The sudden battle cry broke the unanimous stalemate and the place transformed into a slaughter arena. Swords and weapons were drawn as people slashed one another.
Yu Liang’s heart clenched. In the mist of chaos with five hundred bodies, casualties were bound to occur; however, she and Yu Tian weren’t willing to be a part of the sacrifice.
Yu Liang forced her heartbeat to lower and hugged Yu Tian closer to her body, silently giving him moral support. Her mind replayed the words guardian Cao said before she disappeared.
All remaining candidates would qualify for advancement to the next level of the pagoda after the gong. In other words, they don’t necessarily have to fight, they only need to survive until the timer ends.
Her eyes quickly scanned her surroundings. Most of every battle contestants were immersed in violence and basked in the glory of their strength – too absorbed in the madness to even think logically anymore.
She secretly praised the mastermind behind the first floor trial.
Since Guardian Cao didn’t mentioned anything about limited seats available for the amount of candidates that could move on to the second floor, then it would be safe to assume that if all of them had remained calm and waited for the gong signal, everyone would have been able to advance.
Unfortunately, the nature of mortal’s heart was easily corrupted by violence.
Wait a moment…
The expression on Yu Liang’s face darken. None of them were mortals!
Candidates had begun to morph into their true self. Wolves and panthers bared their fangs at one another. Bears and cougars pounced on their enemies, while other forms of demons and spirits tackled their foes to the ground.
Each bite and every movement were laced with murderous intent. Corpses piled up on top of one another and the strong scent of blood permeated the air as the view before her turned bright red.
Apparently, the old man only selected supernatural beings to be part of this Divine Chaos Pagoda trial. So why the hell did he whisked her into this slaughter-house? Yu Liang cursed the old man in her heart.
Without wasting another moment, she quickly pulled Yu Tian toward the dense pile of corpses.
Innocent clear eyes looked at her in confusion. Questions swirled in those round orbs of his, but he still followed her silently.
Her heart lamented the cruel fate of this child. Five years, she had spent five years with him and treated Yu Tian like her little brother.
Recalling the time when she found him in the wild forest, he was an infant cradled in a basket cushioned by layers of soft blankets – a baby, abandoned and left to die.
She was not a saint nor an ally of justice. The life and death of the stranger had nothing to do with her. Taking care of herself was already a strenuous task.
To add another burden to her shoulders went against her good judgment.
For the rest of that day, she ignored the infant, but lingered near him as she go about her own ways.
Why? Perhaps it was due to curiosity or maybe it was empathy. Was she even capable of feeling empathy though?
It wasn’t long before she realized something was amiss. Don’t all infants cry?
After all, that was their first medium of communication. Until now, not a sound was heard from the abandoned infant.
Was he dead?
Although it was true that the forest was dangerous due to wild animals and poisonous bugs, but none had approached him so far. Partly due to her, but Yu Liang brushed aside that fact.
Her legs had already brought her before the basket unconsciously. Peering inside, a pair of eyes met hers.
Two little dimples appeared on his face. His small frame shook as if he were giggling, but not even a whisper escaped.
Her heart was alarmed. Could he be crippled? A mute infant, abandoned to his own fate?
For the first time in years, something stirred in her heart. Her cold icy eyes softened upon gazing at the vulnerable infant before her. At that moment, she made a commitment to him.
The pledge she made to the infant that day holds true even today, and will continue to be honored for many tomorrows to come. Her beloved brother, whom she had adopted five years ago, will not have his graveyard here in this wretched pagoda.
Yu Liang didn’t answered the questions he held in his gaze. Instead, she continued to drag him toward the pile of dead bodies.
Although Yu Tian didn’t understand her sudden behavior, he trusted her implicitly, so he followed along obediently.
She soaked her hands in the pools of blood that was flowing everywhere. Lifting her palms, she gently smeared the blood over Yu Tian. His clothes and flawless white face were now dyed in blood.
Without a word, Yu Liang tossed some bodies aside, then gestured for Yu Tian to lay down on the ground.
Understanding flittered across his gaze. Yu Tian cooperated and sprawled out on the ground, playing dead. Yu Liang covered him with some of the dead bodies to provide extra coverage and protection. The weight of the corpses crushed him beneath them, surrounding him on all sides.
He gritted his teeth, and endured the discomfort. The scent of blood, the odor of the dead, and the slaughter before his eyes, he could tolerate them all if it meant some burden could be relieved off her shoulders.
Only after she was certain that Yu Tian was safely buried, did she finally proceed to do the same for herself.
She held her breath and counted the seconds that ticked by in her head. Piercing shrieks assailed her ears as many more unfortunate souls departed for the underworld.
Yu Liang scoffed. Do demons even have souls?
None of that were relevant at this time and place. Just how much longer do they have to wait before that stupid gong sound!
Yu Liang was anxious in her heart. They were both mortals. The odds were against them in a direct battle to life and death with this mass of beasts. For demons or spirits with the capabilities to take on human forms, their cultivation level must be extremely high.
Playing possum by feigning death in an unfavorable situation will yield them the best chance of survival. She silently prayed to whatever divine entity that nothing unexpected will happen.
Words of prayers were instantly forgotten in her mind as her eyes widened in terror from the approaching threat. Dark lines appeared on her forehead as she spewed all the obscene words she knew in her heart.
It was fine if you don’t wish to answer her prayers, but why the hell did you have to go and give her a slap on the face as well? It would appeared some immortal deities have a dark sense of humor.
A long green reptile slithered across the ground toward where she buried Yu Tian. The massive serpent coiled its thick elongated body around the pile of corpses. What the hell was he planning to do? Eat the dead bodies? Heavens!
How anyone could be thinking about food in the mist of battle was beyond her!
She couldn’t afford the luxury to sit back and watch him enjoy the meal. With such thick mass, it was very likely he could suffocate Yu Tian to death if the serpent truly exert his strength.
Without further hesitation, Yu Liang jumped out under the mountain of carcasses and withdrew the hidden dagger she kept with her at all times for hunting animals in the forest where she and Yu Tian dwell.
She charged toward the serpent without a sound and just as his venomous glands were about to bite down on the mountain of dead bodies where she buried Yu Tian, her dagger ruthlessly jabbed down on his seven-inch, the biggest weakness of a snake.
The serpent released a horrifying shriek as pain ransacked his body. He released the mountain of bodies as his enraged red eyes locked on her.
Shit! The furious serpent had found a new prey!