Chapter 81 - Crossroad Lake
Crossroad Lake, it was a vast lake that was located in the center of the Rainbow Island, between the borders of the three kingdoms that ruled the island.
Being in the exact center and neutral territory, it was chosen as the ideal place to open the passage to the Secret Dimension. The sects involved thus began to head towards that lake.
During these months, they had completed the formation and built various facilities to house all those who would come. They would, in fact, house not only the chosen younger generation members but also the elders and the sect leaders who would accompany them. They didn't know how much time it would take to explore the Secret Dimension, so they thought it necessary to build these structures.
To prevent nosy people from sneaking in, each of the kingdoms had also placed several checkpoints along a circular perimeter, starting from several kilometers away. The sects involved also sent many of their members to monitor every possible access route.
In the unawares' eyes, all this appeared as the prelude to a great battle, and they feared that event's repercussions. The minor sects tried to investigate again but were told to be still, assuring them that there was no war planned at the time.
Meanwhile, the Flower Sect group had finally arrived after several days of walking. Although they had left early, almost all the other participants had already arrived. From that, one could see how excited everyone was by the opening of the Secret Dimension.
When Hei arrived with the others, numerous wooden buildings immediately appeared to him. It was as if an entire village had been built on the shores of the lake. And in contact with the water, there was a metal tower engraved with an enormous amount of formations. From the aura it emitted, Hei recognized that the Artifact Spirit resided there.
"Finally, we have arrived. The last participants are still missing, and after their arrival, we can all proceed. I suggest you spend this time to reach your peak conditions. The seventh elder will accompany you to your lodgings. We others must define the last things with others.” The sect leader announced as she separated from the group with the rest of the elders.
The only one who remained was the seventh elder who smiled and said.
"Well, then follow me. I remind you that now more than ever, you don't have to create messes. I've been clear?"
The usually cheerful and calm seventh elder pronounced the last words in a cold tone that made the disciples of the Flower Sect jump, including his niece Ying Yue.
"Grandpa, you are scaring us," she said jokingly.
"It's better that you get scared now than inside the Secret Dimension. This isn’t a game, my niece. There isn’t only the reputation and future of the sect at stake, but also your own lives. If you aren’t careful, you will die."
The seventh elder continued to make his way until they arrived in a large building engraved with the symbol of the Flower Sect. As one of the five big sects, the structure assigned to the Flower Sect was one of those closest to where the metal tower was located.
"Well, while waiting for the official opening, you will all stay here together to cultivate and prepare yourselves. You can also take advantage of this time to formulate an action plan. In this regard, I have information for you about your opponents and the rules to follow."
The seventh elder coughed to clear his throat before continuing.
"There are no specific rules within the Secret Dimension. Whoever has the strength will come out victorious and take the most significant amount of the booty. The various sects don’t have the right to take revenge for any deaths of their disciples, obviously including ours. Therefore you need not fear the consequences of your actions.
However, at the same time, your actions have consequences. It is because, although they have promised not to retaliate, there is no way of knowing whether they will keep their promise. Or if they will use it as an excuse to attack us, aiming at what you have found there.
Therefore, kill only if strictly necessary and possibly without being seen by anyone."
At that point, Hei recalled the assassination request that the sect leader had made to him. Even if he had refused immediately, that time, he had wondered if it wasn’t too reckless. But it just so happened that they were theoretically excused if they killed other participants.
Meanwhile, the seventh elder had started talking again.
"As for those who will participate, you have to pay attention mainly to two things: avoid the big groups and watch your back from the members of the other big sects.
The medium sect and other similar powers will undoubtedly unite in the early stages. As soon as they discover that we will send 7 participants, they will try to focus on you. I don't think they will kill you unless they are forced. But they will seriously injure you or keep you as prisoners until the end of this event. Individually, each of them isn’t your opponent. But if they are numerous enough, they can do this without problems.
But the most difficult opponents always remain the participants of the other big sects. We don't know much about their abilities, but we can still do some speculation.
