to the source of the scream, her eyes widened in surprised. It was that old man again!
The young lady who screamed, collapsed on the ground in fright from the old man’s sudden appearance. Where was this guy popping up from?
He looked at each and every one of them with an expressionless face. All of us watched him warily as we followed his movements, tentative of his every motions.
“All of you were selected for the Divine Chaos Pagoda trial held once every thousand years. To be chosen is your blessing. This pagoda tower have eight floors. Each floor has a test that you must pass in order to reach the next destination. If you have the ability to reach the top floor of the pagoda…” The old man paused in his speech.
Every face reflected restlessness as the old man articulated his explanation of why they were here. Some began to puff out their chest, proud of being chosen and believed he/she will be the one to stand above the others. These reactions seem to be as expected for the old man.
“If you have the ability to reach the top floor of the pagoda and pass the final trial, I will reward you with a treasure chest that contains a legendary divine artifact and you will also be able to finally leave the pagoda. For those of you not interested in the treasure chest, you will still have to reach the top-level in order to leave this place.” As he finished speaking, roars of incessant chatters once again erupted.
“Wait, what is this legendary divine item?” One of the rowdy guy asked, but the old man had already disappeared and was nowhere in sight. The candidates began to discuss endless questions and possible theories with one another until another loud voice silenced them.
“Welcome to the first floor of the Divine Chaos Pagoda! I am the first guardian you will meet. You can address me as Cao.” A petite young female emerged from a fog that suddenly appeared. Her voice was young and cheerful, but her cold eyes gave the impression she wasn’t to be trifle with.
Yu Liang was no fool. She knew that Cao, the first guardian of the pagoda tower was no human. How could a mere human be a guardian of the Divine Chaos Pagoda that only appeared once every thousand-year? Who knows how many thousands of years old was Cao. For her to remain such youthful appearance confirmed to Yu Liang, Cao was either an immortal deity, spirit, or demon.
She gave Yu Tian’s small hand a squeeze, reassuring him everything will be alright even though she had no confidence at all with this sudden development. But who will reassure her? No one! And Yu Tian only has her. With a slight self-mocking smile, she encouraged herself to be strong.
“Your first trial is to fight one another to the death until the sound of the cymbals. Of all the ones remaining after the bloodshed, you will be able to advance to the next floor of the pagoda. Good Luck, and let the battle begin!” Just as Cao finished with her explanation, she proofed and disappeared into the mist of fog.
The atmosphere was tensed and the air was suffocating with silence. Yu Liang heart tightened as she held Yu Tian closer to her body. The eyes the candidates shot one another were now filled with killer intent. No one had yet to make a move, as if they were all assessing one another for flaws and weaknesses, while waiting for the perfect opening.
It was evident that all the chosen candidates selected held immense power or martial prowess. So why the hell was she also chosen? Immense power? Psh, she wished. Martial prowess? If that was true, perhaps she would have been able to use her martial art talent to create a better living environments for both her and Yu Tian in the Jiang Hu (Pugilist world).
Yu Liang doesn’t give a two rat shit if these monkeys want to tear one another’s limbs apart. But, why the hell was she also pulled into this farce? Can she withdraw? Surrender?
A loud battle cry broke the silence. She had a bad premonition.