The Bubble Sect, in fourth place, should have almost all martial artists of the water element. A girl named Sun Xiulan commands the group. In total, there are 3 participants.
The Tree Sect, in third place, has mainly martial artists of the earth and wood element. Leading the group is the boy named Ren. Besides him, there is Duan Long, whom you have already met and a girl named Tian Yaling. In total, there are 3 participants.
The Frozen Sect, in second place, commands the ice element. They are a group of four women commanded by a girl named Zheng Yawen.
Lastly, the Tremor Sect, in the first place, is known mainly for its martial artists of the earth and fire element. They are a group of four people under the command of a certain Chang Huan nicknamed the Genius. However, you must also pay special attention to another individual, Wen Guiying. It is known as the Pyromaniac. From how they don't care to hide their battle nicknames, it's clear they have absolute certainty in winning this competition.
If possible, avoid a direct confrontation with them, especially against the Tremor Sect. At least not in the early stages. Focus on exploring and gathering resources. Finally, I remind you that as number one on the ranking, Hei in charge for as long as you stay in there. So you will obey him without saying a word. It is an order of the sect leader and all of us elders of the sect. There is too much at stake to mess things up because your pride has been hurt."
That said, the seventh elder left them a long stack of documents regarding the information on other minor participants. Having therefore given them all the necessary information in their possession, it was now up to them to decide how to move.
When the seventh elder came out, Hei spoke. Since he had the command, he immediately wanted to make the cards on the table clear.
"I know that several of you aren’t willing to accept orders from me. Which is understandable, but I want to assure you that you won't have to."
"What do you mean?" Asked Li, tilting his head in confusion.
"Simple. I will leave the command to one of you. And the person I chose is you, Zan."
Zan, hearing his name mentioned, was completely surprised. He didn't expect Hei to give up his right to command, let alone give him the command.
"Why?" Zan asked in an irritated voice. He couldn’t believe that there was no second purpose to it.
"Because it's the logical choice. Unlike you and the other participants, I lived almost all my life in the wilderness. As for fighting in an unknown place, I think I have an advantage over any other participant. But to maintain this advantage, I have to move without being seen. So I can only take at most one other person, Lian. I am also a beast tamer, and I think you learned that I have come into possession of two spirit beast bags. Therefore, I won’t have problems with numerical inferiority in case I have to meet the groups of other sects.
By removing Lian and me, you will also return to being a united group since you have known each other for a long time. In this type of situation, group cohesion is fundamental. Initially, I decided to entrust the command to Mei, but as a third classified, it is right that I pass it to you. Also, I doubt you would have accepted the fact that Mei bypassed you when you were in a higher position than her in the inner members’ hierarchy."
It was true. Zan would never have accepted such a thing. And the fact that he wasn’t replying despite Hei's claims was synonymous that his words were right.
"Alright. I will then take the lead, while I leave you the autonomy of moving on your own." In the end, Zan accepted what Hei said without making too much fuss.
At his words, Li burst out laughing.
"And I thought you would give up the command to keep your pride. I see you have finally learned something useful from your old man."
"Li, you bastard! Dare to repeat it, and I... "
"All right, all right. Forget it. Rather, it is better to start telling us what you have in mind. Knowing you, you had already thought of various ways to get the command even without the Hei’s resignation. And therefore, you have also developed several plans."
At Li's words, Zan frowned. Since they had known each other for a lifetime, he knew how to make him nervous.
In any case, Zan began to illustrate the various tactics he had developed. It happened he had already obtained a copy of that stack of documents. So, he had memorized the data of all the participants. Therefore, he illustrated every possible course of action according to the adversary they could meet.
When he listened about how he had studied the information in the sect's possession, Hei couldn’t help but be surprised. He was more and more convinced that it had been a good idea to leave the command to him.
So they spent the day elaborating every possible tactic for every kind of scenario imaginable. Hei also gave his contribution and gave them information on how to move in the wild. He also taught them tricks on how to hide their smell against potential beast tamers, and how to deal with them.
Eventually, it was evening, and they all ended up eating together. Strangely, despite the various tensions between them since the arrival of Hei and Lian to the sect, they ended up creating a strange bond. They couldn’t be called friends or comrades in arms, but the initial hostility that existed between them had disappeared.
After all, they were all risking their lives there. United by the common goal of surviving, they had signed a ceasefire and combined their forces to fight the enemies around them.
On the morning of the third day of their stay at the lake, the opening was finally declared. The various sects gathered around the metal tower. The various sect leaders and elders of the sects stepped aside, letting their younger generation disciples come forward.
At that point, the metal tower lit up, and a voice that seemed to be coming from far away spoke.
"The time has finally come. I will now proceed to memorize the spirit power of each participant. I remind you that only those who have the token with a trace of my spirit power can access it. I'll start then with the big sects and so on, going down."
The Artifact Spirit then passed to announce the number of participants of each respective sect. He had to confirm the participants who had been selected, verifying that they didn’t surpass the rank of spirit apprentice.
At that point, Bao Bei jumped off Hei's head and positioned herself near the sect leader of the Flower Sect, watching her children from afar. She was worried about them, but she knew they were smart and had trained a lot for today.
After verifying the participants of the Bubble Sect, it was the turn of the Flower. When it pronounced the sect's name and looked at the participants, the Artifact Spirit paused for a moment as it smiled to itself.
"Flower Sect, no participant exceeds the spirit apprentice rank. The number of participants - Seven."
Upon hearing the number of participants proclaimed by the Artifact Spirit, all those present, except those of the Flower Sect, couldn’t help but doubt their ears. Had they heard correctly? Was the Flower Sect’s number really seven?
Initially, they believed that they had brought seven disciples of the younger generation to throw them off and to hide until the last moment who were the real participants. After all, several other sects had thought of a similar tactic. So, they didn't care too much about that.
But who would have imagined that what they considered to be a diversion was instead the real number of participants?
The various sects were dying to know how the hell the Flower Sect had managed to grab so many tokens. From their information, they knew that the total number available to them was five. And that was even greater than the number of participants of the most import sect, the Tremor Sect, which occupied the first place among the five big sects.
However, the Artifact Spirit had no time to waste to let them feed their thirst for curiosity. Thus the participants of the other sects continued to be confirmed.
But, although it was continuing in its work, all the present martial artists' eyes were still glued to the Flower Sect. They were trying to telepathically contact the sect leader and other elders through a spirit message. However, they were all refusing any communication.
There was no way that they would reveal their secrets to strangers, nor were they obliged to do so.
Understanding they couldn't get an answer from them, the other sects immediately started making last-minute changes to their battle plan and agreeing with the other sects.
Their goal? Reduce the combat strength of the Flower Sect as soon as possible.
Initially, they had planned to dedicate the first stages to exploration and collection of materials. But now they had to distort all of their plans since the Flower Sect represented a danger too big.
In a short time, the Artifact Spirit ended its task of verification. In total, there were 100 participants, all belonging to the younger generation. Each of them could be called a martial artist with excellent prospects, with some of them being called geniuses. But now 100 of these ‘geniuses’ were gathered here, and each of them risked being killed.
Emitting its spirit power from the metal tower, and with the help of the formative masters present there, the Artifact Spirit opened the passage to the Secret Dimension.
A white light enveloped the participants possessing the token with the trace of the Artifact Spirit until they were completely swallowed by it. Then, these disappeared from the eyes of the other people who were watching from afar.
The long-awaited Secret Dimension had finally been opened, and 100 martial artists of the younger generation were now in there, unaware of what was awaiting them.
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Bio: I started reading web novels with Douluo Dalu, then i started to increase the amount of novels to read. Before i read fantasy and sci-fi books like the lord of the rings or the ender’s saga and many others. Son of the Spirit Beast is my first work as author. I will try to give you readers my very best and keep quantity and quality. I hope you will like my work.